Wiesenthal Centre to British Education Secretary and UK Universities Funding Lobby: "Ban All Grants to Academic Institutions that Subscribe to Boycott"

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Wiesenthal Centre to British Education Secretary and UK Universities Funding Lobby: "Ban All Grants to Academic Institutions that Subscribe to Boycott"

Paris, 29 May 2006

Addressing British Secretary of State for Education, Alan Johnson, and Universities UK President Drummond Bone, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre' Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, called for their action against academic boycott.

The Centre noted its concern at "the ongoing campaign, last year at the AUT (Association of University Teachers), this year at the NATFHE (National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education) to incite to a British academic boycott of Israeli universities."

Samuels noted that "this campaign, so redolent of the Nazi 1930's 'Kaufen Nicht Bei Juden' boycott of Jewish professionals and enterprises, is not only an abuse of academic freedom.

Though led by the BRICUP (so-called "British" Committee for Universities in Palestine), the campaign is a propaganda instrument of the PNGO. This is a network of Palestinian NGO's that includes groups associated with the European Union blacklisted terrorist organization, Hamas, and those which glorify suicide terrorism, as perpetrated last July in London."

The letter added, "indeed, PNGO played a central role in the anti-Israeli programmes at SOAS (the London School of Oriental and African Studies).  BRICUP is, today, due to press for the boycott motion to the last NAFTHE conference currently convened, prior to that Association's merger with the AUT."

Samuels described the Department of Education as "the funding agency for all UK universities and institutions of further education", while Universities UK is the "lobbyist for the Higher Education Bill which oversees the disbursement of billions of pounds per year to these institutions."

The letter stressed that "this boycott will not only be a disservice to the British taxpayer whose monies you administer. It will contravene British obligations under Article 13 of the EU's Treaty of Amsterdam that forbids all discrimination, including 'national'", adding that "the fact that the Israeli victims of this boycott will, in the main, be Jewish, is, ipso facto, an instrument of antisemitism. Furthermore, this campaign violates British Middle East policy by reinforcing those elements who reject any hope for a peaceful settlement."

The Centre called on both the Education Department and Universities UK "to ensure that any university, college, or other academic institution, including their departments or faculty, which subscribes to such a boycott, will be barred from your funding or grant recipients list until this collaboration with the boycott is publicly revoked."

Samuels concluded, "in the absence of such action, the Department for Education and Skills and Universities UK  will be complicit by omission in this boycott and its consequences."


For further information, please contact Dr. Samuels at +33 6 09 77 01 58.