Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Academic Boycott 4

David Hirsh writes:
Dear All,

This email goes out to everyone who signed the statement in yesterday's Guardian opposing the boycott of Israel, as well as those who wanted to sign but were too late, as well as those who expressed support but were not academics, as well as those who expressed qualified support.

If people haven't yet seen the final result, it is here. I am proud of the way that the three letters look on the page of the Guardian - I think that together, they make a strong case, and together they allowed everyone who opposes the proposed boycott to have their voice heard.

It also seems to have had some effect already - see today's leader in the Guardian.

So I want to say thank you very much to all of you for your support, help and encouragement.

Please have a look at this on Harry's place, which is my attempt to counter the argument that the pro-boycotters published in today's Guardian .

Please present our arguments to your own AUT delegates to the meeting this week.

A number of you have said that it might be useful to have a dayschool or a conference on the issue of the academic boycott. This might also address the issue of how to make positive links with Israeli and Palestinian academics and institutions. It might also address issues of antisemitism in British academia. I would be interested to hear people's views on this possibility. Who volunteers to organise it?

Just one apology - the Guardian agreed to print the statement late on Monday - and asked me to provide them with an edited version and choose five names 'ten minutes ago'. I hope people think the edited version did reflect the longer statement. But my picking of names was arbitrary, and I regret that I did not pick two or three of the eminent women academics who supported the statement. How do journalists do it? We have 5 months to write something - they have 5 minutes.

Best Wishes and Thanks
David

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