|Now UNISON jumps on boycott bandwagon|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Wednesday, 30 May 2007 17:00|
Just a day after the University and College Union of Britain passed a vote calling for the boycott of Israeli academia, the UK's largest labour union organization UNISON have also announced plans to boycott the Jewish state. The UK government slammed the UCU's recent decision to boycott Israel, and has stated it fully supports academic freedom. British Minister for Higher Education Bill Rammell said the boycott did nothing to further the peace process in the Middle East. And as yet another British organization declares its undying hatred of Israel, US organizations are preparing to in turn boycott Britain. The American brain-cancer research foundation, Goldhirsh, has announced it is pulling the plug on its grant application process for British researchers.
Quote: "In a letter to British academic institutions, foundation leader Elizabeth Goldhirsh writes: " As a director of a $150 million foundation that supports scientists around the world in the quest for a cure for brain cancer, I am profoundly disappointed in your union's decision to boycott Israel today. "This action represents a severe setback for academic freedom and open discourse. Moreover, the decision to single out and demonize Israel above and beyond all other countries - remaining silent over Russia's brutal occupation in Chechnya, for example, or China's ongoing oppression of Tibet - is, at best, troubling. At worst, it points to a far more sinister and tragic motivation. "Equally disturbing is to do so at a time when Israel's civilians are facing near-daily missile attacks from Gaza and her partner for negotiations is an organization that dispatches suicide bombers and refuses to recognize the Jewish State's right to exist.
Israeli Immigrant Absorption Minister Ze'ev Boim has announced he may also call for a freeze of all Jewish donations to British academic institutions. Meanwhile, outside of the UK, other organizations are turning up the heat on Israel on the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War. The ruling party in South Africa, the African National Congress, is organizing a week of protests over the continued Israeli "occupation" in the West Bank and the deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip.
Quote: "Activities in South Africa are being coordinated by the End the Occupation Campaign, comprising almost 20 civil society organizations, social movements, solidarity organizations, political parties and faith-based organizations. In a declaration issued this week and published on the ANC's official website, the campaign said: "We face a new crisis of war and occupation, a crisis in which Palestinians continue to suffer, even more than the suffering already imposed by decades of brutal occupation and apartheid... The conditions of Palestinians living under occupation continue to deteriorate and Palestinian refugees continue to be denied their international rights, including their right of return. Palestinians in Jerusalem and elsewhere face ethnic cleansing."
Me? I think I will send some more emails. I said not so long ago about speaking the truth in love. And we do need to do that. But I guess this time I want to make it as hard as possible for people to get away with this. If you live in the UK and would like to send an email to UNISON expressing your thoughts, here is a list of email addresses.