Peter Neumann’s Letter to UCU Leaders on Academic Boycott

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Dear Sally and Linda,

I was so impressed with your union’s moral stand on the Palestinian military battle for more self determination and their ongoing right to kill or maim Israeli civilians ((both arabs and jews) in order to further their struggle. Equally impressive, is your desire to impress on Israelis like myself that their government’s responses, designed to protect Israeli citizens from Palestinian military strikes against civilians, will be punished by an informal UK boycott of Israeli academia. As an Israeli academic I now realize that I, my family and my friends should stop supporting the Israeli peace camp and Israeli arab dialogue. Instead, we will wait for your far sighted moral boycott of Israeli universities, together with the ongoing military actions of the Palestinian freedom fighters, to persuade our government to give the Palestinians all they want. If that happens, I personally will be prepared to further support the aims of the Palestinian people, by if possible, escaping to the UK, seeking a university teaching post there and applying for membership of your great union.

May I suggest that your boycott resolution would be even more impressive if you could also push for informal academic boycotts supporting a few other oppressed minorities, e.g. in China ( religious sects and Tibet), Sudan ( Christian minorities and Darfur villagers), Mozambique (whole population), USA (red indians), New Zealand (maories) Australia (aboriginees), Bolivia (silver miners), and against the many countries where women like yourselves are denied the right to education and self-fulfillment because of religious or cultural restrictions. You might also want to pass a resolution condeming the civil war in Algeria where ~100,000 citizens have been murdered over the last decade by the freedom fighters of the fundamentalist opposition who are also seeking their civil rights.

Finally, I know your members are aware that the poor economic conditions of migrant families in Europe mean that their children are effectively banned from higher education, through no fault of their own. This leads to resentment and frustration and even to suicide bombings on buses and trains, as seen in London. Although it is not really my affair, couldn’t you persuade your members to push through a resolution demanding free access to higher education in the UK for all the children of legal or illegal immigrants? If the government does not respond, you could introduce an informal boycott of politicians. A united, unbiased, and moral stance by the finest minds in the UK can surely bring about change!

Yours sincerely,

Peter Neumann
Professor,
Civil and Environmental Engineering,
Technion IIT Haifa,Israel.

Peter Neumann’s Letter to UCU Leaders on Academic Boycott

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