...oh, this is gonna be a laugh and a half. I'll just get to flame-proofing my hard drive then.
...hey look! Wildflowers! Here's a story about wildflowers! Don't we all want to save the wildflowers?
...no? Oh, all right, here goes. You nature-hater. Innocent little wildflowers who never did anything to you.
In case one isn't aware, the United States is pretty much the only external supporter of Israel. Back in November, when the United Nations voted to grant Palestine observer status, the vote was 138-9. That's closer than the usual margin, as Canada, Panama and the Czech Republic joined the usual contingent of Israel, the United States, and a smattering of Pacific micronations (in this case the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau). That's not a statement as to my opinion regarding the whole Israeli/Palestinian affair; simply a statement of the numbers. This is so the surprise is deadened a bit when I tell you that the Teachers Union of Ireland voted unanimously on Thursday to instigate an academic boycott of the Israeli academic community. They've compared the action- and Israel's policies toward Palestine- to those surrounding South Africa's apartheid years and are acting as such.
They're not the first nation to do this, though they are the second. While it's been considered and dropped in colleges in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, also citing South Africa, the first nation to actually see an academic boycott of Israel has been... South Africa. Specifically, it was kicked off in 2010 when the University of Johannesburg voted to boycott Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba; other colleges around South Africa followed suit later against Ben-Gurion and other Israeli institutions.
Two isn't really likely to do much- boycotts work best in numbers- but it does make it easier for other nations to do likewise later. It's tougher to be the first nation to take a stand, whatever it is, than it is to be the 61st.