In April 2015 three BRICUP members were part of a pan-European delegation
that visited six Palestinian Universities to learn at first hand how
the occupation undermines research, teaching and learning. There would
have been four BRICUP delegates but one of us was refused entry at Tel
Aviv Airport.

We were treated with great courtesy at all the universities where,
in each case, we met the President of the University or their deputy
as well as a great number of staff. students and trade union reps. They
unanimously expressed great appreciation of the global movement for
the academic boycott of Israel. Our meeting deepened our understanding
of the indignities and disruption Israeli occupation imposes on Palestinian
academics and the lack of concern expressed by Israeli academics for
those who they should regard as their peers even when professors at
Palestinian universities are arrested and detained without charge or
trial.

While we all knew that the occupation disrupted Palestinian universities
our visit taught us how the multitude of, what may be individually small,
disruptions combine and interact to create total inability to conduct
normal academic business. It is the combination of travel delays; the
refusal of the Israeli authorities to allow the import of standard text-books;
the delays or impossibility or acquiring mundane and innocuous materials
necessary for teaching and research; the time spent freeing students
from arbitrary arrest (or even finding out if they have been arrested
and if so where they are held); the impossibility of employing overseas
scholars to teach specialist modules; and so on and on and on.

Read the delegation report


Defend Academic Freedom at Southampton
University

Latest developments

UK High Court upholds conference ban and undermines academic
freedom

A high court judge decided that political pressure backed up
by spurious claims of threats to health and safety outweighed
academic freedom and upheld Southampton Univerity administration’s
ban on the conference.

The conference organisers are determined that the conference
will take place at a later date. They are urgently seeking a venue
whose mangers believe that threats should not determine what may
be discussed in Britain and that the discussion of the legal basis
of the Israeli state must not be outlawed

UK
High Court backs shutdown of Israel conference
– The Electronic
Intifada
Statement by the Conference
Organisers

Appeal for funds: Defend
Academic Freedom – Fight the ban on discussion of the legal
basis of Israel (or any other state)

Petition
to uphold free speech & allow the conference on Israel and international
law to proceed
now has over 10,000 signatures
– add your name

Haim Bresheeth has prepared an update on developments at Southampton
University following the unprecedented ban of the academic conference
on International Law and the State of Israel, on behalf of BRICUP.
His article details the pressure Zionist organisations, Conservative
MPs and Cabinet Ministers put upon the University administration.
He demonstrates the falsity of the University’s claim that it
cancelled the conference on Health and Safety grounds. The article
places the cancellation of the Southampton conference in the context
of cancellation of events promoting Palestinian rights at other
UK and European Universities; increasing aggression by Israel;
and an escalating campaign to label all criticism of Israel as
anti-semitic.

The next stage of Israel’s
game in the UK: Lawfare, silencing and
suppression – the test case in Southampton
– Haim
Bresheeth

Update
from the conference organisers
-31 March
Free Speech and Academic Freedom
trumped by Zionist Pressure
– BRICUP press release

Academics’ statement in support of the University of
Southampton

This statement has been overtaken by events

We, the undersigned academics, express principled and full support
for the University of Southampton’s commitment to freedom
of speech and scholarly debate.

We commend the University of Southampton administration, including
Vice-Chancellor Don Nutbeam, for its resolute defence of academic
freedom.

It is standing principle and recognised practice that academic
conference organisers have the right to choose those speakers
and topics they feel would best address the purposes of the conference,
without these being dictated to them by outside parties. To the
best of our knowledge, the conference invitations in this case
are based on qualification to speak on the topic rather than on
political positions held.

We affirm, as academics from various disciplines and institutions
of higher education, that the themes of the conference, such as
the relationship of international law to the historic and ongoing
political violence in Palestine/Israel, and critical reflections
on nationality and self-determination, are entirely legitimate
subjects for debate and inquiry.

We are very concerned that partisan attempts are being made to
silence dissenting analyses of the topic in question. For external
pressure and interference, especially from political lobby groups
and a government minister, to censor lawful academic discussion
would set a worrying precedent.

We trust that the programme of ‘International Law and the
State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism’
will go ahead as planned, to the credit of the University of Southampton
and all those involved.

Add
your name to the statement

See
the signatory list