Can’t see for looking

I’d just like to highlight something that Comrade Charlie raised in his post about the ludicrous and unworkable proposals to boycott Israeli academics.

The issue is that Jews in UCU now appear to face a ‘loyalty test’ – they are only accepted if they denounce Israel, just a section of the far left supports Muslims but only those Muslims who agree with that part of the far left.

Charlie illustrated a point about loyalty tests by quoting from the late antifascist Steve Cohen. The whole thing is here but I am quoting one paragraph because the point it makes is so often ignored on both sides of the boycott debate, despite so much verbiage.

The NATFHE resolution refers to be boycotts of individuals and institutions – with the loyalty test applying to both. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) has said in support of the boycott ‘no Israeli academic body or institution has ever taken a public stand against the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.’. This I am sure is true. But it is equally true that in the UK no academic body has taken a stand against the institutionalised racism of immigration control – which creates at least a quasi apartheid in the UK and which renders legality of employment in colleges (as elsewhere) as well as level of student fees dependent upon immigration status. Why does not NATFHE campaign for a boycott (not a loyalty test) against UK college institutions for compliance with such racism? In reality NATFHE has for years been accepting the loyalty test set by UK colleges and universities –’Are you or have you ever been of full immigration status?’. It would be interesting to know if NATFHE as an employer demeans itself by complying with immigration legislation (legislation which incidentally would prevent it employing Palestinian asylum seekers fleeing Israeli repression). Perhaps NATFHE should start boycotting itself.

There’s a real apartheid out there worth fighting.



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