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Against the AUT Boycott of Jewish acedemics

Martin Ohr | 23.05.2005 22:44 | Repression | Social Struggles

A group of left-wing acedemics is campaigning against the proposed AUT boycott of israeli universities, there's a whole host of articles and events on the links-not-boycott website

Left wing UK acedemics are organising in force to defeat the proposed boycott by the lecturers union AUT of Israeli Universities.

Theres a meeting a ULU on 25th May 7-30pm, more details of this and other activities can be found on our website at

Martin Ohr
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It's not a boycott of Jewish academics

24.05.2005 09:04



Jewish Socialist Group on education and boycotts

24.05.2005 11:27

Jewish Socialists say the best way to help Palestinian education under siege is through positive assistance and solidarity. But at the same they accept targetted boycotting against specific institutions is legitimate, and condemn the witch-hunt launched against supporters of the AUT resolution. At its annual conference in London on May 15 the Jewish Socialists’ Group adopted a resolution which says:

This JSG conference salutes the efforts of Palestinian communities, students and educators to maintain and develop their education and cultural life under occupation, in defiance of frequent harassment, vandalism and repression. We support those Israelis in academic and other walks of life who strive for a just peace, solidarity, equality and enlightenment. We reaffirm our belief that the best way to assist Palestinian communities and institutions is through positive forms of help. But we know that political campaigning is also necessary, and accept tactics such as boycotts may be a legitimate form of solidarity, providing they are targeted and distinguish fairly between friend and foe. We oppose generalised “cultural” boycotts which are both counter-productive and unjust. We recognise that the recent resolution by the Association of University Teachers (AUT), to boycott two Israeli institutions, Haifa and Bar Ilan, marks an honest attempt to confront specific links between academic institutions and repressive or discriminatory policies. For this reason, we condemn the Zionist-led campaign to present the AUT resolution as not just “anti-Israel” but “anti-Jewish”, and to incite hatred against its proposer. We especially oppose attempts anywhere to intimidate or witch-hunt people, and suppress legitimate debate.

For full details of this and other JSG conference resolutions, and how to join the JSG, or subscribe to Jewish Socialist magazine, contact or write to: JSG, BM3725, London WC1N 3XX



24.05.2005 11:49

In fact, Israeli Academic Ilan Pappe supports the boycott. He is obviously not going to be boycotted.


AWL Bullshit

24.05.2005 12:07

This meeting is organised by the Alliance for Workers Liberty - the same marxist group whose leader describes himself as a Zionist and who refuse to call for the troops out of Iraq

Udo Erasmus

Martin Ohr = AWL= yawn!

24.05.2005 13:25

Martin Ohr...member of AWL. AWL is the anti-Palestinian, Islamophobic, pro-Israel, pro-imperialist campaign group that attempts to infiltrate the left. Attempts to claim that opposition to Israeli aparthied is itself an act of 'racism'. Tries to confuse criticism of Israel with racism towards seen here by the attempt to label the academic boycott of Israel as a boycott of all Jews. AWL = Propagandists for oppression. Fuck em!

Justin Justice

AUT boycott plays straight into Sharon's hands

25.05.2005 15:05

A boycott will only strengthen the Israeli right

This self-defeating campaign of double standards is strangling liberal voices

David Newman and Benjamin Pogrund
Wednesday May 25, 2005
The Guardian

We are opposed to the continued Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. We are equally opposed to the, at best misguided, at worst immoral attempts by the Association of University Teachers to boycott the Israeli academic community. Such a boycott would do irreparable harm to the tenuous, but growing, Israeli-Palestinian relations and joint research at almost all of Israel's universities. For those of us who are active in the pro-peace, anti-occupation movements in Israel, the boycott only serves to make our work almost impossible. If there is a public space in Israel where liberal voices can be heard, it is the universities.

As far back as the pre-Oslo days, when the Israeli government forbade all relations between Israeli citizens and the Palestine Liberation Organisation, the first significant links were forged through academic contacts. These links have grown during the past decade in the many ongoing dialogues and negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian academics, particularly in the difficult period since 2000 when almost all formal political dialogue between the sides ceased.

It is ironic that it is precisely these voices of liberalism which are under attack by the voices of rightwing patriotism in Israel and elsewhere, in an attempt to delegitimise all pro-peace and anti-occupation voices, even to the extent of seeking to have some of them dismissed. But, to their great credit, the Israeli academic establishment has refused to take this easy option, most notably in the case of Haifa professor Ilan Pappe. Instead, it strenuously defends freedom of expression as a basic right for all Israeli and Palestinian academics.

The boycott attempts from abroad only serve to strengthen the voices of the Israeli right, and their simplistic arguments that the British academic community is collectively anti-semitic and - in the words of one senior Israeli professor on the eve of Holocaust day this month - is guilty of repeating what the Nazi-era Germans did to Jewish academics. This knee-jerk, somewhat hysterical, reaction goes down well with the Israeli Jewish public, large sections of whom remain convinced that they stand alone against a hostile world that wishes for nothing more than the extinction of the Jewish state.

The fact that some of the AUT boycott leaders have categorically stated that they see the state of Israel as being "illegitimate" brings into question the real motives behind their action. The boycott leaders may not see themselves as antisemitic, but they are guilty of inadvertently feeding into a growing anti-semitism on British campuses and helping to create a feeling of insecurity among Jewish students, who no longer feel safe in what should be one of the most secure and free public spaces of any society.

Why do they pick on Israel? Why are they silent about transgressions of freedom in other parts of the world? If they want to concentrate on the Middle East, why do they not take a stand about those states that openly declare their desire to destroy Israel, a state created by the United Nations, or which systematically deny equal rights to ethnic and religious minorities, women and political "others"? Why do they falsely seek to equate the oppression suffered by black people in apartheid South Africa with Israel today? Yes, there are economic and political inequalities in Israel/Palestine, and academics are actively involved in redressing some of these injustices and promoting affirmative action programmes. Why do the boycott instigators continue to falsely claim that Zionism is effectively racism? This was tried once at the UN and was eventually dumped, but it is still used as a means of delegitimising the existence of the state, as the instigators of the boycott are clearly intent on doing.

The purpose of a boycott has to be carefully thought out because it might not serve the cause it is meant to help, as was seen in apartheid South Africa. Britain played a leading part in the academic boycott of that country and those who supported it certainly felt emotional satisfaction at doing what they thought was the right thing. The effects on the ground, however, were calamitous: the English-language universities traditionally depended for their life blood on infusions of lecturers from abroad, especially Britain, to bring fresh thinking, energy and courage. But they did not come, because of the boycott and because the South African government discouraged them, and this contributed to a steep decline in university resistance to apartheid.

And the idea that certain universities or, for that matter, certain academics (such as those opposing Israel government policies, or Arab professors) would be free from the boycott, is obnoxious. Is the AUT really prepared to be party to such a process of selection, based on political views or ethnic background?

I n a letter from the European commission last week, the EU made its position very clear, stating that "'boycotting' behaviour against Israeli scientists is totally unproductive and worrying ... is unacceptable in project(s) funded by the European Union. The European commission will do its utmost to discourage such an unacceptable way to penalise scientists from wherever they come from". Boycotting Israeli academics would bring into question the basic right of British institutions to benefit from European, or any other form of funding that assumes equality of access and opportunity by all, regardless of national, religious or ethnic origin and affiliations.

If the AUT is really concerned about the plight of the Palestinians, it should be investing time and effort in promoting more, rather than less, Israeli-Palestinian cooperative projects in the fields of health, education and technological advancement. It should be inviting Israeli and Palestinian scholars to take part in joint research projects; it should be hosting joint forums of political and social dialogue; and, most important, it should be using its research expertise to contribute to the furtherance of peace and conciliation between the two peoples. By trying to promote a boycott, it is only serving to worsen relations between the two peoples and to open itself to charges of double standards.

· David Newman is professor of political geography at Ben Gurion University in Israel and co-editor of the journal Geopolitics; Benjamin Pogrund is director of Yakar's Centre for Social Concern in Jerusalem and formerly deputy editor of the Rand Daily Mail, Johannesburg.


Gehrig - why do you go on about nuclear-armed Israel?

25.05.2005 17:58

Gehrig says -

"Why do they pick on Israel? Why are they silent about transgressions of freedom in other parts of the world?"

OK, let's apply the same "logic" to Israel. Next time the Judaeo-Fascist's complain about suicide bombers, everyone should say, "shut up, human rights abuses are worse in Sudan. Israeli suffering is NOTHING in comparison. No more whingeing from Israel when there are other countries suffering far worse".

Finally, at last, someone is trying to do something about the war criminal Sharon's nuclear-armed rogue state. We should boycott EVERYTHING from this gangster's country

Good luck to the academic boycotters.

Boycott Israeli Goods

boycott overturned

26.05.2005 14:41

Sanity has returned to the AUT.


uk unis mean business just like Israel

28.05.2005 22:47

lefties in uk unis ... plz (how old are they and their books)
Universities r fascist institutions run as corporate concerns.
Good Jew/Bad Jew left wing /right wing socialism/capitalism is a very daated 2-D vision.
Y not sort out the fascist philosophy staining and reigning in the hearts of present uk students look how they r destroying communities with their class/money/status bollox.
University institutions in the UK are more racist than the police force.
With Israel most people know the score wysiwyg and unfortunately a whole lot more.
In the UK the similarities of the practises which you decry in Israel should be exposed.



30.05.2005 13:08

Criss cross the jism & the jasm. They do not

Want to be fount out

So they sigh and lie and criminalize silence

With the dead pants of shaking in their boots. They

Are afraid of the just gone and don't want to

Return, cause they didn't know what to do

When everybody was so animated and fly.

They thought, after all, you can understand

Hiding under the piano, looking for a Victrola

Or a Defeatrola, you see, that-there was too fast

A thing happening, and the Chinee screaming

"Revolution Is The Main Trend". And that rhythm

effected the jungle bunnies with no papers

and motley whites who went along with the

Everything stuff. And we know, the devil who is

provost of my heart, and I, we nose grows. We rose

to say, ok, I don't know how to be angry, but I can be

profound as a hammock in the good room. You see

we got a degree in degreeing and a Ph.D in Ph.Ding.

We can fake anything but emotion and you don't need that

In collitch,lesser do we need it at university, we is very white

If that's still permissible after all, and we can stall instead of answer

Any question with polyvapid bullwinks, like we sd "Post-Modern", when we

understood the righteousness of Road Warrior and the Dead Cities

In which we cd pontificate that what is ugly is not and what is icy is hot.

We sd "Post-Modern Post-Modern" and the big guy in the sky pent house

Heard us and signaled with a shiny coin of dismal that we were up to the task

Of lying to hide the flaccid timidity of our mendacity. We cd not be Cats

Or Dudes, or Hippies. We like jazz, but only lying down. We are the Kenny G's

Of poetry, but without the spangles. We make a verse that dare not jangle or

Tangle with the grim questions that crush the many fools who want to be unleashed

We hold our peace except to say, "Post-Modern", which if you understand THAT'S

IT, The "Language", stripped of any diseased opinion, which is bourgeois like

Meaning and stories and decision and snappy politics like the Colored Stalin's

That threaten to define us as ignorant as Crazy Eddie, the colleague

Stupid enough to give interviews to restaurant owners on how they waxed

dey fadder and socked it to dey mudder, and put a trope in each dey eyes

So they could describe a world no one understood, but we could analyze as

Ambiguous with decency. We sd then, "Language" (but smelled funny) to hook it

up with Czechoslovakia

And the wordy birds of no it has nothing to do with the world, there is no world

Except behind the dead patches where my self used to crawl. Language! Pure

Language, don't you understand? As if you could be a Note Musician and away with

all pests like what it mean or what it say or who it help. We are text ridders and

trope conceivers, we are more Dizzy than Gates and we ain't Lionel Hampton.

"Language" for us, as long riders on the purple sage of the campus, where buxom

Whatnames twist and shout and Little Richard will one day be chair of there.

Because by saying merely "Language", and halting the shit right there, we could

Make the chairman of our department stare off into his last check what the heck

I didn't understand Allen Tate, either at first, nor why Faulkner was not just

A sticky racial mole, hanging on the unborn George Wallace Pen-is this interesting

or not? Without having to be weighted down by a goddamn narrative and

dismissing the notion that what is writ has a writer, again we washed away the bourgeoisie

Except ourselves hiding inside the dumbness of our square misunderstandings.

We would be racists but that's been 'done. We hate Ginsberg and those guys because

they said impossible things. You see we are textual, Bush 2 and the group. By dis-

missing saying something we could creep neatly away from commitment or tiptoe

with stunning graceaway from cranky values like Keats' mistake of Truth for

A roof over your head and Beauty which as everyone knows is what the Pirates

Got for stealing the election. Money helps if you got some. It's one reason I don't

Really go for Negroes, they don't have no money. And don't think our sprint away

from what is this after all, just more bullshit? Means we're type cast. Though we,

think the idea of caste is jealously profound. Like Seven Types of Amos and Andy.

Our sense of humor spends as well as money. But N****ers, of course, being oral

And less than graduates refuse to think we funny, even if they say we funny, they

mean to be insulting, and we are, after all, the neatest things to emerge since

The Fugitive Kind. We were right to kill Robert Redford. Who is Tennessee

Williams anyhow, but the nasty (I realize this is not politically correct, but that's

the kind of humor that boils under our paper lips, we are not, like the colored guy

said opportunists or big drags writing dull ignorant bullshit) “fag" who keeps insisting

things are ugly Down Home, We are the ghost of Halloween past and Halloween yet to

come. We are reclaiming with Post-Modern, the reactionary smells of De Manns

and the Yale condoms of slightly shiny murderers. Sieg Heil! We think all struggle

except to be obscure is, frankly, rude. And poetry with some subject or objective

description of anything, except our next raise, our tenure tete ta tetes, my recent

article in the The Exasperated Hinie, lewd. And there you see how droll and

fantastically empty.

We need no one's sympathy we got tenure and a car. We got trips sabbaticals to

anywhere, so we can scribble like the Ish Kabibbles of the unreadable. Remember,

Post-Modern is a hip way of saying “The World Is Rotten & Must Stay Rotten To Be

Metaphorically Ignored, Though Funny If You Gettin Paid" and All you creeps even

some of my colleagues are stupid for trying to change any things unless they

offer you a better office! Post-Modern is what Rudolf Hess said to the people he

invited to meet Himmler. Don't you see how stunning? Language! Without

Meaning. Without Narrative, Like a clever chum of mine, who pointed out that

Balzac cdn't be a Realist because there was no such thing as reality. "Language", just

the Woids, like ancient Neanderthal Boids. With no one to claim it, or defame it. Or

name it. Who cares for Brecht anyway, blood is not real except mine, and I take my

consciousness very Un and very Dry.

(Copyright © 2001 Amiri Baraka)