Academic boycott of Israel called by Irish teachers union

In Blog, Culture, Politicsby Fedayn11 Comments

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The Teachers Union of Ireland has taken a step that will be noted by sister unions across Europe. This morning at Annual congress they unanimously passed a motion calling for the academic boycott of Israel.

The bold step makes them the first European academic union to call for such a boycott in line with the calls by Palestinian civil society for a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) until such time as Israel obeys international law and ends it’s apartheid regime.

The motion was a composite motion proposed by the TUI Executive Committee and TUI Dublin Colleges Branch. It was presented by Jim Roche, a lecturer in the DIT School of Architecture and member of the TUI Dublin Colleges Union branch, and seconded by Gerry Quinn, Vice President of the TUI.

Speaking after the successful passage of the motion, Jim Roche said:

“I am very pleased that this motion was passed with such support by TUI members, especially coming the day after Israeli occupation forces shot and killed two Palestinian teenagers in the West Bank yesterday. BDS is a noble non-violent method of resisting Israeli militarism, occupation and apartheid, and there is no question that Israel is implementing apartheid policies against the Palestinians. Indeed, many veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa have said that it’s worse than what was experienced there.”

Noting the historic move Dr. David Landy, a member of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign and founder member of Academics for Palestine welcomed the motion saying:

“This is an historic precedent, being the first such motion in Europe to explicitly call for an academic boycott of Israel. We congratulate the TUI and call on all Irish, British and European academic unions to move similar motions. Undoubtedly apologists for Israeli apartheid will complain that such motions stifle academic freedom, but this is nonsense. The Palestinian call for an academic boycott of Israel is an institutional boycott, not a boycott of individuals. Ironically, those that will jump to complain about this motion will have no words of condemnation for the de facto boycott imposed on Palestinian education by Israel, nor for its continuing attacks on Palestinian education, students and educators”.

The TUI motion in full:

241. Executive Committee/Dublin Colleges(x4)

TUI demand that ICTU step up its campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the apartheid state of Israel until it lifts its illegal siege of Gaza and its illegal occupation of the West Bank, and agrees to abide by International law and all UN Resolutions against it. Congress instructs the Executive Committee to: (a) Conduct an awareness campaign amongst TUI members on the need for BDS (b) Request all members to cease all cultural and academic collaboration with Israel, including the exchange of scientists, students and academic personalities, as well as all cooperation in research programmes.


  1. Awful idea. While it’s not quite book burning, anything which stops the free exchange of perspectives and ideas is inherently bad. Boycotting law/political science/human rights academics in Israel is as absurd as any country boycotting Irish economic academics.

  2. “anything which stops the free exchange of perspectives and ideas is inherently bad” – you might tell that to the Israelis…as part of their slow genocide of the Palestinians includes restrictions on all forms of academia, trade, sport, culture. Worth remembering this apartheid is worse than that faced by the black south africans, we led the way (despite well-backed opposition) in changing the world attitude to that, we can lead the way again.

  3. You’re right Conor, it’s not quite book burning. In fact, it’s nothing like book burning at all. (Although, as an aside, when it comes to actual book burning, some segments of Israeli society have form).

    No one is talking about boycotting individual academics, this is an institutional boycott. For example, the IPSC has hosted many Israeli academics over the years – none of them were here representing their institutions though. This motion mandates a boycott of institutional cooperation between academics and universities in Ireland and Israel. Similarly, there is nothing to stop Israelis applying to attend university in Ireland, but it recognises that student exchanges represent institutional cooperation.

  4. We have had so many people down throughout history claim that lets say nothing and a pitiful comment on well it will damage our reputation is quite frankly a shit reason to sit back. Allowing genocide is not part of any curriculum that can be condoned, in fact unless you actually understand what is happening against the Palestinian people it is quite a staggering act of ignorance to comment in such a way. Unity starts with someone being brave and i commend all those behind this action, as for those with a very limited perspective please do more research about human rights.

  5. David Landy will be on Drivetime shortly to discuss this.

  6. Utter nonsense Graham. How is this vengeful? Honestly man? I i sincerely hope that if you get you L.L.M in human rights that you learn something. How will this harm Irish education or Irish scholars?

  7. Pingback: Throwing The Book: US Gov’t Seeks to Silence Political Dissent in American Universities | The Pedantic Millenial | A news outlet without access or authority.

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