The Academic Friends of Israel


Vol.11 No 1                                                               16 February 2012 

AFI Digest: UCU elections for General Secretary

This month the University and College Union (UCU) membership will vote on who they want as their General Secretary for the next five years.  The choice is between Sally Hunt, who has been in the post for the last five years and Mark Campbell, a member of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) led UCU Left faction on the national executive committee (NEC). For the majority of members, who to support will depend on who they think is likely to be the most effective on the two issues that matter, job security and pensions.

However for those members, who are unhappy with what some may consider to be the UCU’s obsession with Israel over the last five years, the choice is between ‘a rock and a hard place’. During that time under the leadership of Sally Hunt and the UCU Left dominated NEC, the UCU has adopted 16 resolutions critical of Israel’s policies, an average of three a year; was only stopped from promoting an academic boycott of Israel by legal advice, is  affiliated to the Palestine  Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and along with the TUC supports the PSC’s boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign directed against Israel. Their decision last year to disassociate the UCU from the widely used EUMC definition of antisemitism was for many members a step to far as it discriminates against Jewish members of the union.

Just as I did in 2007, I contacted both candidates to ask them questions about Israel, boycotts and antisemitism. Mark Campbell completely ignored my request and Sally Hunt replied saying “It is my policy not to engage with or seek support from any faction or lobbying group within UCU including yours.” Their refusal to answer questions that are important to me, as a union member, and many of my colleagues is symptomatic of the way the UCU has behaved towards its Jewish members over the last five years. In addition to election for General Secretary there are also elections for half the seats on the NEC. As well as the UCU Left faction there is a group of independent candidates who call themselves the UCU Independent Broad Left who seek to unite the Union around a progressive trade union and equality agenda.  Antisemitism or Israel does doesn’t appear to be an issue of concern for any of the candidates as none of them mention it in their statements.  

If you have a vote in this election and wish to vote for independent candidates, full details of the UCU Independent Broad Left group can be found at:  

The Academic Friends of Israel recommends that you do not vote for any UCU Left candidate as they are the driving force behind the Union’s anti-Israel policies. Their list of candidates can be found at: .

Voters should also be aware as that the ballot is conducted by the single transferable vote method and one should not give a second or third preference. 

One thing is clear that over the next five years regardless of who becomes General Secretary, the union’s fixation with Israel is likely to continue as UCU Left faction shows no sign of losing control of the NEC.  

I am reminded of what wrote on the eve of the 2008 Congress which is still relevant today and sadly will be for the foreseeable future:

 “The Academic Friends of Israel fully supports the right of the UCU to debate the issues surrounding the Israel /Palestine conflict and how they can support Palestinian academics as long as it does not include calls for the destruction, demonisation or delegitimisation of the State of Israel which is the EUMC definition of antisemitism. The problem is that many of the Congress delegates as well as the union itself do not accept this definition of antisemitism or that the UCU has become institutionally racist by creating a discriminatory atmosphere towards Jewish academics many of whom are members of the UCU. This has a bigger impact than one first realises because more Jews in the UK today belong to the teaching unions than any other trade union.” 

Ronnie Fraser 


Academic Friends of Israel  

Digest contents: 

1.    CST Antisemitic Incidents Report 2011 

2.    Four plead guilty to terror plot targeting UK rabbis   

3.    Guardian article regarding government funding for security guarding at Jewish schools 

4.    IPO disruptor Jonathan Rosenhead: “Israel National Theatre at the Globe is next target.” 

5.    Major UK Churches adopt Christian Aid’s anti-Israel BDS agenda 

6.    Google pouring money into Israeli startups   

1. CST Antisemitic Incidents Report 2011

The report shows that the number of antisemitic incidents in the UK fell in 2011 for the second year running. A total of 586 incidents were reported to CST in 2011, a 9% fall from the 645 antisemitic incidents recorded in 2010. For the first time ever, CST recorded more antisemitic incidents in Greater Manchester than in Greater London.

The breakdown of the incident types shows that there were 92 violent antisemitic assaults in 2011, including one classified as ‘Extreme Violence’; 63 incidents of Damage & Desecration of Jewish property; 394 incidents of Abusive Behaviour, including verbal abuse, antisemitic graffiti and one-off cases of hate mail; 29 direct antisemitic threats; and 8 cases of mass-mailed antisemitic leaflets or emails……

To read the full report   

2. Four plead guilty to terror plot targeting UK rabbis

Four men have pleaded guilty to a 2010 terrorist plot that included the potential targeting of two rabbis, amongst other targets. Five other men have pleaded guilty to other terrorism offences and all nine will be sentenced next week. The men, who are all British nationals, had been inspired by the preaching’s of the recently-killed radical extremist Anwar Al-Awlaki.To read the full report:   

3. Guardian article regarding government funding for security guarding at Jewish schools 

The Guardian  chose to mark Holocaust Memorial Day by attacking the funding provided by the government to pay for security guarding at Jewish state schools in England and Wales. This funding is provided to protect Jewish schools against terrorism. The Guardian story is misleading as it suggests that the money provided by the Department for Education pays for CST to provide security at Jewish schools…..

To read the full report:   

 4. IPO disruptor Jonathan Rosenhead: “Israel National Theatre at the Globe is next target.” 

LSE Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, Chair of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP), who helped to disrupt the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert at the Royal Albert Hall on 1st September 2011, has said that the performance by the National Theatre of Israel (or Habima) of The Merchant of Venice at the Globe Theatre on 28th and 29th May will be the next target for anti-Israel activists. He said that they had purchased 45 tickets for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s disrupted concert and he boasted about the BBC taking the concert off air…….

To read the full report:    

 5. Major UK Churches adopt Christian Aid’s anti-Israel BDS agendaby Chanah Shapira  

·        A survey of several major churches in the UK reveals that Christian Aid, an aid organization of the World Council of Churches (WCC) that propagates far-left anti-Israel views and supports groups that promote the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) agenda, determines the actual Middle East policy line for these UK churches. 

 ·        Christian Aid works to influence public opinion and policy with a two-pronged approach of Israel-delegitimization and funding of far-left pro-Palestinian organizations. It also works with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Israel and Palestine (EAPPI), a project of the World Council of Churches that recruits volunteers to participate in on-site propaganda tours, and then work as activists back home. In very loose terms, Christian Aid provides funding and EAPPI provides personnel…….

To read the essay :  or    

6. Google pouring money into Israeli startups

 One in the eye for BDS – read the Washington Post report about Google investing in Israel    


Patron: The Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks 

Advisory Board: 

 Dr Manfred Gerstenfeld - Chairman of the Board of Fellows, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Vivian Wineman - President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews

Amir Lev

John D A Levy - Director of the Academic Study Group on Israel and the Middle East

Andrew R. Marks, M.D. - Columbia University, USA

Professor Leslie Wagner CBE

Rt Hon Lord Young of Graffham

The Academic Friends of Israel Ltd is limited by guarantee and registered in England No 5297417.