Members passed the following motions at today’s extraordinary general meeting. The meeting was called to discuss motions on Palestine and Israel, after a late motion couldn’t be heard at the annual general meeting, and to discuss donations to branches on strike.
Leeds University UCU branch offers its solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle to defend their homes and lives. The branch supports events and initiatives in solidarity with the people of Palestine.
Motion 2 passed as amended:
- That as national policy, ‘UCU supports the Friends of Bir Zeit University and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’ (https://ucu.org.uk/internationalsolidarity#ispal) and also supports Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS): https://bdsmovement.net/news/ucu-passes-important-bds-resolution
- That violence in Israel-Palestine has complex origins. It is partly to be seen against the backdrop of European genocide of Jewish people and European colonial policies of the twentieth century.
- That support for Palestinian rights is not to be confused with antisemitism, and that Palestine Solidarity Campaign and other pro-Palestine groups are explicit that they oppose antisemitism alongside all other forms of racism.
The branch believes:
- That UCU’s national policy is appropriate in view of
- the deprivation of people in the Occupied Palestinian Territories of their human rights
- The fact that the Israeli state has almost total control over the Palestinians of the Occupied Territories, imposing what both Human Rights Watch and Israel’s largest human rights organisation, B’Tselem have described as an ‘apartheid regime’
- the need for the implementation of Palestinian human rights to make peace, justice, and reconciliation achievable in the region
- That we must communicate our solidarity with Palestine in ways that neither court anti-Semitism in intent nor in how it our statements are likely to be interpreted by good-faith readers, as part of our general commitment to anti-racism.
- That one strategy of people who oppose Palestinian human rights has been to portray solidarity for Palestine and/or criticism of the Israeli state as generally anti-Semitic; that this strategy has proved effective in dampening explicit solidarity with Palestine; and that to be politically effective, our expressions of support for Palestine must expose and explicitly challenge this strategy.
The branch moves:
- To reiterate its solidarity with Palestinian people at the present time with the following statement, which stands as an example of expression of our views. We stand in solidarity with Palestinian people facing oppression both within and outside Palestine. We express our distress at the recent violence in both Gaza and Israel, and especially express our sympathies to all those of our colleagues and students who have been affected by it. We recognise the complex origins of this violence and that it is partly to be seen against the backdrop of European genocide of Jewish people and European colonial policies of the twentieth century. We also recognise the disparities of power in the present situation, however, and stand in solidarity with Palestinians facing both slow and imminent violence by the Israeli state, which is both curtailing the rights of its Palestinian citizens and systematically depriving people in Palestine of their human rights through illegal actions. Without implementation of Palestinian human rights, the tragic and shameful cycle of violence, loss of life and limb, and impact to livelihoods now and in the future will continue, making peace, justice and reconciliation unachievable in the region.
- To implement at the University of Leeds UCU national policy in support of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, and in line with other universities such as Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University, to seek to establish a joint University-UCU anti-apartheid committee to work together to progress the disinvestment talks with management.
Leeds UCU notes:
- Israel’s largest and most influential Human Rights group B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch have both recently published reports defining Israel as an apartheid regime.
- University of Leeds has investments in HSBC, Booking.com and Barclay’s in addition to institutional links with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and IDC Herzliya.
- UCU policy opposes such investments and links with Israel.
- The Leeds University Palestine Solidarity Group has authored an open letter to the VC calling for divestment (http://newaoc.com/leedsu). The letter has got so far more than 180 signatures from staff members, students, alumni and 10 LUU student societies.
- The Leeds UCU Committee has signed the above Open Letter.
Leeds UCU believes:
- The University of Leeds is complicit in the oppression of the Palestinian people and the continuation of Israeli apartheid by investing in HSBC, Booking.com and Barclay’s in addition to maintaining institutional links with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and IDC Herzliya.
- The University should release a statement in support of its Palestinian students and staff members.
- Whilst the University must protect all staff and students against racism including Islamophobia and antisemitism, it should also protect staff and students from unfounded accusations of antisemitism for speaking up for Palestinian human rights.
Leeds UCU resolves to:
- Sign the Open Letter to the VC.
- Release a public statement in solidarity with the Palestinians and in support of the Open Letter and its demands.
Motion 4 – Donation to branches striking over redundancies
This branch agrees to:
- donate £400 to the Liverpool UCU strike fund
- donate £400 to the Leicester UCU strike fund
(Note that the donations agreed by the general meeting are in addition to £100 donations to each branch agreed by the committee.)
This page was last updated on 5 July 2021