Daniel Johnson reported in the NYSun last week
Last Friday something happened that made me ashamed to be British. The Association of University Teachers, which represents 49,000 academics, voted to boycott two Israeli universities, Haifa and Bar-Ilan. They are likely to boycott a third, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
This boycott is the culmination of years of pro-Palestinian agitation on campus, which has seen Jewish students and pro-Zionist academics subjected to frightening levels of vilification and intimidation. But not since the Third Reich have Jews been the targets of an official boycott in a civilized country.[..] Just as German universities were hotbeds of anti-Semitism even before the Nazis came to power, so in recent years British universities have become the bastions of the latest mutation of anti-Semitism: denial of Israel’s right to exist.
Opponents were given no opportunity to challenge the two militants from Birmingham who proposed the boycott. Moreover, the vote was held on erev Pesach, forcing Jewish delegates to choose between religious and civic duties.
This, then, is the university that Ms Benjamin wishes to isolate from the outside world. The agenda was set out by the founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, Omar Barghouti: “The taboo has been shattered at last. From now on, it will be acceptable to compare Israel’s apartheid system to its South African predecessor.” Nobody makes such comparisons with Arab universities, where academic freedom is still only a dream.
At very least we can sign the petition in protest:
To: British Association of University Teachers
We, the undersigned, are men and women from all walks of life, Jews and non-Jews, Israelis and non-Israelis, academics and non-academics, who feel deep concern about the AUT’s misbegotten boycott of Israeli universities.
As an expression of this concern, and the negative impact we know it will have on Israelis, Israeli Arabs, Palestinians, Jews, British teachers and students, and many in other countries, we hereby petition the Association of University Teachers to rescind its boycott.
Any claim that Israel is an ‘apartheid state’ is demonstrably wrong in
all its aspects, legal, ethical, factual, and in comparison to other
countries and belittles the true horrors of the apartheid regime in South Africa.
The boycott is counterproductive, racist, and bigoted. It was voted on and approved under conditions which guaranteed its outcome without full and proper debate. It singles out the only Jewish State in the world for punishment , yet ignores the numerous despotic, oppressive, tyrannical, fundamentalist, and repressive regimes in the world. It is, for that reason alone, hypocritical, and represents the interests of a small minority of anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic activists only.