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UK Muslims Call For Widening of Academic Boycott Against Israel

Tehran Times (Tehran)
13 July 2002


LONDON -- Muslim leaders in the UK Friday called for an extension of the international academic boycott of Israel to economic fields amid attempts in the British media to discredit the campaign, IRNA reported.

The campaign to boycott academics is a "clear message to Israel that it is committing moral outrage," Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain Iqbal Sacranie said.

"A regime armed with F-16s that it deploys against civilians is unlikely to be immediately swayed by such a campaign, however, if apartheid ended, so can the occupation -- but international pressure will have to be just as determined," he said.

Two Israelis, working for Manchester University, have already been reportedly dismissed from their posts in Tel Aviv as part of the boycott of research and cultural ties, which has been publicly backed by some 700 European academics.

The dismissals have led to accusation in the British press this week that the campaign is "anti-Semitic" or "racist" by singling out Israelis.

But in a letter to the Guardian on behalf of eight Muslims, Palestinian and human rights organizations, Sacranie repeated their support for the boycott campaign and urged for it to be extended to economic fields.

"In the absence of government taking decisive action to condemn the Israeli illegal occupation, the ONUS has shifted to civil society," he said.

"Additionally, emulating the strategy for dealing with apartheid South Africa, we call on academic communities in the UK to advocate a more general policy of divestment of British academic, financial and commercial investment from Israel," his letter said.