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Engage is an anti-racist organisation which publishes materials in opposition to antisemitism, primarily in UK academic institutions. The group is made up of left-wing academics who oppose boycotts of Israel. The organisation describes its mission as follows: "Engage challenges left and liberal antisemitism in the labour movement, in our universities and in public life more generally. Antisemitism here, manifests itself mainly as anti-Zionism. We are a resource for the monitoring and the critique of left and liberal antisemitism." Engage was originally founded in response to the decision of the Association of University Teachers to participate in an academic and cultural boycott of Israel.
The founders of Engage are David Hirsh, who teaches at Goldsmiths College at the University of London, and Jon Pike, who teaches at the Open University. Hirsh had previously written about left and liberal antisemitism for the Guardian Unlimited blog. Well-known supporters have included the late academic and blogger Norman Geras.
According to its founding statement, the organisation
- opposes Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Engage is in favour of the foundation of a Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel.
- opposes the idea of an academic or cultural boycott of Israel.
- aims to encourage, facilitate and publicise positive links between Israeli, Palestinian, British and global academia.
- stands up against antisemitism in universities, in unions and in students unions. In Engage's opinion, opposing the sometimes brutal actions of the Israeli government and army is not antisemitic, but certain expressions of criticism of Israel constitute antisemitism.
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