13 Avenue Victoria

B-1000 Brussels






José Manuel Barroso,

President of the European Commission



Dear President,


I wish to draw your attention on the vote by the University College Union (UCU) of the United Kingdom of a motion calling for the reintroduction of the boycott of Israeli academia (text attached).


In the immediate aftermath the following motion was passed by the Board of Governors of Ben Gurion University of the Negev, underlining UCU’s blatant violation of the Statutes of the International Council of Sciences. It reads as follows:


 “The Board of Governors condemns in the strongest terms the attempts to boycott Israeli institutions of higher education which is counter to Statute 5 of the International Council of Science that states:  “ ‘…freedom of association and expression, access to data and information, and freedom of communication and movement in connection with international scientific activities without discrimination on the basis of such factors as citizenship, religion, creed, political stance, ethnic origin, race, colour, language, age or sex.’ ”


I strongly believe that UCU’s action needs to be unequivocally and rapidly condemned at the highest level of the European Union.  Considerable amounts of the European budgetary funds finance collaborative undertakings with the higher education system in Great Britain including participation in the Erasmus program as well as sharing the costs of research in which many British universities are involved. It would seem, under the circumstances, that the position taken by the UCU is totally incompatible with the EU Financial Regulation covering the basic conditions for disbursing further Community funds.


I would hope that an unbending stance by the EU would rapidly lead to the repeal of the incriminated motion and that normal academic relations can again be pursued in all serenity.


Yours sincerely,


Paul N. Goldschmidt

Director European Community, (ret.)


Brussels, 29th May 2008


Attachments: UCU motion and related documents.








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