Jewish groups are alarmed by news that the union representing Britain's university tutors will discuss a boycott of Israeli universities at its annual meeting this week.
If passed, the motion would compel members of the Association of University Teachers (AUT) not to visit Bar-Ilan, Hebrew and Haifa universities, until they 'call a halt to all attempts to confiscate land from Palestinian families' and sever links with a 'college located in an illegal settlement in the Occupied Territories'.
Jewish groups say that the motion exposes anti-Israeli bias within the AUT and warn that the action threatens to further inflame tensions at a time when fears of anti-semitism on Britain's campuses are on the increase.
'When you start having this sort of thing you create a culture among academia that makes it acceptable to pick on one side or another,' Danny Stone, campaigns director for the Union of Jewish Students, said. 'It's not what academia should be about.'
The AUT defended its position. 'It's fair to say we've received some heavy email traffic of an intemperate nature about this,' said head of David Nicholson. 'But members are free to raise whatever issues they want for debate and showing solidarity with people in Palestine is something some members feel is extremely important.'
Earlier this month allegations of anti-semitism on Britain's campuses spilled over into a public row within the National Union of Students.
'We raised our concerns at conference, but the national executive committee ignored us,' said Luciana Berger, the anti-racism co-ordinator of the NUS, who resigned last week claiming that the union did not take anti-semitism seriously. 'In the past when we've encountered anti-semitism we've had the support of the NUS, but not any more. At the Holocaust Memorial Day, Tony Blair spoke about the dangers of people turning a blind eye. The passive acceptance of what is happening takes us back to Thirties Germany.'
The NUS has banned its members from talking to the media. Instead, the union refers journalists to a press release stating that: 'We are proud of our record in tackling racism, fascism and anti-semitism wherever it occurs and have undertaken excellent work this year in promoting inter-faith dialogue on campuses.'
But Berger insists that the union has failed to provide an adequate response to concerns about allegations of anti-semitic activity on Britain's campuses, chiefly at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London.
During the school's Islamic awareness week in February, a video of Promise of Heaven, which describes Jews as 'having no values or ethics', was shown on continuous loop. An article in the SOAS magazine, Spirit, backed terrorism against Israelis. 'Those who benefit from the immoral actions of a colonial state in which they have chosen to reside cannot be considered as innocent,' it stated.
Jewish groups point out that last December the university played host to a conference entitled 'Resisting Israeli Apartheid', while Gilad Atzmon, a pro-Palestine advocate, gave a talk to students this month, arguing: 'I'm not going to say whether it is right or not to burn down a synagogue, I can see that it is a rational act.'
SOAS denies suggestions there is a culture of anti-semitism on its campus and says it is 'proud of its long tradition of vigorous debate, tolerance and openness'.