Manchester academics to boycott Israeli universities as Palestinians denied ‘any semblance’ of human rights

Lecturers from across the city’s universities have pledged to boycott Israeli institutions until its government complies with international law and human rights principles.

Seventeen academics across Manchester universities have signed a controversial boycott of Israel and its academics institutions.

Fifteen lecturers from the University of Manchester, two from Manchester Metropolitan and one from the University of Salford have joined the nationwide boycott which is supported by 343 academics.

Professors and lecturers from 72 universities across the United Kingdom have pledged to reject invitations to Israeli institutions, participate in conferences funded or organised them, act as referees, or otherwise co-operate in any other way.

Professor Ludi Simpson, a specialist in population studies, at the University of Manchester is one of the academics who has signed the boycott.

He told MM: “I have joined the boycott because it has been clear to me for a long time that Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands is deliberate, brutal and will not change until an Israeli government recognises that its policies will cause it damage by isolation from other countries.

“Every few months news comes on our national news that Israel is once again using its overwhelming force within Palestinian lands to deny any semblance of self-determination, human rights and democratic practice.

“It is not only academics that have joined this boycott and divestment campaign.

“Some local authorities have refused to work with Israeli companies who operate in the occupied territories.

“Many people do not buy Israeli goods. Many entertainers have declined invitations to work with Israeli-sponsored events.

“I hope other academics, staff and students, will do the same, and sign the commitment to the boycott.“

In a statement, entitled ‘A Commitment by UK scholars to the rights of Palestinians’, the movement vowed to maintain the boycott until ‘the state of Israel complies with international law, and respects universal principles of human rights’.

It read: “As scholars associated with British universities, we are deeply disturbed by Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land, the intolerable human rights violations that it inflicts on all sections of the Palestinian people, and its apparent determination to resist any feasible settlement.”

The boycott has come under fire from numerous groups and individuals.

This week, a spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy in London said: “Divisive boycott initiatives such as this one serve only to show hatred, alienating the sides rather than promoting co-existence.

“Those calling to boycott Israelis during a month of 45 stabbing attacks – in which over a hundred Israelis were injured and 10 were murdered – exhibit an especially callous disregard for Israeli lives and for the conditions necessary for peace.”

Names such as JK Rowling and Melvyn Bragg have also condemned boycotting the state of Israel – calling for a culture of ‘peaceful co-existence’.

The academics based at Manchester universities who have joined the boycott are listed below.

The University of Manchester

Dr Rami Alfarra

Prof Mona Bakerb

Prof Erica Burman

Pat Devine

Dr Virinder Kalra

Dr Paul Kelemen

Dr Graeme Kirkpatrick

Dr Dalia Mostafa

Dr Luis Perez-Gonzalez

Prof Dee Reynolds

Prof Chris Roberts

Prof Myriam Salama-Carr

Prof Ludi Simpson

Dr Graham Smith

Manchester Metropolitan University

Prof Jules Townshend

Prof Michael Loughlin

The University of Salford

Dr Orieb Masadeh-Tete

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