The original Engage founding statement
Engage was set up in response to the Association of University Teacher’s decision to take steps towards an academic and cultural boycott of Israel
Engage opposes Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. We are in favour of the foundation of a Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel. We believe that Israel is not an illegitimate state. We are for reconciliation between Israeli Jews and Palestinians.
Engage wants to debate, inform and organise around three themes:
1 . Engage opposes the idea of an academic or cultural boycott of Israel.·
Israel is not ‘illegitimate’ in the sense that the white apartheid state in South Africa was. It is the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza that is illegitimate, and the discrimination against Palestinians that is illegitimate, not the existence of Israel.
· Engage opposes an academic and cultural boycott that treats Israeli Jewish thinkers, artists, teachers and musicians as though they were responsible for the sometimes brutal actions of the Israeli government.
· Engage opposes any kind of selective boycott that would impose some sort of political test on academics.
2 . Engage aims to encourage, facilitate and publicise positive links between Israeli, Palestinian, British and global academia. Engage is for closer engagement, not boycotts.
· Engage wants to bring together academics and cultural producers in solidarity against the occupation.
· Engage wants to encourage links between Israeli, Palestinian and UK academics and students.
3 . Engage stands up against antisemitism in our universities, in our unions and in our students unions.
Opposing the sometimes brutal actions of the Israeli government and army is not antisemitic. But sometimes anti-Zionism is antisemitic.
· Zionism is not racism. Zionism is Jewish nationalism and it is not fundamentally different from other forms of nationalism. Nationalism often leads to racism, but nationalism is not the same thing as racism.
The ‘Zionism=Racism’ (or Zionism=Apartheid) claim is problematic because it understands Jewish nationalism to be necessarily and incurably much worse than any other nationalism on the face of the earth.
· Why does AUT pick on Israel? Why does AUT not boycott Russian, Chinese, Sudanese, Saudi Arabian, North Korean, US, British academia? The only legitimate way of explaining the focus on Israel would be to claim that Israeli academia is the least free in the world, that the Israeli state is killing more people than any other state, that it is denying more human rights than any other state.
Given that none of these claims is remotely true, Engage believes that the choice to boycott Israeli Jews rather than anyone else in the world is effectively antisemitic, as the only academics boycotted because of the bad actions of their state are Jewish ones. This is true even if those arguing for a boycott do not feel that they are antisemities, do not feel a hatred of Jews, or do not intend to be antisemitic. This is even true if some of those proposing the boycott are themselves Jewish.
· Engage opposes the harassment of Jewish students and Jewish academics. Jews have as much right to be nationalist as anybody else. And Jewish nationalism has a plurality of traditions, some actively and consistently anti-racist, others shamefully racist and Islamophobic, most somewhere in between. Jews have the right to call themselves Zionist.
· Engage opposes Holocaust denial in all its forms. One current form of Holocaust denial that seems to be considered acceptable on our campuses is the identification of Israel’s occupation with the Holocaust.
The following people have asked to add their names to this statement. If you would also like to add your name, please email me at email@example.com.
Linda Grant, Writer
Alastair G Hunter, Senior Lecturer, Glasgow Univ., Pres. AUT Scotland
Danny Stone, UJS Campaigns Organiser (personal capacity)
Harry, Harry's Place
David T, Harry's Place
Jon Pike, Senior Lecturer, Open University
David Hirsh, Lecturer, Goldsmiths College
Tudor Parfitt, Professor, SOAS
Robert Fine, Professor, Warwick University
David Seymour, Lecturer, Lancaster University
Jonathan Freeman, Research Fellow, Goldsmiths College
Alan Johnson, Senior Lecturer, Edge Hill College of Higher Education
Dan Jones, Lecturer, Leeds University
David "Shuggy" Grant, Teacher, Hillhead High,
Philip Spencer, Lecturer, Kingston University, London
Denis MacEoin, former Lecturer in Arabic and Islamic Studies
Noam Flinker, Professor, University of Haifa
Arieh Iserles, Proessor, Cambridge University
Ruth Wodak, Professor, Lancaster University
Paul Kleiman, Senior Research Fellow, Lancaster University
David Heyd, Professor, The Hebrew University
Jeffrey Boss, Senior Lecturer (retired), Bristol University
Jan Schnupp, Lecturer, Oxford university
Leslie Sebba, Professor, Hebrew University
Sherman Dorn, University of South Florida
Richard Schwartz, NUJ member, formerly, Birkbeck College
Darian Brookes-Hefetz, Doctoral Researcher, Warwick University
Rachel Rich, Lecturer, Manchester University
Graeme Davies, Lecturer, University of Wales, Aberystwyth
James Vaughan, Lecturer, University of Wales, Aberystwyth
Dov Stekel, Lecturer, Birmingham University
Vetta Alexis, Associate Lecturer, Open University
John Strawson, Reader, University of East London
Fiona Fairweather, Head, School of Law, University of East London
Cris S Constantinescu, Professor, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham
Judy Woolfe, City University, London
Michael Freeden, Professor, Oxford University
John Palmer, The University of Western Ontario
Bernard Maro, Directeur de recherche CNRS, Université Paris 6
Pierre-André Taguieff, Directeur de Recherche CNRS (Paris)
Jean-Gabriel Ganascia, Professor, Université Paris 6
Yankel Fijalkow, Université Paris 7
Liliane Kandel, Université Paris 7, Paris
John Palmer, University of Western Ontario
Judith Suissa, Fellow, Institute of Education, University of London
Yaacov Schul, Psychology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
Benjamin D.Singer, Professor Emeritus, University of Western Ontario
Eva Frojmovic, Lecturer, University of Leeds
Paul Frosh, Lecturer, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
Raya Khanin, Research Fellow, Univesity of Glasgow
Daniel Alon Lowe, Pembroke College, Oxford University
W.R. Telford, Senior Lecturer, Newcastle University
Ron Dudai, Research Fellow, SOAS, University of London
Valerie Mainz, Lecturer, Leeds University
Nina Collins, Lecturer Leeds University
William R Howard, Researcher, University of Tasmania
Bencie Woll, Professor, City University, London
Gerry Matthews, Professor, University of Cincinnati
Katelyn Yael McKenna, Assistant Professor, New York University
Graham Curtis, Head of Modular Programmes, University of East London
Jonathan Berg, Chair of Philosophy, Haifa University
Josh Cohen, Senior Lecturer, Goldsmiths College, University of London
Jeanne Katz, Senior Lecturer, Open University
Gerald M. Berg, Professor and Chair, History, Sweet Briar College
Theodore Hong, Research Associate, Cambridge University
Jeff Weintraub, Visiting Lecturer, University of Pennsylvania
Joe Lockard, Assistant Professor, Arizona State University
Yuti Chernajovsky, Professor, Barts & QM School of Medicine
Wlodzimierz Tych, Lecturer, Lancaster University
Dan Weinbren, Faculty Administrator, Open University
Alice Bloch, Lecturer, City University, London
Bob Owens, Professor, The Open University
Derek S. Pugh, Professor, Open University Business School
Derek Meyer, Senior Lecturer, University of Westminster
David Wallach, Professor, The Weizmann Institute, Rehovot
Svetlana McMillin, Lecturer, UCL/SSEES, University of London
Arnold McMillin, Professor, UCL/SSEES, University of London
Helen Beer, Hebrew and Jewish Studies, UCL
Steve Shnyder, Institute of Cancer Therapeutics, University of Bradford
Mike Valencia, Retired Lecturer, Stirling University
Heather Valencia, Retired Lecturer, Stirling University
Oded Manor, Principal Lecturer, Middlesex University (retired)
Jonathan Hoffman, Economist
Mira Vogel, AUT member, Goldsmiths College
Carol Wilson, Media Innovations Ltd, University of Leeds
Marice Cumber, University of the Arts, London
Ian Sternberg, GMB member, Oxford
Ilan Baron, Research Student, University of Wales, Aberystwyth
Joshua Cherniss, Graduate student, Balliol College, Oxford
Zara Zandieh, MA student, University of East London
Elizabeth Marcus, Student, Oxford University
Alexander Halban, Student, Oxford University
Ilana Levene, Student, Oxford University
Adam Kraus, Student, Oxford University
Rebecca Marcus, Med Student, Manchester University
Mike Brennan, University of Warwick
Brian Goldfarb, former Principal Lecturer, De Montfort University, Leicester
Gideon Querido van Frank, Queer Shabbaton Amsterdam
Leora Garton, student, University of Durham
Colin Meade, Visiting Lecturer, London Metropolitan University
Chad Alan Goldberg, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin
Evan Matthew Daniel, Archivist, Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University [personal capacity]
Benz Kotzen, Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture and Landscape, University of Greenwich
Alan Dangour, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Charlotte S. Wollheim
To contact Engage