13 July 2007

Social Responsibilities SIS: open to all AALL members

If you followed the discussion on law-lib between June 27 and July 1, 2007 regarding the British academic union's boycott call against Israeli academics, and even if you didn't, this is a reminder that the Social Responsibilities Special Interest Section business meeting on Sunday, July 15 will be open to all (check your schedule or the web for time and place) - you may give your input to the voting membership of the SIS on whether AALL should take a stand on the issue, both or either on issues of academic freedom/access to scholarship and to stand up against the recrudescence of antisemitism.

On July 11, 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives did so, on a vote of 414-0 as follows:

H. Res. 467
In the House of Representatives, U. S.,
July 11, 2007.

Whereas, on May 30, 2007, the leadership of the University and College Union (UCU) of the United Kingdom voted in favor of a motion to consider at the branch level a boycott of 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);

Whereas both AUT (in 2005) and NATFHE (in 2006) have passed resolutions supporting a boycott of Israeli academics and academic institutions;

Whereas, however, the AUT boycott resolution was overturned after one month in a revote, and the NATFHE boycott resolution was voided when the two organizations merged into the UCU;
Whereas Britain's National Union of Journalists called for a boycott of Israeli goods in April 2007;

Whereas the UCU boycott motion appears to have spawned similar movements in Britain to boycott Israel economically and culturally, and the country's largest labor union, UNISON, said it would follow the union of university instructors in weighing punitive measures against Israel;
Whereas these unions have a hypocritical double standard in condemning Israel, a free and democratic state, while completely ignoring gross human rights abuses occurring throughout the Middle East and around the world;

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 other attempts to stifle intellectual freedom through the imposition of an academic boycott are morally offensive and contrary to the values of freedom of speech and freedom of inquiry;

Whereas American Nobel laureate Prof. Steven Weinberg refused to participate in a British academic conference due to the National Union of Journalist's boycott and stated that he perceived `a widespread anti-Israel and anti-Semitic current in British opinion'; and
Whereas the senseless boycotting of Israeli academics contributes to the demonization and attempted delegitimization of the State of Israel: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) condemns the vote by the leadership of the University and College Union of May 30, 2007, to consider at the branch level a boycott of Israeli academics and academic institutions;
(2) urges the international scholarly community, the European Union, and individual governments, to reject, or continue to oppose vigorously, calls for an academic boycott of Israel;
(3) urges educators and governments throughout the world, especially democratically-elected governments, to reaffirm the importance of academic freedom;
(4) urges other unions and organizations to reject the troubling and disturbing actions of the UCU leadership; and
(5) urges the general members of the UCU to reject the call of the union's leadership to boycott Israel.

1 comment:

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