Picture: Leon Lestrade / African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Cape Town – UCT’s Palestine Solidarity Forum (PSF) has described the university council’s decision to refer a resolution to adopt an academic boycott of Israel back to its senate as an important step in advancing the fight for Palestinian freedom.

UCT’s council on Saturday opted to send a motion to boycott Israeli academic institutions back to its senate.

The resolution was brought by UCT’s academic freedom committee and it was passed by the senate two weeks ago.

Council considered the resolution of the senate that “UCT will not enter into any formal relationships with Israeli academic institutions operating in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as well as other Israeli academic institutions enabling gross human rights violations”.

Council registrar and secretary Royston Pillay said the council did not adopt the resolution.

“It was the view of the council that a number of issues required clarification, including a full assessment of the sustainability impact of the senate resolution. Council resolved to refer the matter back to the senate,” Pillay said.

Council separately resolved to reaffirm its commitment to supporting the rights and freedom of all people as universally recognised under international law; condemn any acts that violate those rights and freedoms; and condemn rights violations perpetrated in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and elsewhere in the world.

Council resolved to call on all academics and academic institutions to support the resolution; reaffirm UCT’s commitment to academic freedom but reserve the right to dissociate itself from academic institutions that support (directly or indirectly) the violation of human rights and /or enable the violation of human rights.

In a statement, the PSF said this was a significant victory.

“It is very noteworthy that by council’s resolution we have lost nothing. We have only gained and advanced, not as much as we had hoped, but we have advanced nonetheless.

“It is an important step towards UCT adopting the academic boycott of Israel.”

There was a strong indication in council’s condemnation that UCT should dissociate itself from all Israeli universities operating in, and contributing to, the violation of human rights in the occupied territories, the PSF said.

“We do not understand the council’s logic of sending the decision back to senate when senate has already voted to sanction all Israeli universities operating in the occupied territories and all Israeli universities enabling the violation of human rights.”

Cape Times