MORE ON THE AUT'S ISRAEL
BOYCOTT: The London Times
notes, "Lecturers condemned for vote to boycott Israeli universities"
. Indeed. At least it sounds as though the vote was close. Not that that's an excuse.
Having made this idiotic decision, they now have some problems with how they're going to implement it:
There was confusion last night over how the boycott would operate and whether it would breach equal opportunities regulations.
Gosh, you think so? Maybe they should look into that.
Hugh Mason, of the AUT executive, said he feared that the vote would cause the AUT difficulties in dealing with academics in the Middle East, but "in practice it won�t have much of an impact. People will make their own decisions."
As I said before, I think the main effect will be seriously to undermine the AUT's moral authority and credibility everywhere.
By the way, I did a Technorati search with the key words "AUT Israel boycott."
It came up with 76 results, all of them condemning the boycotts. If the Blogosphere is any indicator, the AUT's decision has not been well received.
Then there's the press. As a blogger (I forget which one) pointed out, judging by the scare quotes in this article
, the BBC isn't particularly sympathetic either. The Telegraph
The AUT was accused of fuelling anti-Semitism after delegates at its annual conference voted on Friday to boycott all academic links with Bar Ilan and Haifa universities. The revelation that Prof Mina Telcher, a leading mathematician, was denied the opportunity to put the Israelis' side of the story before the vote will heighten criticism of the AUT, which was already under fire for cutting short the debate on the controversial motion because of time constraints.
And an editorial
by David Aaronovich in the Observer
(the Sunday Guardian
) is highly critical.
But some AUT members will be happy to see that the Electronic Intifada
UPDATE (25 April): Today's London Times editorializes
The decision by the Association of University Teachers (AUT) to boycott two universities in Israel is a mockery of academic freedom, a biased and blinkered move that is as ill-timed as it is perverse. The vote at the AUT annual conference to forbid its 40,000 members to visit Haifa and Bar Ilan universities in protest at the alleged ill-treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories not only comes at the very moment when official Israeli-Palestinian relations are improving, but it also targets the very institutions in Israel that have been havens of political and racial tolerance and beacons of academic freedom.
The piece nicely sums up the arguments that many others, myself included, have been making against the boycott.