The newspaper Haaretz recently reported that the British ambassador to Israel, Simon McDonald, told a meeting at Bar Ilan University: "We had success in May" in overturning the AUT boycott of two Israeli universities. He is also reported to have described the AUT as taken over by a "highly motivated minority" who captured it to further their agenda. Bar Ilan was one of two universities targeted by a 2005 AUT boycott resolution as it had established the College of Judea and Samaria in the colony of Ariel, in the occupied West Bank (Vote ends Israeli boycott, May 27 2005). Under pressure of the boycott motion, Bar Ilan divested itself of legal responsibility for its offspring and the Israeli government hastily accorded the college independent university status. As members of AUT and Natfhe, we would like to ask the British ambassador why he was intervening in a professional trade union matter? Is it now Foreign Office practice? If not, who is the "we" to whom McDonald referred?
Prof Steven French, AUT, University of Leeds, Prof Jonathan Rosenhead, AUT, LSE, Prof Steven Rose, AUT, Open University, Sue Blackwell, AUT, Birmingham, AG Nasser, AUT, Manchester, Phil Marfleet, Natfhe, East London, Bahadur Najak, AUT, Durham, Sean Wallis, AUT, University College London, Sami Ramadani, Natfhe, London Metropolitan, and seven others
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