London — Britain's largest union of college teachers said Friday that any boycott of Israeli universities would be illegal and cannot be implemented, following years of debate over whether to impose such a boycott.
The UCU, which represents around 120,000 employees, had been weighing whether to halt funding, visits and conferences with Israeli institutions. The union began debating a motion in May that accused Israeli scholars of being complicit in the 40-year occupation of the Palestinian territories, which it said had denied education to Palestinians.
The controversy has outraged Jewish groups, roiled Britain's academic community, and threatened to sour relations between Israel and Britain.
"Legal advice makes it clear that making a call to boycott Israeli institutions would run a serious risk of infringing discrimination legislation," Britain's University and College Union, or UCU, said in a statement.