Anti Fascism

Their AUT and Ours

In the days running up to this Thursday’s vote on the AUT Boycott, John Pike is concerned that the spontaneous, uncoordinated nature of the anti-boycott campaign will allow a pro-boycott motion to pass.

His concern is heightened by the declaration of some delegates – including Sue Blackwell – that they will vote against the wishes of those they represent:

Birmingham AUT has issued a press release in which Sue Blackwell announces her intention to vote for the boycott resolutions. She argues that the Birmingham meeting voted for both pro and anti-boycott resolutions. Now, this isn’t strictly true: Birmingham voted for a resolution 13 that said ‘This association opposes a policy of boycotting any university in Israel.’ It also voted for a resolution 29 that says that ‘academic boycotts of Israeli universities are a legitimate form of peaceful protest.’ These two resolutions are compatible. It’s perfectly straightforward to think that something is a legitimate form of protest, but at the same time be opposed to doing it. It’s not my view, but it is a consistent one, and it’s not a pro-boycott view.

Birmingham AUT voted down, defeated,

1) a resolution calling for a boycott of Ariel College

2) a resolution calling for a boycott of Haifa University

Let’s try that again. Birmingham AUT voted down, defeated, rejected

1) a resolution calling for a boycott of Ariel College

2) a resolution calling for a boycott of Haifa University

Yet one of the Birmingham representative members of council announces in advance her intention to go to the Special Council and vote for these boycotts.


Jon in the comments points to this remarkably one sided BBC News article, entitled “Israel boycott ‘stitch-up’ fears”. “Stitch up” in this context means “AUT members voting down a policy with which they disagree”.

I am not usually one to complain in some psychotic Medialensish fashion about BBC bias, but I’ve done so, for pretty much the first time, here.

Second Update

The piece has now been expanded to read:

Both universities deny the charges, which have stirred up international debate, with academics and other organisations arguing both for and against the boycott.

John Pike, a senior philosophy lecturer at the Open University, gathered the 25 signatures needed to reconvene the AUT’s council.

He said “large” local meetings had shown 80% of members were against the boycotts.

Of the 31 resolutions to go before the council on Thursday, 24 called for an end to the action, Dr Pike said, adding: “There is a members’ backlash against the boycott.

“No one is trying to stitch us up. It is pressure from below that will make the union remove the boycott.”

The report, however, still links to a pro-boycott campaign and not to Engage.