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Dear Ms Hunt and AUT President,

As a lifelong trade unionist and academic, I was saddened
that at a time when Israel and the Palestinian authority
have restarted meaningful talks, the AUT should have voted
to take action to boycott Bar Ilan and Haifa Universities.
For those who really wish to see a just solution for the
Palestinian people and genuine peace and security for the
Jewish State of Israel, then discussion and negotiation are
the only way forward, not boycotts and action against
Israeli academics which in my view as a British trade
unionist can only be described as racist in accordance with
UK and European law.
In the recent past, many of your members have been the most
vocal about academic freedom, only now for their own dark
purposes, appear to be willing to deny the Jewish state of
Israel and its academics the same rights.
I am a member of the other academic HE Union, Natfhe and for
many years have been the High Wycombe Branch Chairperson.As
you know, the membership of both our trade unions are
considering merger and until your boycott vote, I was
feeling quite positive about this merger. Frankly, I now
would feel ashamed to be associated with those who appear to
only pay lip service to equal opportunities and racism,
conveniently having a blind spot towards the complexities of
the Middle East and the rights of the Palestinian people to
self determination in their own state which recognises the
rights of the Jewish State of Israel to peaceful
coexistence.
Having looked at the reports of your boycott discussion, it
would appear that your union also only pays lip service to
democratic debate, as I understand that those opposed to the
boycott motion were not allowed to put their point of view
and point out the inaccuracies in the case of the boycott
supporters. With such a serious matter as this, did it not
occur to union officers to check the accuracy with Bar Ilan
and Haifa Universities?
I would urge you for the sake of the credibility of the AUT
to do all you can to reverse a motion that would in my
opinion have been more fitting at the conference of ignorant
racists and the BNP rather than an informed HE academic
trade union.

Best Wishes,

Stephen Soskin

Stephen Soskin MA, Cert Ed.,ILTM,MInstTT
Principal Lecturer
Faculty of Leisure and Tourism
Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College
Queen Alexandra Road
High Wycombe
Buckinghamshire
HP11 2JZ

 

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