LONDON — Scholars for Peace in the Middle East has condemned Britain’s largest academic union for voting to adopt an academic and cultural boycott of Israel.
The international organization also condemned the University and College Union (UCU) for rejecting the European Union definition of antisemitism.
The resolution was passed May 29 at UCU’s annual conference. It’s the union’s third such vote since it was established in 2006.
The board of directors of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East said in a June 7 statement that it “strongly condemns the Union of College and Universities vote on May 29, 2011 to promote the campaign to academically boycott Israel, despite advice from its own legal counsel, which has advised it may be a illegal action based on discriminatory practices as well as being well beyond the scope of the charter of the union.”
The statement also strongly condemned “UCU voting to disassociate itself from the European Union working definition of what constitutes antisemitism on May 30, 2011, which signals to all that the union does not take antisemitism seriously. In rejecting this working definition, the UCU is promoting a hostile, antisemitic study and work environment for Jewish and Israeli students and faculty in colleges and universities throughout the U.K. who support the right of Israel to exist within safe and secure borders and who challenge those who would demonize, delegitimize and hold Israel to a double standard despite, the union’s protestations and rationalizations to the contrary."
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East represents about 55,000 university and college professors, researchers, administrators, teachers, librarians, and students on more than 3,500 campuses worldwide, according to its website. Mosque torched and vandalized
Palestinian security sources have blamed Jews for torching a mosque in a West Bank village. Burning tires were rolled into the mosque in the Maghayer village near Ramallah, setting rugs in the building on fire, according to reports. The building sustained fire damage. No deaths or injuries were reported. The mosque’s walls also were sprayed with graffiti that reportedly read “Alei Ayin” – the name of a nearby settlement outpost that was demolished recently by Israeli police. Other slogans spray-painted on the wall reportedly read “Price Tag” and “This is only the beginning.” The phrase “price tag” refers to the strategy extremist settlers have adopted to exact a price in attacks on Palestinians in retribution for settlement freezes or attacks on Jews. Several West Bank mosques have been torched in the last year. Most of the incidents were blamed on Jewish settlers. A joint Israeli police-military investigation has been launched into the incident. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres condemned the mosque’s desecration.