Scholars for Peace in the Middle East Board of Directors, UK Leadership and BDS Task Force Condemn UCU Academic Boycott of Israel Campaign Vote and Rejection of EU Definition of Anti-Semitism

By Scholars For Peace In The Middle East, PRNE
Tuesday, June 21, 2011

CHICO, California, June 22, 2011 -


The Board of Directors of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
(SPME), SPME Task Force on Boycotts Divestments and Sanctions and
Leadership of SPME-UK, representing nearly 60,000 academics

1) Strongly condemns the Union of College and Universities (UCU)
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 an illegal action based on discriminatory
practices as well as being well beyond the scope of the charter of
the union. Also in the past, nearly 60,000 academics worldwide,
including 50 Nobel Laureates, have registered their opposition to
such campaigns and have stated publicly to members of the offending
unions that if, indeed, one boycotts Israeli colleagues and
academic institutions, they shall be boycotting us as well. SPME
will work to revive this commitment from scholars worldwide.

2) Strongly condemns the UCU voting to disassociate itself from
the European Union (EU) Working Definition of what constitutes
anti-Semitism on May 30, 2011, which signals to all that the Union
does not take anti-Semitism seriously. In rejecting this working
definition the UCU is promoting a hostile, anti-Semitic study and
work environment for Jewish and Israeli students and faculty in
colleges and universities throughout the UK 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.

3) Commends and will support those British academics who
challenge, fight and obstruct these motions and who will defy these
adopted decisions. SPME will work with those colleagues to
challenge these actions within the union, within academic
institutions and legally, if necessary.

4) Urge our academic colleagues from around the world to express
their protests to these serious breaches of academic freedom and
hostile threats to Jewish and Israeli colleagues in the UK and in
Israel. As SPME has repeatedly reminded its academic colleagues in
the United Kingdom and elsewhere since initial boycott campaigns by
the UCU’s predecessor unions, academic boycotts are antithetical to
academic freedom and promoting peace.

As a Board, Task Force and SPME Chapter Leadership, we affirm
resistance to these actions and will mount a campaign once again
worldwide to get others to join such an effort.

SPME is committed to work with colleagues in academic
institutions worldwide to reverse this grievous act and to condemn
it wherever it may be practiced and adopted.

For Further Information Contact: Peter Haas, President SPME href="">; Edward
, SPME BDS Task Force Chair, href="">;
Howard Kahn, SPME UK Co-Chair, href=""> or Samuel
, SPME Executive Director, href="">

SPME Board of Directors

Peter J. Haas

SPME President

Case Western Reserve University

Judith Jacobson

SPME Vice President, Internal Relations

Columbia University

Stanley Dubinsky

SPME Vice President, External Relations

University of South Carolina

Edward S. Beck

SPME President-Emeritus

Chair, SPME Task Force on Boycotts Divestments and Sanctions

Walden University

Ruth Contreras

SPME Secretary

Vienna Natural History Museum (ret.)

Shlomo Dubnov

SPME Treasurer

University of California-San Diego

Samuel Edelman

Executive Director, SPME

California State University- Chico


Jonathan Adelman

University of Denver

Steven Albert

University of Pittsburgh

Leila Beckwith

University of California-Los Angeles

John R. Cohn

Member, SPME Task Force on Boycotts, Divestments and

Thomas Jefferson University

Richard Cravatts

Boston University

Donna Robinson Divine

Smith College

Awi Federgruen

Columbia University

Joel Fishman

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

India E. Garnett

United Church of Christ

Richard Landes

Boston University

Kenneth Marcus

Institute for Jewish and Community Research

David Menashri

Tel Aviv University

Don Morris

California Polytechnic Institute-Pomona

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin

University of California-Santa Cruz

Barry Rubin

GLORIA Center, Interdisciplinary Center

Herzliya, Israel

Philip Carl Salzman

McGill University

Ralf R. Schumann

Institute for Microbiology and Hygiene


Berlin, Germany

Ernest Sternberg

State University of New York- Buffalo


Howard Kahn

SPME Co-Chair United Kingdom

Heriot-Watt University (ret.)

Ashley Grossman

SPME Co-Chair United Kingdom

University of Oxford


SPME Task Force on Boycott Divestments and Sanctions

Edward S. Beck

Walden University

Chair, SPME BDS Task Force

Steven Weinberg

Nobel Laureate

University of Texas-Austin

Roger Kornberg

Nobel Laureate

Stanford University

Alan Dershowitz

Harvard University

Ian Troen

Brandeis University

Judea Pearl

University of California-Los Angeles

Charles Small

Yale University

Gerry Leisman

F. R. Carrick Institute for Clinical Ergonomics, Rehabilitation
and Applied Neurosciences and

Academic Center of Nazareth and the Galilee

Guy Kornberg

Stanford University

Adam de la Zerda

Stanford University

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed
expert(s), click appropriate link.

Samuel Edelman

For Further Information Contact: Peter Haas, SPME President, href=""> , Edward
, SPME President Emeritus, Chair BDS Task Force,, href="">
or Howard Kahn, SPME- UK Co-Chair, href="">



Peter Haas, SPME President, peter.haas at, +1-216-368-2741

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