According to the investigation, the Jewish academics justify their stance as part of the struggle for Palestinian rights and ending Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.
The report stated that a high proportion of the academics were deeply involved in UCU, the University and College Union, which last month sparked an international outcry by voting to facilitate a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
Anti-boycott figures suggest that the campaign has been fuelled by a well-organized mix of far-left activists and Islamic organizations, the JC reported. In reality, the main proponents are a loosely knit collection of academics and trade unionists linked to groups such as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Jews for the Boycotting of Israeli Goods, and Bricup, the British Committee for Universities of Palestine.
Israeli Haim Bresheeth, professor of media and culture at the University of East London, seconded the UCU motion, which called for consideration of the morality of ties with Israeli academia and for discussions on boycotting.
Prof Bresheeth told the JC that a boycott was not an easy decision. “I am Jewish and an Israeli, and I don’t wish harm on either side. But how long can this occupation go on?”
Characterizing opposition to a boycott as insincere, he added, “What we are asking for is not violent. It is civil action against a military occupation.”
According to the JC, Bricup has a large number of Jewish supporters, among them husband and wife Hilary and Steven Rose. Hilary, a professor of social policy at Bradford University, is Bricup’s co-convenor alongside Prof Jonathan Rosenhead.
Her husband, an Open University biology professor, is the organization’s secretary. They have been active in the boycott movement since 2002.
In an online article, Steven Rose wrote, “It really isn’t good enough to attack the messenger as anti-Semitic or a self-hating Jew rather than deal with the message that Israel’s conduct is unacceptable.”