Palestinian union backs boycott motions at AUT Council
The Palestinian sister union of the Association of University Teachers has issued an Open Letter to the AUT Executive and Council calling for unambiguous boycott of Israeli universities.
The Federation states: "Although we do not want to interfere in AUT's work, we nonetheless feel that we must share our concerns with you regarding this whole motion, which in our view is conceived on the basis of a misrepresentation of the obstacles to peace with justice in the Middle East."
The letter continues, "The 'problems' facing the Middle East do not arise from misunderstandings, negative stereotypes, or lack of communication or empathy between Palestinians and Israelis, or between British academics and their Israeli counterparts. The real obstacle to the achievement of a just settlement of a historic conflict continues to be the system of colonial apartheid erected by Israel, and Israel's rejection of a growing body of international resolutions."
The Federation draws particular attention to the International Court of Justice ruling against the wall being build by the Israelis around the West Bank, and concludes by calling for sanctions against Israel. The letter is signed by the Palestinian Federation of Unions of Universities' Professors and Employees and by PACBI, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
Professors Hilary and Steven Rose (BRICUP Co-ordinators) said: "The Palestinian University teachers' union has asked for the solidarity of AUT members in their long struggle for educational and human rights. BRICUP urges the AUT executive to respond with the same moral conviction and generosity that many years before they gave to the ANC call for the boycott of apartheid South Africa."
Sue Blackwell, another BRICUP member and a delegate to Council from Birmingham AUT which is proposing several pro-boycott motions, said "This is an important statement which should leave delegates in no doubt as to the position of our Palestinian sister union. BRICUP supporters will be distributing it at Council. "The crucial vote on all the motions, including the Executive one, is expected to take place on Friday 22nd April.
Notes to Editors:
1. The full text of the Federation/PACBI Open Letter is attached.
2. The full text of the Executive motion is attached.
3. The full text of the Palestinian Call for Academic and Cultural
Boycott of Israel can be found at:
4. AUT Council meets in Eastbourne from 20th to 22nd April. The
debate on Israel and Palestine is scheduled for the morning of
Friday, 22nd April.
5. The authors of the Open Letter can be contacted on:
Info @ BoycottIsrael.ps
6. BRICUP can be contacted at BRICUPINFO @ YAHOO.CO.UK
Sue Blackwell can be contacted on 0121-414-3219 on Monday morning.