Union takes softer stance on Israel

By Leon Symons, April 2, 2009

The University and College Union’s 2009 congress in May is set to debate a number of motions about Israel — but none has called for a boycott.

Several branches have put forward draft motions condemning Israel’s action in Gaza with calls for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador, a ban on arms sales to Israel and a ban on imports of all goods from West Bank settlements.

However, there is also a national executive committee motion to launch a campaign against antisemitism — with a one-day event to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day next year and annually thereafter — with other education unions.

Jewish Leadership Council chief executive Jeremy Newmark, speaking for the Stop The Boycott campaign, said: “The absence of a motion on boycotting Israel is undoubtedly a sign of progress. We also welcome the NEC’s more balanced position on Israel, especially as last year the executive itself proposed a boycott.

“However, the draft motions still attack Israel from all directions and single out Israel as the only country for condemnation and sanction.”

Last updated: 10:00am, April 2 2009