The Good News and the Bad NewsThere's some positive news from the Presbyterian Church leadership - a recommendation from a group of eleven Presbyterian Church (USA) leaders who completed a five day fact finding mission to end its policy of divestment.
While adoption of the divestment policy in 2004 created an important focus on the struggle for achieving a solution to the Middle East conflict, it is now time to put aside this one-sided, negative and counter-productive policy that threatens to cause great harm to both Israel and the Palestinians while creating unnecessary polarization within our own denomination," stated NCLCI Executive Committee member Dr. John H. Cushman who is Pastor of the Presbyterian Church of the Roses in Santa Rosa, California.
The policy has not been universally popular within the US Presbyterian Church, to say the least.
Meanwhile, for the bad news.
In Britain, the advisory policy of the largest teaching union, the 69,000-member National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education, has voted to recommend a boycott of Israeli academics and institutions who don't adopt a far leftist stance on the Palestinian issue. And otherwise allow themselves, in effect, to be subject to suicide bombing and other terrorist tactics at will.
The largest university and college lecturers' union in Britain on Monday voted in favor of a motion recommending that its members boycott Israeli academics and institutions that do not publicly declare their opposition to Israeli policy in the territories.
"I have received literally thousands of emails seeking to 'educate' me on the foolishness of our stance in support of the rights of Palestinians," Paul Mackney, the secretary general of the union said at the association's annual national conference Saturday.
Educating the educators! Whoever heard of such nonsense.
"Many emails berate threats to deny academic freedom for Israeli professors but fail to mention that academic freedom in Palestine is a hollow joke. Even where staff and students are allowed freedom of movement to attend university, the material basis for a functioning academic life barely exists."
Mackney said that more Palestinians than Israelis have been killed since September 2000, the unemployment rate is higher among Palestinians and 185 Palestinian schools have been shelled or fired at, compared to one Israeli school.
"In the face of such injustice," he said, "Palestinian civil society, including the universities, needs support and solidarity as never before, and I will not be bullied into silence."
I guess he considers people expressing their opinion to him freely in email form to be "bullying."
The good news, at least, is that the British Government immediately expressed its regret at NATFHE's decision.