Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) delegates have voted to stand in solidarity with Palestinians at congress in Glasgow.
UCU congress voted on Saturday to “reaffirm” its position on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on the Isreali state, and instructed its national executive to produce a report on what it called “moral and political consequences of Israeli policies with regards to the attack on academic freedom.”
The motion also called upon branches to “authorise all appropriate action to protect students and staff who find themselves under attack for supporting the cause of the Palestinian people.”
The motion noted what it referred to as the “conflation of support with Palestinians or critique of Israeli policies as being anti-semitic,” a process it stated “compounds systematic discrimination against Palestinians in Palestine and critical academics and students.
It slammed “the current Israeli government’s designation of Palestinian human rights organisations as ‘terrorist’ and the attempts in the UK to close down critique of Israel through Prevent, IHRA and rendering BDS unlawful.”
The motion received overwhelming backing from delegates, despite a warning to congress from legal counsel that it could fall foul of the Tory Party’s proposed BDS and Sanction Bill.
If the law passed, counsel argued, the motion would be “void” as it would in effect ask members to break the law.
One delegate from University College London said: “As a Jewish UCU member, I’m really proud to move a motion against oppression and support the boycott.
“No country should be able exempt from human rights and international law.
“The right to boycott is an important tool.
“The community I belong to has suffered, and it believes in justice, but not just for one people, for all people.
“The attack on the Palestinians must be opposed.”
Sources: The Morning Star