A price must be paid

Do Israelis think they can continue to oppress another people with no consequences?

The largest university and college lecturers union in Britain is likely to decide shortly to recommend that its 67,000 members boycott Israeli lecturers and academic institutions that do not publicly declare their opposition to Israeli policy in the territories.

Unlike the previous boycott, which targeted two specific institutions, the current motion relates to all lecturers and academic institutions in Israel. Now that the University of Haifa has threatened the AUT with a lawsuit, the NATFHE motion is more cautious: instead of recommending the lecturers union boycott Israeli institutions, it calls on the union to suggest its members carry out the boycott.

“The conference invites members to consider their own responsibility for ensuring equity and non-discrimination in contacts with Israeli educational institutions or individuals, and to consider the appropriateness of the boycott of those that do not publicly dissociate themselves from such policies,” the NATFHE motion states. It also encourages lecturers to hold meetings on the issue on campus.

Many disagree with this idea, and it is certainly a rash measure. It’s a sign of desperation when Israel thinks it can prosper above international norms. It cannot, and not unlike apartheid South Africa, must be told that colonialism is dead and buried. In so many ways, however, the Jewish state simply refuses to grow up. Some head-in-the-sand Israelis still simply prefer to operate as if the Palestinians don’t exist.

Text and images ©2023 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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