The University and College Union will not be holding a national ballot on a proposed academic boycott of Israel before its next annual congress in 2008.
Following a resolution at the 2007 UCU Congress in May, the union's strategy and finance committee last week recommended that a series of debates on the issue should be held in London, Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester and the South West. General secretary Sally Hunt will report on the debates at the November meeting of the National Executive Committee and make a further report on the "consultation" to the 2008 Congress.
Meanwhile, a delegation from the Russell Group of research-intensive universities is to visit leading universities in Israel in the autumn to underline its opposition to a boycott. Its director general, Wendy Piatt, said: "There appears to be... a growing determination among UK academics to protect and strengthen freedom of inquiry and freedom of speech."