Tuesday, 26 April 2005

AUT BOYCOTT OF BAR ILAN AND HAIFA UNIVERSITIES

PERSONAL STATEMENT BY PROFESSOR GEOFFREY ALDERMAN

The following statement was issued by Professor Geoffrey Alderman in London, England, on Monday night, 25 April 2005, following the decision by the Association of University Teachers, taken at the AUT's Annual Conference on Friday 22 April, to boycott the Universities of Bar Ilan and Haifa:

"I am an AUT member of some 36 years' standing, and a former Chair of its London Committee.

I am shocked and saddened that at its annual conference last week, timed to coincide with the eve of the Passover fesival, the Association saw fit to pass two ill-considered and spiteful resolutions calling on AUT members to boycott two Israeli universities.

Leaving aside the legality of what the resolutions propose, in terms of relevant anti-discrimination, equal opportunities and employment legislation, I am saddened that the AUT has allowed itself to be used as the tool of those whose agenda is aimed at the denial of the right of Jewish national self-determination and I am shocked at the assault on academic freedom that these resolutions embody.

Academic freedom is about the free exchange of ideas. The record of Israeli universities in this regard is very strong - much stronger than the oppressive record of universities in the Arab and Islamic states that surround Israel, but about which the AUT seems unconcerned.

I understand that, following the passage of these resolutions, some colleagues have resigned their AUT membership. I do not intend to do so. Instead, I call upon my fellow AUT members to ignore the resolutions and to treat them with the contempt they deserve."