Delegates at the first conference of the new University and College Union in Bournemouth voted by 158 to 99 Wednesday for "a comprehensive and consistent boycott" of all Israeli academic institutions. A boycott might involve refusing to work with journals published by Israeli companies or collaborate on research contracts with Israeli academics. But Sally Hunt, the general secretary of the union, said: "I do not believe a boycott is supported by a majority of [120,000] UCU members, nor do I believe that members see it as a priority for the union." The boycott was also opposed by the education minister, Bill Rammell, who said: "The UK government fully supports academic freedom and is firmly against any academic boycotts of Israel or Israeli academics."See also Jewish Leaders Condemn British Academic Union Vote to Support Hamas and to Boycott Israeli Universities:
Harold Tanner, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, have condemned the British University and College Union resolutions that support campaigns to boycott Israeli academic institutions and to provide unconditional financial aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority: "These obscene resolutions have all the faults that academics normally deplore in their profession: a superficial and flawed understanding of the subject, clear bias, and antagonism to the open exchange of ideas. Their call for unconditional financial support for the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, which continues to terrorize Israeli civilians and calls for Israel's destruction, demonstrates that the sympathies of the majority of the union's representatives lie with a terrorist group rather than the victims of terror....The resolution asserts that boycotting Israeli academic institutions is not anti-Semitic, but singling out, demonizing, and delegitimizing the Jewish state, as the resolution does, is by definition just that."