Delegates at the annual meeting of Britain's main faculty union on Wednesday voted to circulate to members and divisions a resolution calling for an academic boycott of Israel. While the vote was accompanied by statements from union leaders encouraging the delegates to drop the boycott issue, the pro-boycott could hurt relations between professors' groups in Britain and the United States.
Previous votes by British faculty unions have led American academic groups to take the rare step of rebuking professorial colleagues in another democratic country. Many American faculty unions and scholarly groups, while holding a range of views on Israel and the Middle East, have strongly argued against academic boycotts of any type, saying that they impede the free flow of ideas and that they end up punishing scholars, including the many Israeli professors who are at the forefront of the movement for Palestinian rights.
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