Academic boycott of Israel
and related links

"Those with unprecedented resources to understand this, including many who teach and research in the great universities, suppress their knowledge publicly; perhaps never before has there been such a silence.

... "By keeping silent, they have allowed government to diminish a wealth of knowledge of how the world works, declaring it 'irrelevant' and withholding funding. This is not surprising when the humanities departments - the engine rooms of ideas and criticism - are close to moribund. When academics suppress the voice of their knowledge, who can the public turn to? ... By never recognizing western state terrorism, their complicity is assured. To state this simple truth is deemed unscholarly; better say nothing."

John Pilger, "The New Rulers Of The World", pp. 3, 163.

The Lesson of the Fulbright Seven

New York Times editorial, 8th June 2008.


Dr. Khaled is a Lecturer in the Law Faculty of A-Najah University, Nablus. He was abducted by the Israeli occupation army on 16th January 2008.

Sign the petition for his release here

Gisha Report on trapped students

Israel Undermines Higher Education - and its own best interest - in Gaza Report 22nd Oct 2007.

Student trapped in Gaza loses fight to return to study in Britain Independent, 3rd Oct 2007
Khaled al-Mudallal did manage to reach the UK eventually, but hundreds more are still waiting - see the Gisha report above.

A wanted man on campus

A wanted man on campusLaila El-Haddad on Comment is Free, 19th May 2007.

Israel's former military chief is taking a course at Harvard, where students are pursuing him for war crimes.

"Bushra's Final Exam" Bushra's Final ExamBy Gideon Levy in Ha'aretz, 5th May 2007.

"The Niggerization of Palestine"

The Niggerization of Palestine

By Jonathan Scott on the Black Agenda Report website, 10th(?) December 2006.
A good deal of this refers to the plight of Palestinian students, teachers and universities.

"A project of dispossession can never be a noble cause"

"Israel's liberal intellectuals lament the malaise that grips their country - but refuse to face up to the ethnicide at the heart of it."

A project of dispossession can never be a noble cause Ahdaf Soueif in The Guardian, 17th November 2006

Article by Stephen Sheehi, American University of Beirut

Lebanon's Pain Won't be Israel's Gain 25th July, The State (South Carolina newspaper)

Statement by Hellenic Federation of University Teachers' Associations

"Israel must immediately stop the humanitarian disaster in Palestine"

What Zionist lobby?

from an e-mail sent on behalf of Ofir Frankel, manager of the self- styled International Campaign for Academic Freedom based at Bar-Ilan, to members of the IAB mailing list on 25th May 2006:

"I wish to thank you all for your tremendous efforts. Thousands of letters opposing the proposed Boycott have reached NATFHE officials in the past two weeks, including letters from institutions, associations and organizations as the NY Academy of Sciences, the US National Academy of Sciences, ADL, AJCongress, AJCommittee, British friends of Israel, Scottish friends of Israel and more. More than 4300 scholars have signed the IAB / SPME joint petition, urging NATFHE members to oppose all motions to boycott Israeli scholars at their annual meetings on May 27-29, 2006. The full petition has been placed today on the table of NATFHE president John Wilkin at the NATFHE headquarters in London, urging NATFHE to pass this on to its members and to take it into consideration before the vote occurs. I am also glad to inform you that the chair of the IAB, Prof. Yosef Yeshurun, appeared today before the Israeli Parliament committee on Science and Technology to discuss the dangers of the impending academic boycott against Israel on the part of NATFHE. The committee meeting was also attended by members of the Council of Higher Education and the Ministry of Education."

Need I say more?

Education, Hebron-style, March 2006

Shocking pictures on the Cork PSC website: school students having their classes at a checkpoint because the soldiers won't let them go to school.

Confrontation in Hebron

The Struggle for Academic Freedom In Palestine

By Riham Barghouti and Helen Murray, UNESCO Academic Freedom Conference, Alexandria, Egypt.

Presenting the case of Birzeit University in the occupied West Bank, this paper looks at the importance of education in challenging the foundations of occupation.

Download the paper here.

Sign the petition to re-convene Bellagio

Sign the petition on the AAUP conference here

... read on for more details of what all this is about ....

Latest dirty Tricks: Bellagio conference postponed

"U.S. Jews block conferrence set to include anti-Israel Professors"

That's in the words of Ha'aretz. The following post to the Ha'aretz online discussion is of particular interest. I wonder what Prof. Beck could possibly mean by "better defined"?

	AAUP Bellagio Conference
Name:	Edward S. Beck	
City:	Scholars for Peace in the Middle East	

While several major American Jewish organizations played a role in 
AAUP Bellagio Conference being postponed, the significant part of the 
story was world-wide cooperation of grass-roots faculty members 
represented by Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, ENGAGE and the 
International Advisory Board on Academic Freedom of Bar-Ilan 
University along with faculty from Haifa University who worked 
together with no resources to convince the AAUP conveners that this 
conference was planned with poorly defined goals, format and 
procedures and would not command the respect of their members or of 
faculty colleagues.

From the first invitation, faculty from Israel, the UK and America, 
from the left, right and center worked to try to get this conference 
postponed until it was better defined. Faculty worked in conjunction 
with several groups, to influence this decision, but the decision to 
postpone was a victory for grass-roots faculty advocacy as much as it 
was for any major organization.

Bar-Ilan still obsessed with the boycott

I see that the Rector's office of Bar-Ilan has updated its list of Bricup members, but hasn't got it right yet. Do keep trying though.

"About BRICUP" on the BIU website

In fact Bar-Ilan seems a tad preoccupied with the AUT boycott. Now they are devoting a whole conference to us:

Bar-Ilan to Host International Conference Analyzing Academic Boycott Attempts

Bar-Ilan hosts conference on academic boycott in Ha'aretz, 31st Jan 2006.

Dershowitz: Boycotts abet terrorism in Ha'aretz, 27th Jan 2006.

Haifa University hosts Halutz lecture

January must be conference season in Israel. Here's the latest offering by the University of Haifa: a lecture by commander-in-chief of the IDF Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, organized by the notorious Prof. Arnon Sofer, popularly known among the Arab students, I'm told, as "Arnon Transfer".

I just love the bit that says "No guns, cameras, or bags will be allowed into the Auditorium."

Read the invitation here.

Election result: AUT Special Investigative Commission

At Special Council in May, a motion from Southampton AUT was carried which mandated AUT Executive to set up a Special Commission whose task will be "to provide practical solidarity to Palestinian and Israeli trade unionists struggling to maintain academic freedom, undertake research and teach students whilst arguing for Israel's compliance with UN resolution, with a view to reporting back to the next council."

The full text of the motion is here, in the circular which went out to AUT branches calling for nominations. The motion did not specify how the commission was to be composed: the Executive in its wisdom decided that there should be four members appointed from existing AUT national officers, plus a further four to be elected from, and by, members of Council.

There were 12 nominations, resulting in a ballot for the 4 available places. You can read the list of candidates and their election statements here.

Of the four pro-boycott candidates (Sue Blackwell, Kamel Hawwash, Malcolm Povey and Sean Wallis), two have been elected: Yours Truly and Kamel Hawwash, a Palestinian lecturer at Birmingham Uni who like me serves on the local AUT committee and is involved with the campaign to twin Birmingham with Ramallah. I've now seen the full results, and I came second in the first round with 31 first-preference votes against Jon Pike's 26.

There has been predictable dismay on the part of the opposition:

Moral consistency?

Store banned from importing books printed in Lebanon, Syria (Ha'aretz, 5th May 2005)

"The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Employment has prohibited a Haifa bookstore from importing books printed in Lebanon and Syria, counter to a policy followed for many years that permitted such imports."

What, you don't mean a .... boycott?? Surely not!

Bloody ridiculous

Just before Special council I posted my comments on Bar-Ilan University's ad in the Guardian which quoted the prophet Isaiah. I completed the quotation, which in one translation reads "How may your sins which are red as blood become white as snow?"

There followed a bit of Biblical banter on the faculty e-list of the University of Haifa. You can read it here, along with my reply.

This was all in good humour, unlike the spin which Jon Pike's "Engage" website put on it: "Now the libel against Haifa U becomes blood libel".

It gets worse: while standing in the queue to register for Special Council I overheard one delegate saying to another "Have you read Sue Blackwell's 'Rivers of Blood' speech yet?" Now I have just two things in common with Enoch Powell: (1) a connection with Birmingham and (2) a Classical education. Just because he wrote a preface in Latin to my edition of Thucydides doesn't mean I shed any tears when the old racist snuffed it.

OK chaps, I know you are desperate to pin the "anti-semitic" label on me but just how low can you sink? Just carry on, you're doing a good job of digging yourselves deeper.

Now the Top Brass are worried!

  • Netanyahu to lead campaign against academic boycottHa'aretz, 1st June 2005

    I have heard that Netanyahu did indeed attend the Haifa conference and condemned the "academic terrorism" of the AUT. Apparently the meeting was also graced by a Jewish academic from the UK who denounced Yours Truly to all and sundry. Further information will be very welcome - you know the e-mail address .....


    This page is owned and maintained by Sue Blackwell.
    It was last updated on 19th June 2008.