Lecturers' union supports boycott of 'apartheid' Israel
Britain's biggest lecturers' union has backed a call for a boycott of Israeli universities in protest at its government's "apartheid" policies towards Palestine.
Delegates at the annual conference of the 69,000-strong NATFHE, the university and college lecturers' union, voted to urge all their members to consider boycotting all Israeli institutions and academics who did not publicly dissociate themselves from their government's policies.
The move will cause international outrage in the academic community with many claiming that the move is a denial of freedom of speech.
It was passed by 106 votes to 71 (with 21 abstentions) at the conference in Blackpool despite a strong plea from Paul Mackney, the union's general secretary, who urged delegates to vote it down.
Tom Hickey, a philosophy lecturer from Brighton University proposing the motion, said there were "important and ringing similarities" between the policies of the Israeli government and the apartheid regime in South Africa.
An exclusion wall had been built in Palestine to separate the communities, which led to unequal development for the two. "We are asking our members to consider should we or should we not work with Israeli institutions or individuals who turn away from what is happening in Palestine," he said.
One Israeli school had been fired on in the past six years, but the number of Palestinian schools targeted was 185, he said. In addition, 14,400 Palestinian homes had been partly destroyed and 2,200 totally destroyed.
"Silence, as Edmund Burke once so memorably observed, is all that's needed for evil to be done," Mr Hickey added.
John Morgan, a law lecturer from South Bank University, seconding the motion, agreed a boycott would infringe academic freedom but added: "It can be right to do that only if the exercise of that freedom infringes the rights of another. In doing that, the purpose is to make academia think again and make the state think again."
A year ago, the 32,000-strong Association of University Teachers singled out three Israeli universities for boycotts, claiming they had been complicit in the Israeli government's "abuse" of Palestinians. It eventually withdrew the motion at a later conference in the face of strong opposition.
General Election 2015: Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind as he casts a line to the disaffected of Grimsby
The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
Oxygen-starved 'dead zones' with no marine life up to 100-miles long discovered in the Atlantic Ocean
Russian warships accused of 'chasing away' Swedish vessel to prevent Baltic States from achieving energy independence
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 4 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Linux ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrat...
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Nursery Manager is required t...
£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Windo...