UK’s largest academic trade union denounces threats to right to education, distributes PACBI call

The University and College Union, UCU, is the largest trade union and professional association for academics, lecturers, trainers, researchers and academic-related staff working in further and higher education throughout the UK, passed the following resolution at its Congress on May 29, 2011, drawing attention to threats to the right to education and calling for the distribution of the Palestinian call for academic and cultural boycott:

Composite: Threats to academic freedom in Israel and Palestine– National Executive Committee , LSE

Congress notes:

  1. Israel’s continued illegal occupation of Palestine and daily oppression of Palestinian teachers and students
  2. the restrictions on the free movement of Palestinian Academics within the Occupied Territories and crossing between the Territories and Israel and on foreign travel
  3. Israel’s ongoing construction of settlements
  4. the current witch-hunting of Israeli academics, civil rights campaigners and NGOs who are deemed to be damaging Israel’s economic interests by their political activities
  5. the recent alarming moves in the Israeli Knesset to penalise Israeli academics who support boycott action or even just provide information which may assist boycotts; this law will lay academics open to fines of £5000 with ‘no need to demonstrate that injury was done’ and to unlimited damages if losses are caused.
  6. the petition from 155 Israeli academics expressing their “unwillingness to take part in any type of academic activity taking place in the college operating in the settlement of Ariel”, calling Ariel an illegal settlement whose existence contravenes international law and the Geneva Convention.

Congress deplores these attacks on the academic freedom of our Palestinian and Israeli colleagues.

Congress instructs NEC to:

  1. circulate to all members
    • the call by the Israeli academics
    • the PACBI call for academic and cultural boycott of Israel
    • information about the current legislation passing through the Knesset threatening heavy fines and other penalties on Israelis taking non-violent action against the occupation.
  2. seek a delegation to meet the Israeli Ambassador to raise our concerns
  3. press the Foreign Office to protest to the Israeli Government
  4. raise the issue with Education International and press them to seek similar action by all affiliates
  5. publicise these threats and our actions in response.


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