Can you be proud on account of something done in which you played no part? Well, I'm proud of the students of Oxford, my old stamping ground. They've just voted, in a ratio of roughly 7 to 1, against boycotting Israel. There's a report by Jonny Paul here, and reaction from the Union of Jewish Students here.
At Essex University last week a lecture by Israel's deputy ambassador to this country had to be abandoned after disruption from protesting students of a boycotting cast of mind. The Vice Chancellor of the university yesterday circulated a message to all staff. It reads in part:
The Registrar and Secretary has formally notified me that the actions of some of our community went entirely beyond legitimate protest and led to the event being curtailed. In accordance with our procedures the Proctor... will commence an investigation into potential breaches of the University's Disciplinary Regulations and our Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech, and the Registrar and Secretary has requested the Students' Union considers whether any actions have breached the Union's Code of Conduct.
At the very heart of our values and what we stand for as an academic institution is that we are committed to academic freedom and freedom of expression within the law. Whatever the outcome of the investigations that now follow, as Vice-Chancellor, I want to re-affirm the University's commitment to these values. This is not just a matter of legal obligation, it is a matter of conviction.