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The boycott of Israel voted by the British NATFHE university lecturers union is now defunct, because the union has merged with the AUT to form a different union, the UCU. They knew that the boycott was an empty publicity gesture when they voted for it, because AUT had voided a similar proposal a year earlier. However, the boycott motion, and the motion to support those dear people in the Hamas, served their purpose. The purpose was to gain publicity for delegitimation of Israel, and to help stamp in the association between "Apartheid" and "Israel."

Perhaps those opposed to the boycott inadvertantly excacerbated the problem by the counter-publicity campaign, which gave undue publicity to an irrelevant resolution made by a relatively obscure union.

In any case, there is no great cause for joy. No doubt they will be back at it with more and worse resolutions. How about a resolution mourning Zarqawi?

Ami Isseroff

British academic boycott expires after teaching unions merge
By Tamara Traubmann, Haaretz Correspondent

The recent decision by the largest lecturers' union in Britain to encourage an
academic boycott of Israel has expired, as was expected when it was
implemented, said the union's general secretary this weekend.

Although the controversial decision was made only May 29, it stopped being
valid two weeks ago because the National Association of Teachers in Further
and Higher Education (NATFHE) has merged with another British union, the
Association of University Teachers.

Mackney, general secretary of NATFHE and the merged union, sent a letter
Saturday to a British lawyer representing Jewish lecturers against the
boycott. The letter confirmed that the boycott decision was no longer valid.

NATFHE's decision encouraged lecturers to boycott Israeli institutions and
individuals who do not publicly dissociate themselves from Israeli policies
related to the occupation and from discrimination in the field of education.

It had previously been reported that the boycott decision would be valid for
only a short time because of the merger. Nonetheless, Israeli anti-boycott
groups said Sunday that they saw the move as an achievement of their struggle
against the decision.

The International Advisory Board for Academic Freedom, a group that was
founded at Bar-Ilan University in response to an earlier academic boycott and
was a key player in fighting NATFHE's move, said in a statement Sunday that it
was "pleased to announce that [the decision] has been canceled."

Education Minister Yuli Tamir said she "welcomes the cancellation of the
British academic boycott thanks to the efforts of all the relevant groups in
this matter."

By contrast, MK Rabbi Michael Melchior, the chairman of the Knesset Education
Committee, noted that the expiry was a technical matter and "therefore does
not indicate anything about a change regarding Israel."

"The celebrations over the revocation of the British academic boycott of
Israel are premature and baseless," he said.

Supporters of the boycott said that the Israeli lobby falsely presented the
expiration as a cancellation and a victory.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, an
umbrella organization encompassing dozens of Palestinian nongovernmental
organizations, said: "The significance of the academic boycott against Israel
adopted by the largest British academic union cannot be viewed in legalistic
terms," it said. "Its moral weight should not be underestimated."

The group added that NATFHE's decision has proven that boycotting Israeli
academic institutions because of their cooperation in preserving a special
form of anti-Palestinian "apartheid" remains a priority for progressive
Western and human rights activists.

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