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Home arrow Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions arrow Lecturers vote for Israeli boycott
Lecturers vote for Israeli boycott PDF Print E-mail
Apr 22, 2005 at 12:00 AM
Guardian Unlimited, Polly Curtis
Friday April 22, 2005

The Association of University Teachers today voted to boycott two Israeli universities over their failure to speak out against their government. Delegates at a conference in Eastbourne voted, against the wishes of the executive, for an immediate boycott of Haifa University, which they accuse of restricting the academic freedom of staff members who are critical of the government, and of Bar Ilans University, which has a college in the disputed settlement Ariel.

The boycott, which is now official union policy, will follow a plan prescribed by a group of 60 Palestinian academic and cultural bodies and non-governmental organisations, which calls for British academics to severe links with Israeli institutions but to exempt Israelis who speak out against their government’s policies towards the Palestinians.

The executive had asked delegates to defer the debate until the facts of the cases included in three motions were confirmed. A third boycott, against the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, was dropped as delegates queried the evidence of accusations it had evicted Palestinian families to build dormitories.

There were cheers as the motions were passed. Shereen Benjamin, from Birmingham University, one of the authors of the motions, told EducationGuardian: “It is a much better result than we’d dared to hope for. What it does is put the issue on the agenda at a higher profile than it’s ever been.

“As an educator I applaud that people are discussing this ... We think the boycott of Haifa will send a clear message about academic freedom in Israel.”

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ISM’s response to the Rachel Corrie trial verdict
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is deeply concerned by the verdict of Judge Oded Gershon that absolved Israel’s military and state of the 2003 murder of American ISM activist Rachel Corrie. Rachel was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer while protesting the demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip.

Despite the American administration stating that the Israeli military investigation had not been "thorough, credible and transparent" and the Israeli government withholding key video and audio evidence, Judge Gershon found no fault in the investigation or in the conclusion that the military and state were not responsible for Rachel’s death. Judge Gershon ruled  that Rachel was to blame for her own murder and classifies her non-violent attempt to prevent war crimes as proof that Rachel was not a “thinking person".

By disregarding international law and granting Israeli war criminals impunity Judge Gershon’s verdict exemplifies the fact that Israel’s legal system cannot be trusted to administer justice according to international standards.The ISM calls on the international community to hold Israel accountable by supporting the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and continuing to join the Palestinian struggle in the occupied Palestinian territories.
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