US CONGRESS RESOLUTION TO CONDEMN ANTI-ISRAEL BOYCOTT

 
Wednesday, 06 June 2007

 
8th District Congressman Introduces a Resolution Repudiating the University and College Union of the United Kingdom for Their Boycott of Israeli Academia

 
(Washington, D.C.) - Today, Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-8th District) led a bipartisan coalition of members of Congress to repudiate the University and College Union (UCU) of the United Kingdom for their boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Rep. Murphy introduced a resolution on the floor of the House of Representatives condemning the UCU and urging governments and educators throughout the world to reaffirm the importance of academic freedom and open dialogue. The resolution urges the general members of the UCU to reject the call of the union's leadership to boycott Israel both economically and culturally. The UCU general members now face the decision of whether or not to follow their leadership. The resolution has the bipartisan support at least 25 members of Congress from across America and both political parties. In a similar move recently, the Association of University Teachers and National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education passed resolutions in 2005 and 2006 supporting a boycott of Israeli academia. Those two unions later merged and formed the UCU. Britain's National Union of Journalists called for a boycott of Israeli goods earlier this year.

 "We should be fostering economic and academic relationships around the world and this hate-fueled boycott stands in the way of progress," said Congressman Patrick Murphy. "We have no greater ally in the Middle East than the State of Israel and they deserve the support of this nation and full participation in the global academic community. This boycott is unacceptable and I am glad so many of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle stand with me in opposing it."

 
Full Text of Rep. Murphy's Resolution
 
Condemning the decision by the University and College Union of the United Kingdom to support a boycott of Israeli academia.

 
Whereas on May 30, 2007, the University and College Union of the United Kingdom, voted in favor of a motion to boycott Israeli faculty and academic institutions;

 
Whereas the UCU was created in 2006 out of a merger of the Association of University Teachers (AUT) and the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE). Both AUT (in 2005) and NATFE (in 2006) have passed resolutions supporting a boycott of Israeli academics and academic institutions;

 
Whereas Britain's National Union of Journalists called for a boycott of Israeli goods in April 2007;

 
Whereas these unions have a hypocritical double standard in condemning Israel, a free and democratic state, while completely ignoring gross human rights abuses occurring around the world in nations such as Sudan, Zimbabwe, Iran and Venezuela;

 
Whereas a totally unjustified campaign is underway by elements of the international academic community to limit cultural and scientific collaboration between foreign universities and academics and their counterparts in Israel;

 
Whereas Article 19, section 2, of the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that, "Everyone shall have the right to . . . receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice;"

 
Whereas these and any other attempts to stifle intellectual freedom through the imposition of an academic boycott are counterproductive since research and academic exchange provide an essential bridge between otherwise disconnected cultures and countries;

 
Whereas such boycotts represent a dangerous assault on the principles of academic freedom and open exchange;

 
Whereas the UCU boycott motion appears to have spawned similar movements in Britain to boycott Israel economically and culturally, as the country's largest labor union, UNISON, said it would follow the union of university instructors in weighing punitive measures against Israel;

 
Whereas Nobel laureate Prof. Steven Weinberg, who refused to participate in a British academic conference due to the National Union of Journalist's boycott, stated that he perceived "a widespread anti-Israel and anti-Semitic current in British opinion;"

 
Whereas the senseless boycotting of Israeli academics contributes to the delegitimization and demonization of the State of Israel: Now, therefore, be it

 
Resolved, That the House of Representatives-
 
(1) condemns the vote by the University and College Union of May 30, 2007, to boycott Israeli academics and academic institutions;

 
(2) urges the international scholarly community, the European Union, and individual governments, to reject, or continue to reject, calls for an academic boycott of Israel and reaffirm their commitment to academic freedom and cultural and scientific international exchange;
 
(3) urges governments and educators throughout the world to reaffirm the importance of academic freedom and open dialogue and to condemn measures that would prevent the production, sharing, and exchange of knowledge;

 
(4) urges other unions and organizations to reject the troubling and disturbing actions of the UCU and

 
(5) urges the general members of the UCU to reject the call of the union's leadership to boycott Israel.
 
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For Immediate Release, June 6, 2007
Contact: Adam Abrams, (202) 225-4276