Oxford dons have increased the pressure on the national university lecturers' union to abandon its support for a boycott of Israel.

The University and College Union provoked international outrage last month after delegates at its annual conference voted to back calls for a boycott of Israeli universities in protest at the treatment of Palestinians.

But UCU members at Oxford have now voted overwhelmingly to oppose the idea of a boycott.

In a ballot of Oxford UCU lecturers, to which 30 per cent responded, 95 per cent of votes were against using academic boycotts "in all but the most extreme of circumstances".

And 96 per cent thought that all the union's members should be balloted nationally before any such boycott is mounted.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "I have said before that I do not think the majority of UCU members support a boycott or believe it should be a priority for the union.

"I have also stated that I believe the best way to test this view is in a full membership ballot.

"The most positive way forward is for all sides of the debate to give a similar commitment."

At the union's annual congress last month, delegates passed a motion urging lecturers to consider their consciences and consider boycotting Israeli institutions.

The boycott could include a refusal to write articles for academic journals published by Israeli universities and a ban on British academics travelling to Israel for conferences. Writers, academics and politicians in the UK and overseas have condemned the boycott.