Israel students to Irish teachers’ union: Don’t boycott us

Two 17 year old Israeli students have recently toured Northern Ireland on behalf of Northern Ireland Friends of Israel where they have highlighted the problems created by the Teachers Union of Ireland call for a boycott of the Jewish state.  According to an article in the Belfast Telegraph, “The union called for a cessation of all cultural and academic collaboration between Israel and Ireland, including student exchanges.”

Steven Jaffe of NIFI was quoted as saying that “the call was a bid to ban any cultural exchanges between the two countries, irrespective of the politics of the individuals involved.”  The two students reportedly “said they could not understand the move by the teaching union.”

According to a report in the Jewish Chronicle, one of the students said “The TUI has crossed the line by trying to boycott schools. It’s stupid of them. We need dialogue and this has been the best way to achieve it.”

A NIFI spokesman is quoted as saying: “The TUI move flies in the face of our own experience of peace-building in Northern Ireland. But the reaction to the boycott call has been a near unanimous resolve to engage with young people in the cause of peace.”