Update: Academic Union – Israeli boycotts revoked

UpdateAUT – Israeli boycotts revoked:

AUT’s special council … voted to revoke all existing boycotts of Israeli institutions.

AUT council has decided to base its policy on providing practical solidarity to Palestinian and Israeli trade unionists and academics, by agreeing a motion committing the union to having a full review of international policy, working alongside NATFHE and the TUC.

UK higher education has a long and proud tradition of defending academic freedom. The struggle to maintain academic freedom whenever it is under threat is one that AUT will always support and this principle will continue to guide our work.

Sally Hunt, AUT general secretary, said: ‘It is now time to build bridges between those with opposing views here in the UK and to commit to supporting trade unionists in Israel and Palestine working for peace.’

It’s unfortunate that the AUT only gets notoriety for stunts like this; maybe it should spend more time dealing with issues like contract research and low pay.

Of course, this forces us to confront the question of whether, in the post-Thatcher, post-Reagan era (albeit with a Labour government, at least in name), unions can — or even should — have any influence beyond the narrow confines of negotiating for their direct constituency (if that), whether they can promote social justice more broadly.