Ken Livingstone is against the academic boycott of Israel

Write up of London Mayor Ken Livingstone’s wide-ranging speech at a meeting organised by the Movement for Reform Judaism, 29th May (i.e. the night before the UCU voted to campaign for a boycott).

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2 thoughts on “Ken Livingstone is against the academic boycott of Israel

  1. Fight back against this blatant attack on Israel.
    The Boycott
    – is counter to the universal principle of academic freedom

    – is a form of prejudice & discrimination; it unfairly singles out Israel

    – is counter-productive to peace & reconciliation

    – stifles scientific advancement, which depends on international interaction

    Fight back against this blatant attack on Israel.
    The Boycott
    – is counter to the universal principle of academic freedom

    – is a form of prejudice & discrimination; it unfairly singles out Israel

    – is counter-productive to peace & reconciliation

    – stifles scientific advancement, which depends on international interaction

    join thousands and sign the offical petition http://www.petitiononline.com/stopucu/petition.html

  2. I’m afraid I can’t sign that. To do so involves me categorically declaring opposition to academic boycott per se. But academic freedom becomes meaningless where there is an systematised denial of basic human rights. Then you have to ask (well, if you’re considering a boycott, that is) whether boycott has benefits which outweigh the assault on academic freedom and the careers of innocent individuals. And where academic freedom has been perverted into a state agenda, I can’t rule out boycott – there’s no point seeking to uphold something that doesn’t exist in the first place. Serbia under Milosovich was arguably one such case though one of which I know little. Israel is not such a case – I rule out boycott for Israel.
    In her 2006 Radical Philosophy article, Judith Butler makes these points better than I can: http://tinyurl.com/ytyybn.

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