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British union renews boycott calls

A British academic union has renewed its call for an academic boycott of Israel.

 

The University and College Union, which represents more than 120,000 academics and lecturers in England, voted by a majority show of hands at its annual meeting Wednesday to “consider the moral and political implications of education links with Israeli institutions.”

The motion cited the closure of the Gaza Strip, the killing of Palestinian civilians and the continued existence of settlements as the reasons for the boycott.

 

British and world Jewish organizations, as well as international scholars, roundly criticized the UCU last year for passing a similar motion. Three years ago the two unions that merged to become the UCU passed a similar motion but withdrew it after international condemnation.

 

The UCU says it is waiting for legal advice on the issue before deciding to implement a boycott. The union’s constitution prohibits discrimination based on gender, religion or nationality.

 

“UCU has again demonstrated how out of touch it is with the vast majority of its membership and with the wider academic community,” said Jeremy Newmark of the Stop the Boycott Campaign. “This motion does nothing to help the Palestinians.”

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