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5 April 2013

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Teachers' Union of Ireland votes for academic boycott of 'apartheid' Israel

"BDS – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – is a noble, non-violent method of resisting Israeli militarism, occupation and apartheid"

THE Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) has become the first teaching union in Europe to endorse the call for an academic boycott of Israel as part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

A motion backing a boycott was unanimously passed at the TUI annual conference in Galway on Thursday.

The motion stated that the boycott of the "apartheid state" would not be lifted until Israel abides by UN resolutions and ends its illegal occupation of the West Bank and military and economic siege of Gaza.

Jim Roche, a lecturer at the DIT School of Architecture, said he was very pleased the motion he moved (241) was passed with such support “especially coming the day after Israeli occupation forces shot and killed two Palestinian teenagers in the West Bank".

“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,” he said.

David Landy, a lecturer at Trinity College Dublin and a member of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), described the move as “an historic precedent” and called on other academic institutions in Europe to take a similar stand:

“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.”

The full text of Motion 241 reads:

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 co-operation in research programmes.

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