170 people came along this evening to the occupied Arts A2 to hear and discuss different perspectives on the question of the boycott of Israel:
Lee Vernon of Socialist Students spoke against a blanket boycott of Israeli goods on the grounds that it would affect the working class and increase a siege mentality, calling for an active condemnatory working class movement.
Alana Lentin of the Sociology department spoke for a consumer boycott, arguing that this is something called for by Palestinans and Israeli radicals and drawing attention to the way in which an economic boycott, although largely symbolic, would enable engagement with ordinary people who would not otherwise be politicised by the situation.
Dr. Paul Oestreicher, speaking for Jews for Justice for Palestinians, called for a partial boycott of targeting the import of arms. Boycott as an instrument in the hands of all people that really want to help the Palestinian people.
Dr. Paul Oestreicher, speaking for Jews for Justice for Palestinians, called for a partial boycott targeting the import of arms intially followed by a gradual boycott targeting other areas that enable the military to function. He spoke in opposition to an academic boycott, expressing the view that the exchange of music, knowledge, culture and humanity is desperately needed by Israel in order not to be isolated from the world.
Tom Hickey, national executive of UCU, spoke in favour of an academic boycott of Israel stating that inaction against those institutions complicit in the occupation of Palestine is to become complicit in this crime ourselves. He made the points that an academic boycott targets institutions not individuals, and "constitutes a dagger threat that goes straight to the heart of the Israeli state" stating that "when you have that kind of pressure it is grossly irresponsible not to use it in these circumstances."
Another speaker session is scheduled for tomorrow at 6pm.