[Freemanlist2] British Boycotts of Jewish State Abound - Ezra HaLevi
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British Boycotts of Jewish State Abound
by Ezra HaLevi - June 1, 2007
British unions and social groups continue to declare new boycotts of the Jewish state. They insist anti-Semitism has nothing to do with it.
The University and College Union (UCU), a merger between the Association of University Teachers and the University and College Lecturers' Union, voted Wednesday 158 to 99 for "a comprehensive and consistent boycott" of all Israeli academic institutions in response to Israel's "40-year occupation" of Judea and Samaria.
In 2005, a vote for a boycott by the AUT was repudiated in a special meeting later on that year.
The union, representing 120,000 university teachers, urged its members to consider the "moral implications" of relations with Israeli academic institutions. It left it up to local branches to decide whether to actually boycott.
"Israel's 40-year occupation has seriously damaged the fabric of Palestinian society through annexation, illegal settlement, collective punishment and restriction of movement," the motion reads. "Congress deplores the denial of educational rights for Palestinians by invasions, closures, checkpoints, curfews, and shootings and arrests of teachers, lecturers and students. Congress condemns the complicity of Israeli academia in the occupation.”
The decision called for the organization and funding of “a UK wide campus tour for Palestinian academic/educational trade unionists” and to “actively encourage and support branches to create direct links with Palestinian educational institutions and to help set up nationally sponsored programmes for teacher exchanges, sabbatical placements, and research.”
A large percentage of foreign volunteers for radical anti-Israel insurgent groups such as the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and its various militant offshoots, such as the Tel Romeida Project, hail from universities involved in the boycotts and are coordinated by activists who intend to tour campuses to recruit additional volunteers through the newly funded programs.
These groups confront IDF soldiers, forcefully dismantle checkpoints, have been found to harbor terrorists, facilitate terrorism, carry out actual attacks and have been conducting a systematic campaign of destruction of Jewish agriculture in Judea and Samaria.
The resolution pre-empts criticism that it is anti-Semitic, saying “criticism of Israel cannot be construed as anti-Semitic.”
World Union of Jewish Students chairman Tamar Shachori was at the meeting, however, and said the atmosphere could not be described any other way. “They called us Nazis to our face and insisted that we are worse than South Africa under apartheid,” she said.
Israel’s Education Minister Yuli Tamir, a graduate of Oxford University, said, "It is extremely ironic that at a time when Sderot students and students at an Israeli college are being bombarded by Palestinian Kassam rockets on a daily basis, British lecturers choose to condemn Israel.”
British Labor Union Threatens Boycott
On Thursday, UNISON, the largest British labor union threatened to declare a boycott of Israeli products as well.
Israel’s Histadrut labor union chairman Ofer Eini responded to the threat, which comes ahead of a vote by union members on the subject in coming weeks. "Despite the aggression by the Palestinians, it never occurred to me to impose a boycott on Palestinian workers or employers," Eini said. "The boycott against Israel will only cause the situation to deteriorate further."
Last month, the British National Union of Journalists also voted in favor of a boycott of Israeli goods and announced that they demand that England and the United Nations place sanctions on the Jewish state.
More than 100 British doctors have also called for a boycott of the Israeli Medical Association.
Various British officials sounded off throughout Wednesday decrying the boycotts as “not advancing the peace process.”
Last week, Jewish-American Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg canceled a planned visit to British universities in protest of the boycotts, which he called anti-Semitic. He added that while he was canceling his trip in protest, he was not suggestion a boycott of the British.
Attorney Aviad Vissouly, who heads the Land of Israel Headquarters, called for a boycott of British goods. “Anyone who declares a boycott against us needs to know that they will pay a price,” he said. “When the Israeli consumer will stop buying British jeans, food and cars, the British, along with the rest of the worse will realize that boycotting Israel is liable to cause them to lose income and increase layoffs.”
Vissouly said that the Israeli government and defense establishment must also boycott those companies that participate in the British boycotts. “If we do not offer an intense response to the British boycott, which was declared out of Jew-hatred, then it will spread to organizations and nations across the world,” Vissouly said.
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