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University Will Not Be Silent in Face of UK Boycott

The University has determined not to remain silent in face of the boycott against the University adopted by Britain’s Association of University Teachers (AUT) in April. (See President’s Focus column.)

The AUT boycott resolution falsely charges the University with violations of academic freedom, states Prof. Ada Spitzer, Vice President for External Relations and Resource Development. The British union also voted to boycott Bar-Ilan University on other grounds. Many see the resolution against the two Israeli institutions as a watered-down version of the AUT’s attempt in 2003 to severe ties with all Israeli academic institutions.

The University Management has initiated a series of steps to combat the boycott. These activities are being coordinated by Professor Spitzer, and monitored by Prof. Ron Robin. Major steps included:
*set up a rapid response team to offer immediate responses to various media outlets and internet sites abroad, as well as in Israel;
*developed a mini-website (accessible from the University’s homepage) that includes a wealth of information on the boycott, the University’s supporters, and adversaries;
*offering affiliate professorships to leading academic figures who have chosen to protest the boycott by becoming honorary members of the University’s academic staff (this step under the direct responsibility of the Rector).
*sent two faculty members to the UK to explain its position to AUT representatives;
* initiated a fundraising operation in conjunction with the American Jewish Congress and other organizations in both the United Kingdom and the United States;
*contacted a well-known British attorney, Anthony Julius, to address legal issues.
Anthony Julius, who is an expert in libel laws, has offered to defend the University's good name. As a strategic adviser and junior counsel to the historian Deborah Lipstadt, he was instrumental in convincing a British court that David Irving was, indeed, a Holocaust denier. Among other public cases, he represented the late Princess Diana in her divorce.

A letter drafted by Mr. Julius warns the British academic trade union that it may face a libel suit. The letter states that “the AUT has, both by the assistance it gave to the resolution’s sponsors and by its publication of the [boycott] resolution on its website, defamed the University of Haifa. Our client is entitled to seek damages, a retraction, and an undertaking against further publication of the defamation. It reserves its position in this regard.”
In response to a petition brought by members who oppose the action, the AUT was to reconsider its boycott stance in an extraordinary meeting on May 26.


In This Issue:

President’s Focus - Battling Unjust Resolutions

Prof. Azy Barak’s SAHAR Offers a Vital Virtual Shoulder to Those with Nowhere Else to Turn

University Joins War on Drugs,
Campaign Is Integral to Interdisciplinary Clinical Center’s Service

Kidma Project Helps Students Face Their Identities

University Will Not Be Silent in Face of UK Boycott

Anat Liberman Is New External Relations Head

Prof. Majid Al-Haj to Be New Dean of Research

Prof. Sophia Menache – New Dean of Graduate Studies

Prof. Menachem Mor—Dean of Humanities

Virtual Open House Proves a Big Hit

Students Have an Address for Complaints: Professor Schatzker, Their Ombudsman

Computer Science and Occupational Therapy Team Up for Virtual Reality Conference
Student Develops Innovative Technology to Deal with Post-Traumatic Stress

Giora Lehavi: His Job Is to Check on Quality Management, and Other Standards

University’s Sports Teams Prove a Winner in More Ways than One

Student Publishes His Road to Wisdom

Honors and Awards

Mother and Son—in utero—Studied Hebrew at University’s Summer Ulpan

University’s China Connection Continues

Unique Algorithm Enables Better Mobile Wireless Communication




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