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Right to Education

UCU passes motion in support of Palestinian Universities

Written by admin  •  Wednesday, 28.05.2008, 09:28


UCU Vote on links with Israeli universities

The University and College Union (UCU) today voted to ask its members to reconsider their links with Israeli universities, and authorised the investigation of one Israeli College with a view to action being taken against it under the union’s ‘greylisting’ procedure.

UCU is the union representing 120,000 teachers and researchers in Britain’s Higher and Further Education Colleges. The issue of boycotting Israeli higher education institutions has been the subject of high profile debate over recent years. Today at its Congress in Manchester the union confirmed that it wished this debate to continue,
and that information on the situation of higher education in the Israeli Occupied Territories of Palestine should be made widely available to members.

Ariel College, which has been illegally built in the Occupied Territories, in violation of UN Resolutions and the Geneva Conventions, is to be investigated under the union’s greylisting policy. If implemented this will involve a moratorium on UCU members applying for jobs at Ariel, on holding or attending conferences there, and on publishing in journals based at Ariel.

An amendment to make any Congress decision to boycott Israeli universities depend on a ballot of all UCU members was defeated by a 3 to 1 margin. The unamended motion was then passed by more than 10 to 1.

Commenting on the vote at the UCU Congress Professor Haim Bresheeth, an Israeli academic based in Britain, who spoke in the debate, said “This vote puts Israel on notice that its colonising activities in the Occupied Territories and the oppressive policies against the Palestinian population are simply unacceptable to civilised world
opinion. Our academic colleagues are increasingly feeling that they cannot be associated with Israeli university institutions, many of them built on stolen land, and complicit with the Occupation”.

BRICUP welcomes this decision, and calls on academics based in Israel to join in calls for the end of the Occupation.

25 – Composite: Palestine and the occupation University of Brighton – Eastbourne, University of Brighton – Grand Parade, University of East London Docklands, National Executive Committee

Congress notes the:

1. continuation of illegal settlement, killing of civilians and the impossibility of civil life, including education
2. humanitarian catastrophe imposed on Gaza by Israel and the EU
3. apparent complicity of most of the Israeli academy
4. legal attempts to prevent UCU debating boycott of Israeli academic institutions; and legal advice that such debates are lawful

Congress affirms that
5. criticism of Israel or Israeli policy are not, as such, anti-semitic;
6. pursuit and dissemination of knowledge are not uniquely immune from their moral and political consequences;

Congress resolves that
7. colleagues be asked to consider the moral and political
implications of educational links with Israeli institutions, and to discuss the occupation with individuals and institutions concerned, including Israeli colleagues with whom they are collaborating;
8. UCU widely disseminate the personal testimonies of UCU and PFUUPE delegations to Palestine and the UK, respectively;
9. the testimonies will be used to promote a wide discussion by colleagues of the appropriateness of continued educational links with Israeli academic institutions;
10. UCU facilitate and encourage twinning arrangements and other direct solidarity with Palestinian institutions;
11. Ariel College, an explicitly colonising institution in the West Bank, be investigated under the formal Greylisting Procedure.

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