By Tom Hickey, chair of the University and Colleges Union
Faculty of Arts and Architecture, University of Brighton, Brighton BN2 1RA
Tony Blair’s appointment as Middle East peace envoy is intended to invigorate the peace process. Tom Hickey thinks boycotting universities might encourage the Israeli government to reach a settlement, but Michael Baum believes collaboration is a more effective way forward
The proposal adopted by the University and Colleges Union congress to discuss whether it should boycott Israeli academic institutions has caused a furore. The House of Lords set aside time for a full debate, and the British government dispatched a minister to reassure its Israeli counterparts. Whole page advertisements rapidly appeared in national newspapers condemning the decision. The great and the good were mobilised. Irrational, one sided, anti-semitic, and counterproductive were some of the accusations levelled against us for deciding to debate.