Thursday, May 31, 2007

UK academic union boycott of Israelis to go to local branches

British Academics May Boycott Israel | World Latest | Guardian Unlimited

(AP) - Britain's largest union of university and college teachers voted
to hold talks on an academic boycott of Israel, a spokesman said

University and College Union, which represents around 120,000
employees, voted Wednesday to allow local branches to make a final
decision on imposing a boycott on cooperation with Israeli academics.

members voted on a motion asking them to note that ``Israel's 40-year
occupation has seriously damaged the fabric of Palestinian society
through annexation, illegal settlement, collective punishment and
restriction of movement.''

It called on British academics to condemn the ``complicity of Israeli academia in the occupation.''

Any future
boycott would aim to prevent Israeli and British university or college
staff from working on joint projects or assisting each other in their
work, union spokesman Dan Ashley said.

member should have the opportunity to have their say,'' the union's
general secretary, Sally Hunt, told an annual meeting in Bournemouth,
southern England.

But Hunt said she did not believe most members would support a boycott and that it would likely be difficult to enforce.

Britain's largest union, will debate a similar motion at its annual
meeting in a few weeks, a spokesman said on condition of anonymity in
line with union policy. The motion, which was put forward by an
individual branch, calls for economic sanctions and a boycott to be
applied to Israel, but the final wording was not immediately available.

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