[This post is in the joint names of Eve Garrard and Norman Geras.]
Jon Pike has resigned from the National Executive of the academics' union (the UCU). His reasons for resigning include the executive's obsession with Israel, countenancing boycott motions against it which are probably illegal to enact; its refusal to take this issue to a ballot of the membership, even though (and quite possibly because) all the evidence suggests that the membership would overwhelmingly reject a boycott; its determination to withhold the content of expensive legal advice about boycott resolutions both from elected representatives and from the membership whose subscriptions paid for the advice; its indifference to concerns about institutional anti-Semitism and the deployment of anti-Semitic tropes among union activists; its complacency about the leaching away of its Jewish membership by resignations from an organization which has created so chilling an atmosphere for those who support the existence of a Jewish state; its incompetence at providing a democratic basis for industrial action in defence of jobs; its erosion of the values of anti-racism and academic freedom.
The existence of this state of affairs in the UCU is very bad news, particularly for Jews and others in higher education who think that a Jewish right of self-determination isn't illegitimate, and who want to belong to a democratic union which helps to protect their jobs and working conditions. Jon's presence on the executive council meant that there was a courageous voice trying to bring the union to an understanding of what it was doing, and how ruinous for union values, and for the membership, its trajectory was and is. That voice is now gone from the NEC, which is even more than before given over to the pernicious ideology of the SWP and its sympathizers, who are utterly unrepresentative of the Union membership and of academics more broadly.
Honour to Jon, who has fought with great resilience and intelligence for the preservation of democracy, academic freedom and anti-racism in the union; dismay and a sense of chill for academics - Jewish and others - who share those values; yet deeper discredit for the union itself, whose overwhelming and febrile obsessions about Israel and 'Zionists' may now be irremediable. (Eve Garrard and Norman Geras)