Sunday, 7 April 2013

Teachers boycott Israeli academics

Irish teachers became the first in Europe to support the Palestinian call for an academic boycott of Israel on Thursday.

The Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) branded Israel an "apartheid state" at its annual congress.

A motion - which passd unanimously - called on "all members to cease all cultural and academic collaboration with Israel, including the exchange of scientists, students and academic personalities, as well as all co-operation in research programmes."

The motion further called on the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to "step up its campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against the apartheid state of Israel until it lifts its illegal siege of Gaza and its illegal occupation of the West Bank."

It urged the TUI to conduct an awareness campaign among members on the need for the boycott.

Mover Jim Roche said: "I am very pleased that this motion was passed with such support, especially coming the day after Israeli occupation forces killed two Palestinian teenagers in the West Bank.

"There is no question that Israel is implementing apartheid policies.

"Indeed, many veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa have said that it's worse than what was experienced there."

Mr Roche added: "Education has always been a target of the Israeli occupation, seeing forced closures of universities, disruption under checkpoint, closure and curfew regimes and arrests, beatings and killing of both students and teachers.

"We proposed this motion as we believe that, as with South Africa, the trade union movement has a vital role to play in helping apply pressure to end Israeli apartheid and occupation.

The TUI became the first European teachers' union to support an academic boycott. British lecturers' union UCU has a similar policy.

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign member and co-founder of Academics for Palestine David Landy said: "We congratulate the TUI and call on all Irish, British and European academic unions to move similar motions."

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