As a member of the IAB, I attach the full transcript of their statement regarding the undemocratic decision of the British University Union, the UCU, to boycott Israeli universities, including Haifa, where I am proud to be a member of the Medieval and Renaissance Center and actively supportive of their Jewish-Arab Center.
The IAB is concerned by the fact the UCU members have abandoned ‘common sense’ and voted for an initiative to boycott Israeli Academia
The International Advisory Board for academic freedom (IAB), Bar Ilan University, and its membership are deeply worried that the UCU has allowed itself today to act as a one-sided player in Middle Eastern politics.
Ofir Frankel, Executive Director of the International Advisory Board for Academic Freedom (IAB), Bar-Ilan University, that managed the "Meet Israeli Academia" Stand at the UCU Congress said: 'It is very disturbing to behold a form of singling out and discrimination happening in the UK, which upholds itself as the cradle of fairness, freedom of speech and academic debate. In this UK, the Union of the academicians has allowed itself to act as a one-sided player in Middle Eastern politics. The IAB is amazed that the extremists that led their union to such an initiative decided not to discuss the option to pass this initiative to a vote of all 120,000 members, a decision that could have allowed the majority to rescue their union from this discriminatory action by re-harnessing the values of acadmic freedom, discourse and debate, as their own General Secretary suggested".
Jeremy Newmark, Chief Executive of the Jewish Leaderhsip Council, said:
"The UCU boycott motion is an assault on academic freedom. While the vast majority of academics do not support a boycott, this decision damages the credibility of British academia as a whole. We call on Sally Hunt to live up to her election commitment and hold a full membership ballot before implementing any boycott policy."
Ronnie Fraser, Director, Academic Friends of Israel, said:
"The Academic Friends of Israel condemns the University and Colleges Union's decision to go ahead with a boycott of Israeli academic institutions and academics. It has ignored the lessons learnt in 2005 when the AUT passed a boycott motion which was subsequently overturned and, from what we saw today, the leadership has failed to support the wishes of its members".
Tamar Shchory, chairperson of WUJS (World Union of Jewish Students), a student from Ben Gurion University, that took part of the "Meet Israeli Academia" stand, said: 'In campuses abroad the climate of hostility towards the State of Israel and Jewish students is getting stronger. It seems like the UCU has chosen a one-sided, not constructive position, in a very complex and sensitve manner, instead of promoting the basic value of Academic freedom and constructive initiatives".
The IAB wishes to thank all those individuals and organizations who have supported the campaign against the boycott and hope that together we will succeed in helping union members overturn this policy.
For further information contact:
Ofir Frankel, Mobile +972-545-424043; +44-790-367 3626