Union bans anti-boycott activist

By Simon Rocker, April 24, 2008

One of the leaders of the campaign to prevent the academic boycott of Israel has been banned by his own union from an email forum.

David Hirsh, a co-founder of the Engage campaign, has been denied use of the University and College Union activists’ email list since last November for breaching rules of confidentiality. But in an email to the UCU, an academic colleague of Dr Hirsh’s said he had been “unjustly excluded” on a “technicality”. Calling for his reinstatement, Mira Vogel said that he had been “disempowered at a critical time for anti-boycotters”.

Dr Hirsh, in an email this week to UCU secretary-general Sally Hunt, accused her of ignoring emails he had sent her over the past 10 weeks. He asked to know the duration of his exclusion and whether he could appeal.

The JC understands that, in a paper on antisemitism, Dr Hirsh used a comment from an anti-Zionist academic posted on the email forum. He accidentally left the name in his text but removed it as soon as he was made aware of the error.

A spokesman for the UCU said the union “does not comment on individual members of the activists’ list”.

Last updated: 10:03am, April 24 2008