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ADL´s boss threatens boycott of UK academe (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Yair Sheleg 05/18/05)Source: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/577270.html HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
The Anti-Defamation League is considering launching a counter academic boycott against British academia if Britain´s Association of Union Teachers (AUT) fails to cancel its boycott of Bar-Ilan and Haifa universities, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman told Haaretz.

Such a counter boycott would not be restricted to Jews. "We would approach all the leading universities in the United States, and say to them: ´If you believe in academic freedom and freedom of expression, don´t accept the British boycott,´" said Foxman.

Foxman emphasized that he would not be launching the counter boycott initiative immediately.

"We need to give the good and decent people who believe in real academic freedom some time to see whether they can change this themselves," he said. "I believe this decision is reversible, because many good people in Britain itself were as shocked as we were by the boycott decision."

In response to a demand by some of its members, the AUT will convene a special gathering next week in which the boycott decision will be discussed anew.

Local AUT branches at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Warwick have already announced their objection to the boycott.

Nonetheless, Foxman said that "if the British do not amend their decision themselves, and if we find that reasoning and explaining are to no avail, we will consider a counter-boycott initiative, so as to give them a taste of the boycott too. Our organization, and I personally, are traditionally opposed to boycotts of every kind, but there are situations in which you have to respond to boycotters in kind."

In a separate development, Foxman leveled criticism at Israel´s government and banks for the delay in restoring reparations to the heirs of Holocaust victims who held bank accounts and property in Israel.

"Israel should have been the leader in the area of restoring property, not dragging along behind Switzerland and the other European countries," Foxman said. "How can we ask the world for a certain approach to Jewish property when we don´t act in the same manner? It´s unthinkable that Holocaust survivors in Israel should have to demonstrate to demand justice."

Foxman, himself a Holocaust child survivor who was opposed from the start to the World Jewish Congress campaign on property restoration, says that "in this struggle we paid a steep price for a fairly low return, because the moment the governments and companies in Europe paid out the checks, they felt the accounts were closed. History will yet judge this struggle, but the moment it began, it´s not possible for Israel not to fulfill what it demands itself - particularly since Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was himself, when he was prime minister, a partner to this campaign." (© Copyright 2005 Haaretz. 05/18/05)

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