Organisasjonen for akademikere i Storbritannia har fått beskjed fra advokater om at den planlagte boikotten av israelske universiteter risikerer å falle under diskrimineringslover. Det er dessuten å gå ut over organisasjonens rammer.

The union that represents academics in the UK has announced today it will not proceed with plans to debate a boycott of Israeli universities following legal advice.

The University and College Union, whose members passed a motion at its conference in May to circulate and discuss a call to boycott, has been told by lawyers that the move would be unlawful.

Sally Hunt, the union’s general secretary, has called a halt to a proposed regional tour to discuss the issue with members. Branches are to be told that making a call to boycott Israeli institutions would «run a serious risk» of infringing discrimination legislation.

The boycott call was also deemed to be outside the aims and objectives of the union.

Delegates at the UCU conference voted by 158 to 99 in favour of a motion to recommend boycotts in protest at Israel’s «40-year occupation» of Palestinian land and to condemn the «complicity» of Israeli academics.

However, lawyers told the union that while members were free to debate Israeli policies, it should not spend resources on gauging opinion of something that should not be implemented.

The union said it would now consider ways to press ahead with the non-boycott elements of the motion, such as ending joint projects between UK and Israeli academics.

Boikott-pådrivere i Storbritannia og andre land, som Norge, ser ikke ut til å være oppmerksom på omkostningene ved en Israel-boikott.

Following news of this year’s conference debate, Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, cancelled a planned visit to Imperial College London because of what he perceived to be «a widespread anti-Israel and anti-semitic current in British opinion».

Union deems Israeli academic boycott illegal