TUI members voted unanimously for a full academic boycott of Israel in its Annual Conference
Elham Asaad Buaras
The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has voted unanimously for an academic boycott of Israel in its Annual Congress on April 4, making it the first educational trade union in Europe to adopt an explicit academic boycott of the state.
The motion part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign also instructs the executive committee of the union to conduct an awareness campaign amongst TUI members on the need for a full boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
Jim Roche, a lecturer at the DIT School of Architecture, said he was very pleased the motion he moved was passed with such support “especially coming the day after Israeli occupation forces shot and killed two Palestinian teenagers in the West Bank.”
“BDS is a noble, non-violent method of resisting Israeli militarism, occupation and apartheid, and there is no question that Israel is implementing apartheid policies against the Palestinians,” he said.
Fellow IPSC member and founder of Academics for Palestine, Dr David Landy, urged other unions to follow suit.
“We congratulate the TUI and call on all Irish, British and European academic unions to move similar motions,” said Landy, a lecturer at Trinity College Dublin.
Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Northern Ireland called the boycott “a sad day for the freedom of expression and academic learning” adding the boycott maybe be seen as anti-Semitic.
ZF Chair, Paul Charney, said the TUI boycott will stifle “the free exchange of ideas worldwide.”
“This boycott is divisive and demonises Israel. The ZF will be doing all we can to oppose this boycott,” Charney said.
Landy dismissed critics of the boycott as “apologists for Israeli” he also insisted the boycott is not aimed at individuals but institutions adding: “Those that will jump to complain about this motion will have no words of condemnation for the de facto boycott imposed on Palestinian education by Israel, nor for its continuing attacks on Palestinian education, students and educators.”
In a joint statement the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees, the General Union of Palestinian Teachers, the University Teachers’ Association (Gaza) and the General Union of Palestinian Writers saluted the TUI for reviving “the noble legacy of Irish support for the boycott against South African apartheid and bolstered international support for the Palestinian call, endorsed by an overwhelming majority in Palestinian civil society, to apply effective pressure on Israel and hold it accountable for its system of occupation, colonization and apartheid that violates international law and fundamental human rights.”
“Given the deep complicity of Israel’s academic institutions in planning, implementing, justifying and whitewashing Israel’s multi-tiered system of oppression against the Palestinian people, all these institutions should be boycotted and held to account, as the TUI has affirmed.”