David Hirsh to speak at UCU seminar

By Leon Symons, January 14, 2010

David Hirsh, who runs the Engage anti-academic boycott website, will be speaking at a one-day seminar on antisemitism organised by the University and College Union next Monday.

Elements of UCU have tried unsuccessfully for the past three years to introduce an academic boycott of Israel and Mr Hirsh, a lecturer in sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London, has been of the union’s harshest critics.

Last month, the union invited South African Bongani Masuku, international secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) to speak at a conference on boycotts. On the eve of his arrival, the country’s Race Hate Commission declared there was a “prima facie case of race hate” against him.

Mr Hirsh said: “People might wonder why I am speaking at this seminar. I chose to stay in UCU and not resign, as many others did, because I wanted to try to change things from within and this is a part of that.”

He will be speaking on “Anti-Semitisms in Europe Today” at the University of Brighton. The seminar, one of three altogether, is part of a resolution passed at the UCU annual congress last May that launched a campaign against antisemitism as part of its contribution to Holocaust Memorial Day.

Two further days are due to be held on January 20 at the University of Northumbria and on January 27 - Holocaust Memorial Day – at UCU’s head office in Carlow Street in central London.

Last updated: 4:52pm, January 14 2010