Today's post, however, is one of those which is easier to write, since it concerns a positive unintended consequence. Just as UCU was falling foul of our anti-discrimination laws and harming British academia on so many levels, it seems that some good was being brought about as a result of this farcical fiasco, after all:
As a result of the UCU boycott vote in May, requests from UK academics to work with Israeli academics have dramatically increased.
[hat tip: Solomonia]
This was obviously on the cards, given events previously observed in this blog (in the update to this post; see also Engage's coverage). Back in late October of last year, soon after the official boycott campaign (UCU Motion 30) was finally recognized by UCU as the racist and discriminatory campaign that it is, the press reported some damage-limitation on the part of British academia. Remember how, in
an effort to promote cooperation between Israel and the UK Universities, in the light of the defunct academic boycott, a delegation of senior British university heads visited Israel
Well, as this latest analysis suggests, it seems the visit's aims have now been answered, whether in result of research networks established during this trip; or otherwise - the boycott having caused individual academics to take their own initiative to counteract the damaging effects of the boycott campaign. Note that academic cooperation between Israel and the UK was described, even back then, as being very strong already, with a "high level collaboration" between these two sets of national academies. How perverse, yet somehow heartening, to think that the one concrete result of this bonkers boycott is the very opposite of what was intended: effectively to increase & strengthen precisely those ties the boycotters were seeking so belligerently to break through their damaging campaign.