Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Antisemitism in the UK: The Academic Union [UCU] is Back at it Again

The union of academics and professors in the UK, the UCU, which last year tried to initiate a boycott of Israeli academics but was prevented from doing so by its own lawyers which told it that it was illegal, is trying to do the same thing again but in a trickier mode.

On May 28th it pas Motion 25 which called for a number of boycott initiatives. Anthony Julius, my solicitor and someone who has done a tremendous amount to fight UK antisemitism, is representing a number of members of the UCU who consider Motion 25 to be both a boycott motion and to be antisemitic.

His excellent [no surprise here], reasoned [ditto], and well argued [ditto] letter to the UCU can be found here.

Anyone who is concerned about this issue and who doesn't understand why these actions by groups such as the UCU are not just virulently anti-Israel but actually antisemitic should read this letter.


6 comments:

Ellie said...

I thought you might be interested in a couple of articles in the new issue of the SPLC’s quarterly investigative journal Intelligence Report, which was released today.

The first, the cover story, exposes a network of U.S. scholars funded the Turkish government which has played a key role in promoting the cover-up of the Armenian genocide during World War I.

The second story is about televangelist Arnold Murray, who reaches millions with a theology similar to that of a particular brand of hard-core white supremacists. Though he denies he is anti-Semitic, he identifies an evil race he calls the “Kenites” as the killers of Christ.

You can read both stories at: http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/intrep.jsp?iid=45

Ellie Gunderson
Public Affairs Intern
Southern Poverty Law Center

Roman Werpachowski said...

I think the idea of the boycott is completely retarted. Western scientists have not boycotted Soviet scientists. Nobody had the madness to refuse meeting with Landau or Kapica (famous Soviet physicist), to say nothing about scientists from Soviet satellite countries. I have not noticed any calls to boycott Chinese scientists over Tibet (although I personally would not like to work in China, either as scientist nor as industry employee, for the simple reason that it's not a democratic country). Confusing university professors with Israeli military (which *is* responsible for multiple innocent civilians being dead) or Israeli politicians (can you imagine someone less deserving their post than Olmert???) is nonsensical. I believe most Israeli academicians are concerned with the Israel-Palestinian conflict and desire peace. Scientists are most often like that, they're not warmongerers (usually, with some exceptions like Fritz Haber).

This being said, I'm not convinced by Mr Julius' letter.

Dennis Foster said...

Growing up in New Zealand where there was a sports boycott against South Africa for its racist policies and a (threatened?) boycott against France for its terrorist action on New Zealand soil and a banning of US nuclear-armed ships from NZ ports after a democratic decision of the people of NZ and where, more recently, two Mossad agents being captured trying to illegally procure a New Zealand passport resulted in the discussion of a political boycott of Israel I don't really see how this action of the UCU can reasonably be seen as antisemitic. Sometimes clever arguments look to me just like ways to avoid confronting real issues.

Dennis Foster said...

Growing up in New Zealand where there was a sports boycott against South Africa for its racist policies and a boycott against France for its terrorist action on New Zealand soil and a banning of US nuclear-armed ships from NZ ports after a democratic decision of the people of NZ and where, more recently, two Mossad agents were captured trying to illegally procure a New Zealand passport resulting in the discussion of a political boycott of Israel I don't really see how this action of the UCU can reasonably be seen as antisemitic. Sometimes clever arguments look to me just like ways to avoid confronting real issues.

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hockey hound said...

The Kenites were Gentiles.