Professor quits UCU in hate row

By Robyn Rosen, June 23, 2011

A professor has resigned from the University and College Union after more than 40 years following its rejection of the widely-accepted definition of antisemitism.

David-Hillel Ruben, professor of philosophy at Birkbeck College and the former director of the London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS), accused the UCU of being "institutionally racist" after it voted to distance itself from the definition from the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) last month.

The union has a history of anti-Israel activism and also voted through a boycott motion.

Prof Ruben said: "As a lifelong socialist and a member of the AUT/UCU for almost 42 years, I could not have imagined that anything could have made me resign from the union. I have grown accustomed to the UCU's annual adoption of illegal Israel boycott motions. But my imagination was obviously limited.

"It is increasingly difficult to find anyone in the union with any serious ties to the Jewish community and committed to its welfare.

"I can no longer allow my dues to support a union that is institutionally racist and that has demonstrated its antisemitism so repeatedly and unashamedly."

A UCU spokesman said it did not comment on individual members.

"UCU congress this year made absolutely clear the union's continuing implacable opposition to antisemitism," he added.

Last updated: 2:20pm, June 23 2011