Photo: Niv Calderon
Tel Aviv University
Photo: Niv Calderon

UCU cancels tour of Palestinian academics

After calling off academic boycott threat to Israel, British University and College Union cancels visit of Palestinian academic officials, causing fury among pro-Palestinians organizations

A tour of Palestinian academic officials arranged by the British University and College Union was canceled following the union's decision to call off its threat of an academic boycott of Israel.


During the tour, Palestinian academics were meant to visit British campuses and present their side of the conflict and the advantages of imposing an academic boycott on Israel.


Following the cancellation, the British Committee for Universities of Palestine issued a statement condemning the move. The committee claimed the UCU's decision was based on legal advice that had not been shared with all the union's members.


Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, one of the committee's heads, who has also signed a petition organized by Jews for Justice for Palestinians, said it was not rare for government or other bodies to turn to lawyers to receive the legal advice they want to hear.


The committee also claimed that the UCU, headed by Sally Hunt, did not honor the union's decision to hold an open year-long discussion of the boycott.


Dr Amjad Barham, president of the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees, sent an open letter to Hunt expressing the federation's shock and surprise at the cancellation of the tour.


In his letter, Barham wrote hat federation members felt their British colleagues were prevented the right to receive direct nformation, and expressed disappointment with the union's leadership for failing to protect the members' rights to hold an open discussion on the matter of the boycott.


Barham wrote that academic freedom is based on open discussions and that he did not understand why the door was closed on the Palestinian academics, expressing appreciation of the initial request to find a way to open dialogue.


The letter continued to say that the only way for solidarity with Palestinians, be they academics or commoners, is direct action aimed at ending what they termed the Israeli apartheid occupation in Palestine.


פרסום ראשון: 09.30.07, 18:03
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