FFIPP-UK Newsletters and Past Events


Fear of the Other and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – a conference held in London 23-24 September 2006

Responding to Censorship: Freedom, speech and action – a workshop organized by FFIPP-UK and sponsored by the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, held on 14th May 2007 at Birkbeck College.


19th November 2008

It’s three months since the last FFIPP-UK Newsletter. It’s not that things haven’t happened, just that it is more of the same as has been reported in newsletter after newsletter, and most of what is happening in an academic context is subsumed under the conflict and the occupation in general anyway.


1. Another humanitarian crisis approaches in Gaza with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warning – yet again – of a looming disaster. As does Oxfam. As does Gisha… Amidst the general reports of power generation cut to the bone, water contamination, the virtual collapse of sewage disposal systems in much of the territory, and acute shortage of foodstuff Gisha has continued to highlight issues of freedom of movement for Palestinian students.

2. The Independent Jewish Voices collection A Time to speak out: Independent Jewish Voices on Israel, Zionism and Jewish Identity, eds Anne Karpf, Brian Klug, Jacqueline Rose and Barbara Rosenbaum, was published in October 2008 by Verso Books. It contains much of relevance to FFIPP, but particularly noteworthy is an essay by Prof Stan Cohen, ‘The Virtual Reality of Israeli Universities’ (pp.36-46).

3. The October FFIPP (US) bulletin is available, covering the FFIPP Winter Educational Tour to Palestine/Israel, December 28, 2008 – January 8, 2009 and the Alternative Winter Break for College students in Palestine/Israel, December 28, 2008 – January 6, 2009, with one week of volunteer work on a community project in Nablus, the occupied Palestinian territories, and 3 days of intensive orientation, at the beginning of the program, that includes visits to Jerusalem, Haifa, Tel-Aviv, and the Galilee.

4. The debate about the academic boycott and whether it is antisemitic or not rumbles on with some very powerful contributions by Martin Shaw, engaged in debate with both David Hirsh and Norman Geras. Shaw defends the position which seemed to be the majority one in FFIPP when it was debated more than once at International conferences in the past viz, that while a call for academic boycott was probably ill-advised, it was certainly not antisemitic.

5. There was an attempted political assassination of Israeli historian and left-wing Zionist, Prof Ze’ev Sternhell in September.

6. And finally, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem threatened disciplinary action against the Chair of the Palestinian Student Union, Ali Bahar, who refused to shake Shimon Peres’ hand when he was on a walkabout at the university, accusing him of being a “child killer” (a reference to the Israeli shelling of a UN compound in Qana, Lebanon, in 1996, while Peres was Prime Minister). All disciplinary action against Bahar was subsequently dropped.

Full details



11th August 2008

This newsletter contains:

1. The saga of the Gaza students continues:

a) Gisha, the legal centre for freedom of movement, launches an online campaign to recruit international support for the right of Palestinian students from the Gaza Strip to reach their studies abroad.

b) Jerry Haber comments perceptively as ever in his MagnesZionist blog, 6th August) entitled ‘Two Additional Reasons for the Academic Boycott of Israel’ (he is opposed to a boycott, mind).

c) Barak Ravid, ‘Why did the U.S. turn away Gaza Fulbright scholars?’, Ha’aretz 3 August

2. Israeli academics’ petition for Palestinian academic freedom’:

a) The petition

b) Exchange on the topic on the Engage blog

3. University heads: IDF interfering in enrollment process

4. Interpal’s Education Appeal

5. A bad day at the Huwara checkpoint

6. “‘Reign of terror’ at Hebrew University sociology department”

Full details


15th June 2008

This newsletter contains:

1. FFIPP-International: Conference at Al Quds University, Jerusalem, 2-3 July – The Predicament of Gaza and Palestine: US/Israel policies and the role of academia

2. Norman Finkelstein barred entry to Israel – some more comments

3. Israel relents under pressure and allows Fulbright scholars to travel, apparently after Condoleeza Rice herself intervened

4. Students trapped in Gaza: “Held Back: Students Trapped in Gaza” – latest Gisha report, 6 June 2008 on the Fulbright and other cases

5. Opposition to UCU motion no 25

6. Jerry Haber on questions of the Academic boycott – MagnesZionist blog

7. Mearsheimer & Walt, authors of “The Israel Lobby”, visit Israel and speak at the Hebrew university

8. Checkpoints – lest we forget

Full details


30th May 2008

This newsletter contains the following items:

1. University and College Union 2008 Congress

2. US prof gives Israeli prize money to Palestinian University and to Gisha

3. Norman Finkelstein barred entry to Israel – who is protesting about violations of academic freedom this time round?

4. Report on FFIPP-UK shipment of Books to Palestine

5. Latest FFIPP-USA Newsletter available

6. Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir denied entry into Palestine

7. Twinning

8. Israel, Palestine and a Tenure Battle at Barnard

9. Knesset Eduction Committee: Preventing Students in Gaza from Studying Abroad is Immoral and Unwise.

10. US Withdraws Fulbright Grants to Gaza

11. A change of name for FFIPP-UK

10th January 2008

This newsletter contains the following items:

1. Further update on students trapped in Gaza

2. Tel Aviv University research lab in the occupied Golan?

3. Academic links with a Palestinian university, 30th January 5.30-7.00 pm London

4. Israel Academic Monitor – a website to monitor radical academics in Israel

5. FFIPP letter to Nobel Laureates

6. The Anti-Defamation League and the Armenian genocide

7. Reminder about the FFIPP-UK Books for Palestine Project – shipment to be finalised by early February

Full details

28th October 2007

This newsletter contains the following items:

1. Update on students trapped in Gaza

(a) General

(b) The case of Khaled Mudallal of Bradford University

2. UK government response on the refusal to allow entry to the UK to the under-19 Palestinian football team

3. Update on the UCU and the academic boycott discussion

4. Some good news, for a change:

(a) Archbishop Tutu ban lifted

(b) Pluto Press distribution in the US is guaranteed for now

5. The Oxford Union Saga

6. Action Palestine: ‘Fighting for Palestine Students’ Conference’, Sat 10th November, Manchester

7. Call for papers: First International Academic Conference, “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Pathways to Peace”, Connecticut, March 2008


Reminder about the FFIPP-UK Books for Palestine Project

Full details

4th October 2007

This newsletter contains two updates and one brief new item:

1. FFIPP-UK Books for Palestine Project

2. UCU and the academic boycott discussion

3. Archbishop Tutu banned from speaking at an American campus

Full details


18th September 2007

This newsletter contains the following:

1. An update on the UCU resolution and forthcoming UCU action

2. Academic Freedom in Palestine/ Israeli academic responses

3. Middle East politics in the groves of academe

a) De Paul University – latest on the Norman Finkelstein affair and the subsequent Larudee affair

b) Barnard tenure dispute: Dr Au El-Haj and her book ‘Facts on the Ground: Archeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society’

4. “Ariel University Center of Samaria”, formerly the College of Judea & Samaria – update

5. Christian Peacemakers’ Team report

6. More on FFIPP-UK Seminar “Antisemitism & Israel: Responding to Censorship – Freedom, Speech and Action”

Plus an Update on FFIPP-UK Books Project

Full details


1st July 2007

This newsletter contains information about:

1. The UCU resolution and forthcoming UCU action as a result of it.

2. Wider responses

3. The Norman Finkelstein affair

4. Arrest of Palestinian Minister of Education

5. Campus Antisemitism

6. Report on FFIPP-UK Seminar “Antisemitism & Israel: Responding to Censorship – Freedom, Speech and Action”

Full details


10th April 2007

This includes material on

1. The All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism in the UK

2. FFIPP-UK Seminar, “Responding to Censorship: Freedom, Speech and Action”, 14th May 2007

3. The Norman Finkelstein affair

4. Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions news

Full details


7th February 2007

This includes material on

1. FFIPP-initiated conference held in Ramallah in January

a) FFIPP report below

b) Uri Avnery’s report of the Conference Manara Square, Ramallah

2. “The bigger threat?: Is the fear of ‘extremism’ now posing a bigger threat to colleges and universities than extremism itself?”

Brenda Kirsch , co-editor of the University and College Union magazine, looks at the controversy.

3. US attacks on critics of Israel are on the rise and academics and intellectuals are increasingly targeted:

a) Muzzlewatch, a new blog “that tracks efforts to stifle open debate about US-Israeli foreign policy”

b) Shulamit Reinharz, “Fighting Jewish anti-Semitism”, Jewish Advocate, January 14 2007

c) Alvin H. Rosenfeld “Progressive” Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism”, American Jewish Committee

d) Patricia Cohen, “Essay Linking Liberal Jews and Anti-Semitism Sparks a Furor” New York Times, January 31, 2007

4. University and College Union (UCU) – Conference resolutions

Full details


11th January 2007

This includes material on

1. An appeal for financial help for the International Campaign for Residency Rights – URGENT

(see the 7th December FFIPP-UK newsletter for much more on the ICRR)

2. FFIPP-UK Books Project update – call for volunteers to help (and notice of a call for funds!)

3. Infringements of Palestinian Academic Freedom – the work of Gisha, the Center for the Legal Protection of Freedom of Movement

a) its access to education project

b) attack on the right to travel in the occupied territories

c) end of year message (and some good news!)

4. University and College Union (UCU) conference in May – there will almost inevitably be a boycott resolution.

We are concerned that any debate on this topic should not divert attention from other pressing issues of Palestinian academic freedom that the union should be asked to consider in their own right, such as:

a) Residency Rights

b) harassment of students going to university on the West Bank (from Gaza and elsewhere)

c) harassment of Palestinian academics traveling abroad

d) calling on the Israeli academic unions to support Palestinian academic freedom and to protest a)-c) above

e) calling on UCU to establish relations with, and facilitate the work of, those working to protect Palestinian academic freedom, in particular Gisha and the Right to Enter campaign.

5. The cultural boycott

Full details


7th December 2006

This includes material on

1. A report of a trip around Palestinian universities on the West Bank to set up a FFIPP-UK Books Project

2. Materials on the denial of residency rights to foreigners in Palestine and the devastating effect this is having on academic and professional work.

a) Appeal from the Presidents of ALL Palestinian Universities

b) The Right to Entry to the Occupied Palestinian Territory Issue Statement

c) Statement and proposed actions by the Israeli Committee for Right of Residency

d) Further reading

3. Latest FFIPP-International Newsletter – go to http://www.ffipp-uk.org and click on ‘Latest FFIPP-International Newsletter’ [or try http://www.ibrk.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/FFIPPI%20newsletters/Newsletter_Fall_Winter2006.pdf ]

4. Ronit Lentin on the Treatment of an Israeli Academic at Ben Gurion airport on her way to an academic conference

Full details

The mailing of 24th May 2006 contained the following items

1. Motion to be put to Natfhe conference on 29th May 2006

2. FFIPP-UK statement (on Guardian Education website, 25th May)

3. Letter from academics around Engage, Guardian 27th May

4. Letter from Pacbi supporters, Guardian 27th May

5. Pacbi mailing

6. Engage articles

Full details




The mailing of 15th June

1. Draws attention to the new FFIPP website [now transfered to this page and its links]

2. Contains a brief summary of and links to some of the contributions around the Natfhe boycott debate and the wider situation of Palestinian academics.

A: The Natfhe debate

a) The Natfhe emergency resolution on Palestine and the General Secretary’s report on Palestine

b) The actual boycott debate

(1) Benjamin Joffe-Walt’s Guardian report, Lecturers back boycott of Israeli academics, 30th May 2006

(2) Speech of General Secretary Paul Mackney against the motion

B: Reflections on the debate

a) Birzeit University Right to Education Campaign , The Boycott of Palestinian Education: Can the Anti-Boycotters Please Stand Up?

b) Brian Klug, Spare us the analogies, 30 May

c) John Pike A travesty of democracy, 1 June

d) Victoria Buch, On the Academic Boycott, Occupation Magazine, 3 June

C: Boycott the boycotters?

a) American Anti-Defamation League call for US academics to boycott British lecturers who boycott Israeli universities

b) David Hirsh has a categorical rejection of this call on the Engage website

D: A wider view

Matthew Taylor and Duncan Campbell, The great divide, Education Guardian 6 June

E: Related academic issues

a) Ha’aretz, news report on Shin Bet’s proposed degree at the Hebrew University

b) Johnathan Cook, Academic Boycott: Shin Bet training program highlights academic complicity with occupation, Electronic Intifada

c) Right 2 Education, An-Najah University denied educational equipment

F: The apartheid analogy

John Strawson, Zionism and Apartheid: The Analogy in the Politics of International Law

Full details


The Academic boycott debate in the UK, April-May 2005

In the last fortnight of April there was a flurry of activity around the resolutions on the call for an academic boycott of Israel at the AUT (Association of University Teachers) conference. Two resolutions were adopted, calling for boycotts of Bar Ilan and Haifa Universities. Many members of the AUT threatened to resign and a move was rapidly successful to get anough signatories to call for a Special Council meeting before the end of May. There was a continuing discussion around the issue right up that special council and beyond. At it, the decisions to boycott were revoked, though there was an affirmation of the need to ‘base its policy on providing practical solidarity to Palestinian and Israeli trade unionists and academics’. A couple of days later the other British trade union in the field, the Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (Natfhe) had its AGM. (The evolution of its position can be found in the final section of FFIPP-UK mailing no 6.)

The Guardian carried a lot of material in the build-up to the AUT Conference – news reports, editorial and op ed pieces and, on 19th April, three letters each signed by a large number of academics, including one from Faculty for Israeli Palestinian Peace (FFIPP-UK) which was signed by many JfJfP signatories. Some signatories signed an alternative letter (Alan Carling and others) published on the same day with yet a third letter signed by a range of other academics. Some of those involved with the second letter, who are against the occupation and against an academic boycott on principle, set up a website, ENGAGE to campaign for the rescinding of the boycott resolutions. There is much relevant material on this site.

For further correspondence in the Guardian see 20 April, 21 April, 23 April, 25 April. The continued discussion in May is less well documented here but is covered in the FFIPP-UK mailouts listed below. For a summary of the situation after the dust had settled see the Guardian report on 31 May 2005.

Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace – UK has circulated relevant materials to interested parties. Rather than list all the articles these mailings have included separately, you can see the original mailings at:

FFIPP-UK mailing 1 – 26 April
FFIPP-UK mailing 2 – 27 April
FFIPP-UK mailing 3 – 29 April
FFIPP-UK mailing 4 – 10 May
FFIPP-UK mailing 5 – 19 May
FFIPP-UK mailing 6 – 6 June

For specific articles on the topic dating from April see:
Blunt boycott, Guardian editorial, 20 April
To boldly go, Ilan Pappe, 20 April
The sins of the few, Etgar Keret, 20 April
Ignoring the log in your own eye, Frances Raday, 20 April
Plus (not in the Guardian)
The Meaning of Academic Boycott, Baruch Kimmerling

See also the large selection of articles for May included in the FFIPP-UK Mailings above.



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