Jewish group renews attack on 'racist' UCU

The Board of Deputies of British Jews has written to vice-chancellors urging them to consider derecognising the University and College Union if it "refuses to address claims of institutional racism".

June 9, 2011

The UCU has been criticised by Jewish groups after delegates at its recent congress voted to reject a working definition of anti-Semitism produced by the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia.

The UCU motion says that the working definition "confuses criticism of Israeli government policy and actions with genuine anti-Semitism" and "is being used to silence debate about Israel and Palestine on campus".

The motion, proposed by the UCU's national executive committee, says the union "will make no use of the definition (eg, in educating members or dealing with internal complaints)".

The UCU has previously attracted criticism from Jewish groups for motions proposing an academic boycott of Israel, although no such motions were raised at this year's congress.

Vivian Wineman, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, wrote to vice-chancellors on 1 June.

"Following these developments, and in light of UCU's history of behaviour, we now believe it to be an institutionally racist organisation," he writes.

Mr Wineman adds that since its formation in 2006, the UCU "has been obsessed with Jews and Israel".

The boycott debate "has poisoned the atmosphere inside UCU and led to many Jewish members feeling harassed for their beliefs and identities", he argues.

He adds: "If UCU refuses to address claims of institutional racism, then we would ask that you reconsider whether formal union recognition...is appropriate at all".

The UCU says it has contacted the Jewish Leadership Council to suggest a meeting but has not received a reply.

Sally Hunt, the UCU general secretary, says in a letter to the council that the motion "does not affect the union's...implacable opposition to anti-Semitism itself".

john.morgan@tsleducation.com

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy