* Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions: "Yes, but...": click here!

* Artists for Palestine UK: Reasons not to boycott?: click here!

* BRICUP: Why Boycott Israeli Universities? (pdf): click here!

* US Campaign for the Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel (USACBI): FAQ: click here!

* Israel Palestine - les instruments pour argumenter (version interactive) - 2 septembre 2011: click here!

* PACBI Guidelines for the International Academic Boycott of Israel (Rev. July 2014): click here!

* PACBI Guidelines for the International Cultural Boycott of Israel (Rev. July 2014): click here!

* Ben WHITE: "Dialogue vs. BDS? Responding to arguments against an academic boycott of Israel" (MEMo, Nov 6, 2015): click here!


0. On BDS in general (copied from USACBI):
0.1. What is a boycott?
0.2. Under what circumstances should a boycott be used?
0.3. Can a boycott by citizens against a whole nation really be effective?
1. Boycotting Israel
1.1. Why boycott Israel?
1.2. Pourquoi boycotter Israël? (et non pas p.ex. le Soudan?)
1.3. Why should Israel academically and culturally be boycotted?
1.4. In lieu of the divisiveness of a boycott, shouldn't we rather encourage dialogue and cultural engagement, i.e. build cultural bridges?

2. The Palestinians and Palestine
2.1. The Palestinians: with how many?
2.2. What is the Nakba?
2.3. In what way is Palestine partitioned since Oslo?
2.4. Quoi avec le morcellement de la Cisjordanie par les barrages (checkpoints)?
3. Copied from the Anthropologists' website:
3.1. "Yes I oppose Israel’s actions but I don’t want to boycott individual Israeli scholars".
3.2. "Yes I oppose Israel’s actions, but cannot in principle boycott academic institutions".
3.3. "Yes I oppose Israel’s actions, but a boycott would undermine attempts to change Israeli society from within because many Israeli scholars are critics of the state’s actions".
3.4. "Yes I oppose Israel’s actions, but this boycott is unbalanced since both sides have done wrong".
3.5. "Yes I oppose Israel’s actions, but boycotts violate academic freedom."
4. "Oui je m'oppose à la politique palestinienne d'Israël mais je ne veux boycotter ni les artistes israéliens ni leurs oeuvres."

5. Copied from the website of USACBI:
5.1. Why boycott Israel?
5.2. Isn’t a boycott of Israel discriminatory and even anti-semitic?
5.3. "Why don’t we take direct action against the Israeli government since the government — and not Israel’s academic establishment — is responsible for serious wrongs committed against the Palestinians?"
6. Do PACBI's Guidelines require that inviting an Israeli scholar is made conditional on his/her denouncing the occupation?

7. Is it feasible or sensible working together with an individual scholar while boycotting his institution?

8. Isn't the boycott of an institution necessarily limiting the academic freedom of its individual scholar(s)?

9. This so-called complicity of Israeli universities and research centers, is it more than a political slogan?

10.1. In what way is it true that Palestinian Israelis are discriminated against?
10.1.1. Summary.
10.1.2. Source: Adalah – The legal center for Arab minority rights in Israel.
10.2. What about the academic freedom and actual educational opportunities of the Palestinian citizens of Israel?

11. In what way is it permitted to call Israel a racist state?

12. Is it correct to call Israel a colonialist state?

13. Can Israel's rule over Palestinians be qualified as apartheid?

14. Isn’t Israel quite different from South Africa?

15. Que faire de l'opinion négative de Chomsky à l'égard d'un boycott d'Israël?

16. Des artistes et académiques israéliens étant presque les seuls voix critiques ou modérées qui nous restent à l'intérieur d'Israël, ne risquons-nous pas de nous les aliéner par le boycott académique et culturel?

PS 1: Lawrence Davidson, "Why The Academic Boycott Is Necessary": on this site.

0. On BDS in general:

0.1. What is a boycott?
In abstract terms: the essence of a boycott is the shared decision, by those who if acting individually would have no power, to provide a compelling moral or practical argument against the continuation of deplorable practices. They mutually commit to withhold from engaging in certain activities that provide support to the perpetrator of the targeted practices. It is of the essence that the boycotter also loses, which gives this form of pressure an unusual moral force.

To put it otherwise: A boycott is a non-violent tactic that aims both to express moral or political disapproval of the prolonged and ongoing conduct of a person or institution that injures others. It involves the withdrawal of material and moral support to the person or institution boycotted so long as they persist in the conduct being boycotted. As such an instrument, it is generally called for and applied by those to whom no other means of action is available. In that, it differs from sanctions, which are usually applied by governments against other governments, or by an institution against one or more of its members. It differs from divestment, in that divestment can only be applied by an institution or other body that has substantial holdings in the economy of the country being targeted or in corporations that collaborate with its conduct.

There is no need for a boycott where other more normal channels for resolving disputes and grievances are open. That these channels are unavailable is patently clear in the case of Israel's colonization of Palestine. The peace process negotiations have clearly failed, their only purpose having been to further Israel's policy of ethnic cleansing and colonization. As for international tools, the American systematic veto prevents the UN Security Council from any enforcement activity, no matter how egregious Israel's violations of UN resolutions may be.

0.2. Under what circumstances should a boycott be used?
A boycott is not a generalizable political instrument but a tactic used under specific circumstances:
a) The country or corporation aimed at must be vulnerable economically or culturally to sanctions or boycott as a result of its connections with, or dependence on, the nations whose publics boycott it. A boycott of the EU, US or China would probably be politically futile because economically ineffectual, much as we might desire it in principle. A boycott of Caterpillar would be difficult for most private citizens to enact, given that we do not often purchase bulldozers.
b) There must be a relatively open public sphere in the nation boycotted in order for their public to influence their leaders. Hence a boycott of a dictatorship is usually ineffectual, as sanctions were on Iraq, where people who had no influence on their government were the ones who suffered.
c) The boycotted nation’s public must care about the opinion of those boycotting them. This is particularly the case with Israel, as it was with South Africa, since their populations largely wish to be counted among “civilized” or “democratic” western nations.
d) The boycott must have clear goals that are realizable by the nation boycotted, like conforming to international law and humanitarian norms, ending an occupation or blockade, dismantling a racist or apartheid system, negotiating in good faith, etc.
e) A boycott should be applied sparingly, when other channels for influencing the nation’s behavior have been exhausted (as with South Africa during the Reagan administration’s sympathetic policy of “constructive engagement”). A boycott of Sudan would be superfluous, given that the US government is already on record as declaring the conflict in Darfur a genocide, and given that the ICC has indicted President Bashir for crimes against humanity.
f) A boycott should be based on non-violent principles and is implicitly a rejection of the resort to violence by those engaging in it.
0.3. Can a boycott by citizens against a whole nation really be effective?
Numerous South African anti-apartheid activists, including Bishop Desmond Tutu and former President Nelson Mandela, have stated that the international campaign of boycott and divestment against the apartheid regime was an important factor in bringing down that system through negotiation rather than violence. Though ideally a boycott would bring to an end every form of external support to the country being boycotted, it may fall short of that goal and still have real material effectiveness. Any drop in investment or exports has palpable effects on an economy. Furthermore, the public expression of moral and political distaste has direct effects on the people of the boycotted country, undermining their morale and their will to support the policies that have led to disapproval and isolation; internal opposition will feel encouraged. While the initial response may be defiant, as the effects of a boycott begin to mount, the privileges gained by systems of apartheid and discrimination cease to be worth the cost.

1. Boycotting Israel

In summary:
Academic, cultural and commercial boycotts, divestments and sanctions of Israel:
* are being called for by Palestinian civil society in response to the occupation and colonization of their land;
* are a moral tool of non-violent, peaceful response to more than sixty years of Israeli colonialism;
* rightfully place accountability on Israeli institutions (and their allies and partners) that use business, cultural, and academic ties to white-wash Israel’s responsibility for continuing crimes against humanity.
The goal of the boycott is to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands during and since 1967, dismantle the illegal Separation Wall, end Israeli institutionalized racism and discrimination inside the 1948 boundaries of Israel, and achieve the return of the Palestinian refugees to their lands and homes.

1.1. Why boycott Israel?
Media as well as politicians love to talk about what they call the “Israëli-Palestinian Conflict”, as if it were a clash between two more or less equivalent opponents, each of them serving its proper legitimate interests. Both parties having their rights and their wrongs, they should be treated in a balanced and impartial way, so it goes. They should both be heard and be treated as opposite partners in a complicated process of negotiations that should lead, eventually, to an equilibrated and just peace between them.

In our view, though, there’s no equivalence at all. That situation is a very “simple” one, actually: on the one hand there is the occupier, on the other the occupied. The absolute military superiority of the occupier being what it is (let's not forget Dimona), there is no practical possibility for the occupied, the Palestinians, to regain their freedom either through an armed liberation struggle or through peaceful negotiations. Since 1948, and more particularly since the 1967 occupations, the situation therefore is not one of an "Israeli-Palestinian conflict" but one of Israeli colonialism and apartheid. “What this means for the Palestinians is clear: Israel denies them security and statehood, cuts them off from its territory through a closure and segregation regime, controls their entrances and their existence in their towns and villages, cordons them off from each other and from the world, and leaves them oppressed yet unexploited as cheap labor — dominated, yet dispensable” (Bashir Abu-Manneh: "The Occupation and BDS. Supporting Palestinian liberation requires just one thing: upholding the right to self-determination"," in: Jacobin, April 23, 2015: click here!) Instead of getting better, the situation is only getting worse, as was proven with the latest elections: “What won Netanyahu the elections is blatant racism against Palestinian citizens of Israel and his denial of occupied Palestinian rights and statehood” (ibid.).

That situation being what it is, there is only one way, one hope of redressing it, eventually: viz. strengthening the international pressure of moral delegitimatization, vis-à-vis Israel itself but also vis-à-vis the powers that be in Europe and, most of all, the US. Their rhetoric notwithstanding, indeed, European and American political establishments continu supporting the State of Israel in many ways, and thus maintaining the occupation and its woes, while preventing that Israel would be made accountable (all proposals in the UN Security Council being countered by the American veto, no matter how egregious Israel's violations of UN resolutions may be). The best way to pressurize both, Israel ànd our own politicians, is that of a world-wide boycott campaign, a boycott being a moral, democratic and non-violent tool. For our politicians: that they will be judged for their total lack of respect for our common, so-called Western, values. As for Israel: “BDS is the best way to alert Israelis that their present society, where racism and occupation is routine, is abnormal. It tells Israelis that their leading companies and universities are complicit in upholding the longest occupation in modern times. It lets Israelis know that the IDF is not a defense army at all, but an aggressive colonial police, and that their troops and their settlers should return home” (Bashir Abu-Manneh, ibidem).

1.2. Pourquoi boycotter Israël? Et non pas, p.ex., le Soudan?
Nous sommes tous d'accord qu'il y a dans le monde de pires horreurs que celles infligées par l'Etat israëlien aux Palestiniens.
Prenons donc, un exemple du pire : pourquoi pas, le Soudan d'Omar El Bechir, avec le Darfur? Ne faudrait-il pas dénoncer en priorité l'Etat soudanais avant de s'en prendre à Israël ?

La réponse est: non. Parce qu'il y a une immense différence:

- le Soudan ne reçoit pas des milliards de dollars d'armement des États-Unis;
- Le Soudan n'est présenté par personne en Europe et aux Etats-Unis comme la "pointe avancée" de l'Occident face à la barbarie;
- personne chez nous ne pense que le Soudan est un modèle de démocratie;
- le Soudan n'a pas des milliers de lobbyistes dans toutes les capitales du monde occidental pour vendre son image;
- personne n'est accusé "d'islamophobie" du simple fait qu'il critique le régime d'Omar el Béchir;
- malgré son caractère archaïque et criminel, le régime soudanais a sans doute violé moins de résolutions de l'ONU que l'État d'Israel;
- le Soudan est DÉJÀ largement boycotté par nos États, nos entreprises, nos opinions publiques.

Le Soudan est sans doute pire qu'Israël à bien des égards, mais tout le monde le sait en Europe et aux États-Unis.
Israël est parfois un petit Soudan mais très peu de monde le sait en Europe et aux États-Unis.
Israël veut absolument faire de nous ses complices et elle dispose pour cela de très puissants relais au sein de la droite euro-américaine. Boycotter Israël, ce n'est pas seulement dénoncer une injustice, c'est dénoncer une injustice qui se commet quotidiennement en notre nom, avec le soutien et la totale complicité de nos propres états.
1.3. Why should Israel academically and culturally be boycotted?
"If academic freedom is, indeed, a universal value, not one restricted to a few who are privileged by geography and colonial histories, then the Palestinian call for academic and cultural boycott of Israel becomes, as South Africa was in the 1980s, a test case for our intellectual and moral consistency. If we [...] refuse to endorse that call, then the commitment to academic freedom becomes vacuous and meaningless, an assertion of privilege and entitlement, not of fundamental values.
Palestinian education, like Palestinian culture and civil society, has been systematically targeted for destruction: it is no longer a matter of the infringement of the free speech of a few individuals, but a case in which, in the time-honored manner of settler-colonialism, a powerful and well-armed state seeks to extinguish the cultural life and identity of an indigenous people. Not only is the boycott movement the only practical possibility for Palestinian survival, its application is also principled and defined in its scope and ends. No clearer case has existed for the extension of an academic boycott since the African National Congress made their similar call for boycott and divestment in the struggle against South African apartheid. To continue to duck what is increasingly one of the defining moral and political struggles of our time would be not merely inconsistent, but intellectually and ethically bankrupt. [...] We must cease to make an exception of Israel".

[David Lloyd and Malini Johar Schueller, "The Israeli State of Exception and the Case for Academic Boycott", in: "Against Apartheid. The Case for Boycotting Israeli Universities", ed. by Ashley Dawson and Bill V.Mullen, Chicago 2015, p. 71.]
"In the South African case, the specific culture of its white population made the sporting boycott a uniquely effective tactic in driving home their isolation. In Israel it is the quite disproportionate contribution that Israel makes in many areas of research that favours the academic boycott as a way of tilting the internal Israeli debate back towards dialogue and away from repression. The hysterical Israeli reaction to the AUT's and then NATFHE's pro-boycott vote is supporting evidence for the potential effectiveness of this tactic" ("Why Boycott Israeli Universities?", BRICUP, p.22).

1.4. In lieu of the divisiveness of a boycott, shouldn't we rather encourage dialogue and cultural engagement, i.e. build cultural bridges?
"Let us consider what the last twenty years of dialogue, mutual engagement and negotiation have brought us. Since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993 the Israeli government has constructed more than 53,000 homes, the number of settler-colonists in the West Bank (East Jerusalem included) now reaching 600.000, has subjected Gaza to a medieval siege for over 6 years, demolished at least 15,000 Palestinian homes, expelled at least 11,000 Palestinians from Jerusalem and divided the West Bank into 167 segregated population zones that are divided from each other by a 440km cement wall and 522 military checkpoints. It has suppressed a popular uprising and launched four major offensives that have left over 7,000 Palestinians dead" (Omar Robert HAMILTON, "J. K. Rowling and the Prisoners of Israel", CounterPunch, Oct 26, 2015: click here!)

In short, Israel's politicians and institutions do not build "bridges", they build walls - literally, culturally, legally, militarily and politically. It is not the "divisiveness" between ourselves and the Israelis we should be worried about, but the brutal separation in historic Palestine between a racist, oppressive and culture-killing settler-colonial state and a dispossessed and persecuted indigenous population, i.e. the divisiveness of an apartheid State. There's no "dialogue", here, only the barrel of a gun.

Anyway, boycott and dialogue are not incompatible. Individuals will continue to dialogue even after this institutional boycott is implemented. In fact by bringing the subject of institutional complicity into view, the boycott will open up for discussion a burning topic that has often gone unspoken. But dialogue is not enough. Conducted in a vacuum, it can be a way of buying time while conditions continue to deteriorate. Despite decades of dialogue and diplomacy, Israel has continued to act with impunity and the occupation has grown only more entrenched and dangerous. In fact, as the oppression of Palestinians intensifies, calls for dialogue between Israeli Jews and Palestinians serve to support Israel’s human rights violations, normalizing Israel’s practices and disguising a colonizer/colonized relationship as a conflict between two opposing sides. [MLA Members for Justice in Palestine, "Myths and Facts", click here!]

2. The Palestinians and Palestine

2.1. The Palestinians: with how many?
a) Data at the end of 2015 according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (source: IMEMC, Dec 30: click here):
++ Projected number of Palestinians in the world estimated at 12.37 million, of whom
++ 4.75 million are living in Palestine,
++++ West Bank: around 2.90 million;
++++ Gaza Strip: 1.85 million;
++++ Palestinian refugees make up 42.8% of the Palestinian population in Palestine;
++++++ 27.1% of them are in the West Bank and
++++++ 67.3% are in the Gaza Strip.
++ 1.47 million in Israel,
++ 5.46 million in Arab countries,
++ 700.000 in Latin America in 2015; Chile and Honduras: 350,000 and 280,000, respectively).
PS 1: By the end of 2020, the report estimates, Palestinians in the entire territory will number 7.13 million, compared to 6.96 million Jews.
PS 2: 40% of the total population in Palestine is younger than 14 y.
PS 3: Poverty: West Bank: 25-17%; Gaza: 38%.
PS 4: Gaza: the World Bank issued a report earlier this year stating that 43% of Gaza's population are unemployed, and that unemployment among the youth has reached 60%. According to the report, these unemployment figures are the highest in the world.

2.2. What is the "Nakba"?

"Nakba" is the Arabic for ‘catastrophe’, referring to May 1948, when over 530 Palestinian towns and villages were razed to the ground, destroyed to make way for the creation of a colonialist settler state, Israel. 80% of the indigenous Palestinian population were ethnically cleansed from their land through zionist massacres and attacks, rendering them refugees, never allowed to return to their homes in violation of international law. For more information see: Institute for Middle East Understanding, "The Nakba, 65 Years of Dispossession and Apartheid" (May 8, 2013): click here!

In 1947, Jews owned 8 per cent of the land in what is today Israel. They now control 93 per cent — Palestinians, 3.5 per cent. Two independent estimates reckon the value of the property the Zionist state confiscated from the Palestinian population and associated losses at just under $300 billion, in 2008–09 prices. Nearly half the population even of the Occupied Territories themselves are registered refugees — just under 2 million, out of the 5 million on UN rolls. The number of stateless exiles is 2.5 million. The number of refugees living in camps is 1.5 million (Perry Anderson, "The House of Zion", in: The New Left Review, Nr 96, Nov-Dec 2015: click here). Some interesting accounts: Dan FREEMAN-MALOY, "Why is the Canadian Media Ignoring Evidence of 1948 Massacres?" (The Palestine Chronicle, Dec 29, 2015): click here!; Joel BEININ, "No More Tears - Benny Morris and the Road Back from Liberal Zionism" (MERIP, MER230, Spring 2004): click here!.

67 years later, the Nakba is ongoing:
--- Over 5 million Palestinian refugees are still fighting for the realisation of their right of return to their homes, a right which the State of Israel continues to deny to them.
--- Some 1.5 million Palestinians live as second-class citizens in the State of Israel. Over 50 Israeli laws have been enacted since 1948 that directly or indirectly discriminate against the indigenous Palestinians who were able to remain after the Nakba.
--- Nearly 2 million Palestinians live under an Israeli military siege in the Gaza Strip, without freedom of movement or reliable access to clean water, food, medicine, electricity and other basic needs. Everyone in Gaza is vulnerable to Israeli military attacks such as the bombardment in the summer of 2014 when over 2,000 Palestinians were killed, hundreds of whom were children.
--- More than 2.7 million Palestinians live under Israeli military occupation in East-Jerusalem and in the West Bank, closed in by Israel’s illegal Apartheid Wall and settlements that are proliferating at a frightening pace.
--- Nearly 6,000 Palestinians are held as political prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention centres, where torture is widespread. Many are held in administrative detention, without charge or trial.
Despite these seemingly insurmountable challenges, Palestinians continue to struggle for justice, asking grassroots movements around the world to take action using boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on Israel until it complies with international law. [War on Want]

2.3. In what way is "Palestine" structured since the Oslo Agreements of 1993?
"The Interim Agreements between Israel and the PLO, divided the West Bank into three categories:
*** Area A, currently comprising about 18% of the land in the West Bank, which includes all the Palestinian cities and most of the Palestinian population of the West Bank; the Palestinian Authority (PA) is endowed with most governmental powers in this area.
*** Area B, comprises approximately 22% of the West Bank and encompasses large rural areas; Israel retained security control of the area and transferred control of civil matters to the PA.
*** Area C covers 60% of the West Bank (about 330,000 hectares); Israel has retained almost complete control of this area, including security matters and all land-related civil matters, including land allocation, planning and construction, and infrastructure. The PA is responsible for providing education and medical services to the Palestinian population in Area C. However, construction and maintenance of the infrastructure necessary for these services remains in Israel’s hands. Civil matters remained under Israeli control in Area C and are the responsibility of the Civil Administration."

[B'Tselem, 18 May 2014: "What is Area C?" Read further: click here!]

2.4. Quoi avec le morcellement de la Cisjordanie par les barrages (checkpoints)?
"Selon l'association humanitaire B'Tselem, la Cisjordanie comptait en avril dernier 96 barrages fixes. Celui de Bethléem est le principal point de passage vers Jérusalem des Palestiniens venus du sud depuis la construction du mur de séparation, lancée en 2002 par le premier ministre Ariel Sharon. Ce mur s'étend aujourd'hui sur plus de 500 kilomètres.

L'association israélienne Marsom Watch observe les violences subies ainsi que les conditions humiliantes d'un passage souvent ralenti par la limitation des moyens humains et techniques, ce qui provoque files d'attente et échauffourées en période d'affluence. Près de Qalqilya, dans le nord de la Cisjordanie, des centaines de travailleurs s'entassent dès 6 heures du matin devant l'entrée du barrage d'Eyal. Durant le ramadan, des milliers de Palestiniens franchissent les points de passage, comme à Qalandia, près de Ramallah, pour accéder aux lieux saintes de l'islam situés à Jérusalem-Est.

À la différence des terminaux frontaliers ordinaires, ces postes de contrôle ne sont pas situés sur une frontière reconnue démarquant deux entités souveraines. Aux barrages fixes s'ajoutaient en avril dernier 361 barrières mobiles, selon le Bureau de la coordination des affaires humanitaires des Nations Unies. Dans les moments de forte tension, comme en décembre 2014, on a recensé jusqu'à 456 barrages mobiles sur un territoire de 5.640 kilomètres carrés, soit la superficie du département de la Creuse"
Tiré du Monde Diplomatique, septembre 2015 (avec reportage photographique "Checkpoint Chronicle", par Sandra Mehl, et l'article "La cérémonie de l'humiliation", par Abaher El Sakka (Bir-Zeit Univ.), voir (intro): .

3. Copied from the Anthropologists' website (click):

3.1. “Yes I oppose Israel’s actions but I don’t want to boycott individual Israeli scholars.”

This objection is unfounded. The boycott targets academic institutions only. The boycott does not apply to individuals. Nor is it directed at Jews or Israelis.

The boycott of Israeli academic institutions entails a “pledge not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions, not to teach at or to attend conferences and other events at such institutions, and not to publish in academic journals based in Israel.” Cooperation and exchange with individual scholars is encouraged, so long as it does not happen on the grounds of or through the auspices of an Israeli academic institution.

Under the boycott, individual Israeli scholars can still be invited to conferences outside Israel, publish in academic journals outside Israel, and the like. The guidelines are flexible: for example, because we do not call on Israelis to boycott their own institutions, an Israeli scholar with state funds can still be invited to a conference abroad. For more information, see the guidelines published by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel.
Expansion by Omar Barghouti, co-founder of PACBI:

Q.: Many people who are on the fence, unsure of whether to support the boycott, and even some supporters of the boycott, are confused as to how they would implement it. Could you explain, with an example or two, how the boycott would work or what effect it is having now? What would and would not be subject to the boycott?

OB: Okay, there is general confusion, sometimes intentional confusion, about how the boycott would apply. If we invite an Israeli academic to the AAA — if the AAA adopts BDS, let us say, hopefully in 2015 — would it mean that we can not invite Israeli academics? Where is that found? What is that based on? There is absolutely nothing in the boycott that we are calling for, the institutional boycott, that says we should ostracize Israeli academics. The boycott that we are calling for increases dialogue, increases debate, opens up areas for discussion that have been closed. As long as Israeli academics are not representatives of their institutions, there is absolutely nothing in the boycott that prevents any institution from inviting them. So Israeli academics can still travel, do joint research, lecture, so on and so forth, as long as they are not sent by Israel propaganda campaigns, they are not sent by the state to be ambassadors, cultural ambassadors, academic ambassadors of the state. If they are honest to goodness academics who want to pursue academic work around the world, publish and so on, nothing in the boycott prevents that. What the boycott does call for is: Refraining from any institutional link with Israeli universities...

3.2. “Yes I oppose Israel’s actions, but cannot in principle boycott academic institutions.”

This objection is not an argument against this boycott; it is a blanket position against all academic boycotts that would also preclude, for example, the academic boycott against apartheid South Africa. We hold that academic boycotts can be legitimate tools for social change and wish to convince colleagues that this is such an instance.

We are boycotting Israeli academic institutions because they are an extension of a state whose policies we wish to affect and because we take as a starting point for change our own professional location as anthropologists.

Israeli universities are very much part of the state, including its military-security complex. Israeli universities are directly complicit in and at times willingly support violations of Palestinian rights and academic freedom. Some, like Ariel University and parts of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, are built directly on occupied Palestinian lands. Tel Aviv University, Ben Gurion University, and the Technion develop the technological capacities and military doctrines that are used in the occupied Palestinian territories. The Interdisciplinary Center in Herzilya has set up programs where students gain course credit for defending the state’s wars and policies to an increasingly skeptical public. Among the targets of these doctrines and technologies are Palestinian universities.

Israeli academic institutions actively discriminate against their own Palestinian students. Israeli universities provide preferential admissions, scholarship, and even housing on the basis of military service. Because the vast majority of Palestinians do not perform military service, they experience de facto discrimination at all educational levels.

Israel enjoys close ties at the governmental and non-governmental levels with the United States and many countries in Europe, including academic ties. As anthropologists, we are in a position to disrupt those relationships as a means of signaling to Israel that its actions are not legitimate and that we refuse to carry on “business as usual” under these circumstances.

3.3. “Yes I oppose Israel’s actions, but a boycott would undermine attempts to change Israeli society from within because many Israeli scholars are critics of the state’s actions.”

This objection assumes that any boycott is invalid if it inconveniences or otherwise adversely affects anyone who is not directly responsible for the harms being protested. We assume that boycotts can still be legitimate if they are reasonable under the circumstances and wish to persuade colleagues that this is the case here.

There are courageous scholars in Israel who oppose their state’s actions. We wish to support these allies and as mentioned above, the boycott does not preclude collaboration with them.

At the same time, critics of the boycott often point to the existence of any dissent within Israeli universities as a blanket argument against all boycott efforts. Yet decades of “engagement” with Israeli academic institutions (often in the name of nurturing dissent) have not succeeded in producing any appreciable positive change from within. Israeli academia is not only part of the state but acts to defend it against outside critique. So far, the Israeli Anthropological Association’s most notable action in this regard has been to attack the American Anthropological Association merely for permitting panels that discuss the boycott. As an important dissenting letter by Israeli colleagues points out, “the IAA [Israeli Anthropological Association] has never, as a body, dissociated itself from the Israeli society-military complex.”

3.4. “Yes I oppose Israel’s actions, but this boycott is unbalanced since both sides have done wrong.”

This objection ignores the root lack of “balance” in Israel/Palestine: the state of Israel exercises supreme authority from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean and subjects Palestinians to occupation, exile, or second-class citizenship, not the other way around. Moreover, the United States government provides Israel with advanced weapons, unconditional diplomatic support, and billions of dollars of annual assistance, far more than it does to any other state. Indeed, Israel’s attacks on Palestinian universities are conducted with aircraft and bombs supplied by the United States.

A “balanced” boycott makes no sense in an unbalanced situation. Israeli universities enjoy the legitimacy of close ties with their counterparts in the U.S. and Europe. Palestinian universities must contend with siege, arrest raids, and aerial bombardment by Israeli forces with U.S. military and political assistance. The academic boycott is a protest against this state of affairs.

3.5. “Yes I oppose Israel’s actions, but boycotts violate academic freedom.”

This objection is not an argument against this boycott; it is an argument against all academic boycotts.

This argument misconstrues how the boycott works. This boycott involves individuals exercising their right not to collaborate with Israeli academic institutions or participate in their activities. This does not violate anyone’s academic freedom.

Indeed, the boycott seeks to restore academic freedom, not to abridge it. Academic freedom is meaningless if it is enjoyed only by a privileged group. The occupation has made academic freedom and basic educational rights unavailable for students and faculty at Palestinian universities, and has curtailed the rights of Palestinians at Israeli universities. The Israeli government and academic institutions also routinely punish scholars – both Jews and Palestinians – who criticize the state’s policies.

4. "Oui, je m'oppose à la politique palestinienne d'Israël, mais je ne veux boycotter ni les artistes ni leurs oeuvres d'art."

Il s'agit d'une objection qui nous est faite régulièrement, soit par ignorance des principes du boycott tels que formulés par le PACBI, soit par simple malveillance. Un exemple du second cas sans doute est la remarque ironique faite par Nicolas Zomersztajn, dans son article du 19 Mai 2015 (sur le site du CCLJ): "Oserions-nous leur suggérer d’aller voir Mita Tova (The Farewell Party), ce beau film israélien sur le droit de mourir dans la dignité. Il s’agit bien d’oser le leur suggérer, car ce film, comme l’immense majorité des films israéliens (même très critiques du gouvernement), a bénéficié des subsides d’institutions publiques israéliennes comme le Jerusalem film & TV Fund ou le Israel Film Fund !"
(a) Comme il est écrit dans notre appel, l'État d'Israël mène sa guerre d'occupation également sur le front artistique et culturel. L'armée vise les institutions culturelles palestiniennes, ferme des maisons de la culture, empêche la libre circulation des artistes et travailleurs culturels, les harcèle tout particulièrement (lire p.ex. "Israël contre le violon", écrit par Tom Suárez, l'année passée professeur de violon et d’alto au Conservatoire national de musique de Palestine, sur AURDIP, 9 août 2015: cliquez ici). En combinaison avec son boycott académique et scientifique, l'intention israélienne paraît claire: il s'agit de nier à la Palestine la capacité de reproduire sa culture et d'éduquer sa population. Par ailleurs, Israël utilise la culture pour faire sa propagande (hasbara) et légitimer son projet colonial. Comme une responsable ministérielle l'a déclaré, il y a quelques années: "nous considérons la culture comme étant un instrument de propagande supérieur et je ne fais pas de différence entre la culture et la propagande".

(b) Qu'il soit clair: le boycott du PACBI ne vise pàs les artistes, cinéastes, écrivains etc. israéliens ni leurs oeuvres d'art, livres, films, peintures, pièces de théâtre etc., ni leurs compagnies ou ensembles, mais bien l'abus politique de la culture et des arts par l'État israélien et ses institutions, en vue de masquer la réalité brutale de l'apartheid et l'occupation coloniale. Le fait que les artistes et/ou leurs compagnies et ensembles sont subsidiés par l'État israélien et/ou ses instituts, ne fait pàs l'objet du boycott. Étant des citoyens-contribuables ils en ont pleinement le droit. De même pour leurs oeuvres d'arts et produits culturels. Tout au contraire, c'est le gouvernement actuel qui menace les artistes et travailleurs culturels en Israël avec un boycott, c-à-d menace de leur retirer leurs subventions s'ils refusent de collaborer avec la politique étatique d'occupation (p.ex. pour une compagnie de théâtre: d'aller jouer dans la colonie illégale d'Ariel). Les artistes ont réagi par une lettre de protestation (appelée "La liste noire"), signée par plus de 3.000 personnes.

(c) Fait bel et bien l'objet du boycott, cependant, l'artiste ou travailleur culturel intervenant à l'étranger en tant qu'agent diplomatique de l'État israélien et/ou ses institutions. Il faut remarquer en effet qu'un(e) artiste ayant accepté/obtenu une subvention de la part du Ministère israélien des affaires étrangères (Division pour les Affaires Culturelles et Scientifiques), il/elle est lié(e) par contrat à "promouvoir les intérêts politiques de l'État d'Israël au moyen de la culture et de l'art, y compris contribuer à créer une image positive d'Israël" - c-à-d il/elle est obligé(e) à faire de la hasbara ou propagande (le contrat a été rendu public par le poète dissident, Yitzhak Laor, "Putting out a contract on art, Haaretz, 25 July 2008, à lire ici). Il en est de même pour des évènements à l'étranger qui sont (co-)organisés p.ex. par l'ambassade israélienne. Dans ces cas il n'est plus question manifestement de la liberté d'expression artistique, l'art étant de fait colonisé à des fins politiques.

5. Copied from the website "US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (click):

5.1. “Why boycott Israel?”

Israel is distinguished from other nations in the following ways that justify a boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign:

a) Israel is the largest recipient of US aid and weapons, receiving currently about $3 billion per year. It uses US weapons and aid in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including not only the use of weapons like white phosphorous or cluster bombs against civilians, as in Lebanon in 1982 and 2006 and in Gaza in 2009, but also such daily offenses as collective punishment, systematic torture, and, indeed, the extended occupation of Palestinian territory.

b) Israel has violated more United Nations resolutions than any other country in the world, and has been consistently protected by the US’s Security Council veto power from any attempt to enforce those resolutions.

c) Israel is institutionally racist. It engages in ethnic cleansing or “population transfer” and policies that conform to international definitions of apartheid for the sake of territorial expansion. In practical terms, “Jewishness” is a racial identification in Israel. Israel defines “Jewishness” partially in genetic terms: a person is legally Jewish if his or her mother is Jewish, regardless of place of birth or religious belief. Its “Basic Law” recognizes two categories, citizenship (ezrahut), which is available to Jews and non-Jews, and “nationality” (le’om), which is only available to those of Jewish descent. It is nationality that guarantees innumerable discriminatory laws that benefit Jewish Israelis and disadvantage Arabs. Zionism is a program of supposed or purported racial purity and territorial acquisition. It is a nineteenth century nationalist ideology, analogous to the 19th century US ideology of Manifest Destiny, as a program for territorial acquisition by the white “Christian nation.” Insofar as it underlies a racially discriminatory system of rule, Zionism should not be accepted by the rest of the world as a legitimate form of social organization.

5.2. "Isn’t a boycott of Israel discriminatory and even anti-Semitic?"

A boycott is always selective: it can only be effective under certain circumstances, to most if not all of which Israel conforms. While it is often argued that a boycott of Israel is anti-Semitic, that is not the case. The practices of discrimination, occupation, ethnic cleansing, illegal settlement and territorial expansion are not based on Judaism but on the political philosophy of Zionism and on the ultimate claim to the whole territory of “Greater Israel” (Eretz Israel) that has no basis in international law, political history or even in most versions of Jewish religious or cultural tradition. Zionism is a political movement that is by no means supported by all Jews, many of whom support and advocate for boycott, divestment and sanctions and the end of Zionism itself. Indeed, what is really anti-Semitic is the attempt to identify all Jews with a philosophy that many find abhorrent to the traditions of social justice and universality that Judaism enshrines.

5.3. "Why don’t we take direct action against the Israeli government since the government — and not Israel’s academic establishment — is responsible for serious wrongs committed against the Palestinians?"

Israeli universities are in fact governmental institutions. Many are directly involved in furnishing the ideological justification and technical means for the Occupation to continue. Several have benefited materially from the Occupation by building on confiscated Palestinian land in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Not a single Israeli academic institution has petitioned the Israeli government to protect Palestinian rights to education or to cease interference with and destruction of Palestinian schools and colleges. Furthermore, just as the boycott of sporting activities was extremely effective as a means of expressing revulsion at the institutions of South African apartheid, Israel’s academic institutions are a major conduit of Israeli communication and propaganda to the world: they convey a sense of the “normality” of Israel’s democratic society, of its civilized values, of its contributions to the world of learning. A boycott of academic institutions is the strongest message possible that Israel cannot claim normality and ask to be considered in the fold of democratic societies while maintaining an apartheid state and a brutal occupation. Nor can institutions that benefit directly and materially from those conditions, and which contribute to maintaining them by military, demographic, geographic and technical research, be allowed to present themselves as innocent non-participants.

6. Do PACBI's Guidelines require that inviting an Israeli scholar is made conditional on his/her denouncing in advance the occupation?

No. PACBI subscribes to the internationally-accepted definition of academic freedom as adopted by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (UNESCR). So it
"rejects on principle boycotts of individuals based on their identity (such as citizenship, race, gender, or religion) or opinion".
Individual academics, though, Israeli or otherwise, "cannot be exempt from being subject to “common sense” boycotts (beyond the scope of the PACBI institutional boycott criteria) that conscientious citizens around the world may call for in response to what they widely perceive as egregious individual complicity in, responsibility for, or advocacy of violations of international law (such as direct or indirect involvement in the commission of war crimes or other grave human rights violations; incitement to violence; racial slurs; etc.)". In this respect, faulty Israeli academics "should be treated like all other offenders in the same category, not better or worse. This is in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights" (art. 29.2): "In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order, and the general welfare in a democratic society.""
(PACBI Guidelines: click here!).

7. Is it feasible or sensible working together with an individual scholar while boycotting his/her institution?

What needs to be emphasized first of all: each Israeli academic is entitled, as a taxpayer, to receive funding from his/her government or institution in support of academic activities, such as attendance of international conferences and other academic events, so long as this is not conditioned upon serving Israel’s policy interests in any way, such as public acknowledgement of this support by the organizers of the conference or activity/event. Mere affiliation of the academic to an Israeli institution does nót subject the conference or activity to boycott.

Secondly, what we do have to consider here, is the academic freedom of scholars, also in Israel, giving them some leverage with respect to their own institution. I'm pointing here more especially to the existence of dissident voices at Israeli universities, criticizing not only the State but also their own institute in so far as it is condoning or actively supporting the occupation and apartheid policies, the wars against Gaza, etc. Some of these "dissenters" even call publicly for a boycott of their own institution. The importance of this phenomenon is confirmed by the official efforts to curb this so-called "anti-Israel protest". I can refer here to the existence of the official website "Israel-Academia-Monitor.web", keeping track, it says, of "Anti-Israel Activities of Israeli Academics". Let me quote from its mission statement:
"Of particular concern are academics who defame their own universities and advocate measures that will harm Israel in general and their universities in particular... This year, the work of IAM was also enclosed in two important reports delivered to the Knesset Educational Committee and the Minister of Education. In the first report, IAM detailed recent calls by Israeli academics for a boycott of the very academic and cultural institutions that employ them".
The point I wish to raise here is first of all that thanks to academic freedom there is a critical "space" indeed, (in Israel as well as in our own country) between the (moral) responsibilities of the individual scholar and the policies of his or her academic institution; so it is feasible and sensible to cooperate in different ways with an individual scholar (or group of scholars) while boycotting his or her institution. Secondly, there is the important question of our support to these dissenters. If we agree that their courageous stance is of importance to the future of Israel as well as to us, how can we be of any real help to them? By collaborating with their institution as such? I don't think so since it confirms and strengthens the institute's complicit submissiveness to official policies, that complicity being condemned by the dissenters as well. What we have to do is working together with these scholars as much as possible ànd stand with them in their confrontation with their institution. And that means: boycotting these institutions as long as they are condoning and executing Israel's policy of violating international law and human rights.

8. Isn't the boycott of an academic institution necessarily limiting the academic freedom of its individual scholar(s)?

In a way this is indeed unavoidable, but it is largely outweighed by the injustices and discriminations suffered by the Palestinians, one of them being the infringements on the academic freedom of Palestinian scholars and students. Let me quote from the essay by Prof. Lawrence Davidson (US), "Why The Academic Boycott Is Necessary" (Nov 25, 2006), click here:
"...Now, after 40 years, a growing number of academics are reacting to this inhumane state of affairs. We are insisting that the situation we are in now, as regards academic freedom, is a perverse one. Essentially, in order to maintain the academic freedom of Israeli scholars and teachers we are asked to acquiesce in their direct or indirect abetting of the destruction of, among other aspects of Palestinian life, Palestinian academic freedom. We will not do this. I suggest to you that the only way to avoid this predicament (which essentially turns the ideal of academic freedom against itself) is to qualify this principle, and make it a corollary of academic freedom that it can not apply to those who systematically and consistently deny it to others. In order to do this in as fair and consistent a way as possible, the present academic boycott movement is aimed at halting all cooperation with Israeli academic and research institutions rather than any particular list of individuals. [...]

In conclusion, Israel’s academic community cannot be allowed to proceed as if it has nothing to do with the destruction of Palestinian society, including its academy and academic freedom. Given their direct and indirect complicity in this criminal process, the placing of temporary limits on the freedom of 9000 Israeli academics is a necessary price that must be paid in the struggle to restore the fundamental rights of millions of Palestinians".

9. This so-called complicity of Israeli universities and research centers, is it more than a political slogan?

For an extensive list of their being implicated with the occupation, their active collaboration with the arms industry, etc., read the following documents:
--- Uri Yacobi KELLER: "Academic Boycott of Israel and the Complicity of Israeli Academic Institutions in Occupation of Palestinian Territories" (in: The Economy of the Occupation, A Socioeconomic Bulletin, No 23, October 2009, The Alternative Information Center), pdf, 64pp.: click here!

--- "Le dossier du boycott universitaire contre Israël" (Alternative Information Center), pdf, 16p., 2007 (more limited): click here!.

10.1. In what way is it true that the Israeli Palestinians are discriminated against?

10.1.1. Summary:
"The inequality is blatant. It is the result of decades of discrimination only made worse during Netanyahu’s years in power. Among a population of 8.5 million Israelis, according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, 20.8% are Arab. Yet, according to the June 2013 report of the UK Task Force on issues relating to Arab citizens in Israel, Arab municipalities consist of only 2.5% of the total Israeli land. Since the establishment of the state in 1948, 700 new communities have been established, but not a single Arab community. Arab health-care and educational services are considerably less developed than such services for Jewish towns and villages, due to lack of governmental support. According to the same UK report, life expectancy of Arab-Israeli men is four years under that of Jewish men, and 3.2 years lower for Arab women than for Jewish women. In Israeli universities, 12% of undergraduates and only 2% of the academic staff are Arabs. The general economic situation is also poor: Although the Arab sector comprises 20% of the population, it only represents 8% of Israel’s gross domestic product" (Uri SAVIR, "Will Israeli Palestinians join their West Bank brethren?", Al Monitor, Jan 31, 2016): click here!
10.1.2. Source: Adalah – The legal center for Arab minority rights in Israel: "The Inequality Report: The Palestinian Arab Minority in Israel", March 2011 (pdf): URL: click here [see now as well: Roland Nikles (June 14, 2015): "The Adalah database of 50 discriminatory laws in Israel", click here ].
"The definition of Israel as “the Jewish State” or “the State of the Jewish People” makes inequality a legal, political and ideological reality for Palestinian citizens of Israel.

The State of Israel, as an ethnocracy or “ethnic nationstate”, is systematically failing to adopt effective measures to redress the gaps that exist between the Palestinian minority and the Jewish majority. By privileging Jewish citizens in many fields, the state actively preserves and even widens these gaps.
The Inequality Report details some of the main legal, political and policy structures that institutionalize and entrench discrimination against the Palestinian minority in Israel"
More in detail:
The legal framework of inequality

Inequalities between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel span all fields of public life and have persisted over time. Direct and indirect discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel is ingrained in the legal system and in governmental practice.

The right to equality and freedom from discrimination is not explicitly enshrined in Israeli law as a constitutional right, nor is it protected by statute. While Supreme Court justices have interpreted The Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty as comprising the principle of equality, this fundamental right is currently protected by judicial interpretation alone.

The definition of the State of Israel as a Jewish state makes inequality and discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel a reality and a political project. The pairing of “Jewish” and “democratic” both codifies discrimination against non-Jewish citizens and impedes the realization of full equality.

Numerous groups of Palestinian citizens of Israel face “compound discrimination” or multiple forms of discrimination on the basis of both their national belonging as Arabs/Palestinians and their membership in one or more other distinct subgroups, such as women, the disabled and the elderly.

More than 30 main laws discriminate, directly or indirectly, against Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the current government coalition has proposed a flood of new racist and discriminatory bills which are at various stages in the legislative process.


In continuation of a pattern that was established with the founding of the state in 1948, Palestinian citizens of Israel continue to be deprived of access and use of the land under long-standing and more recent land laws and policies. Furthermore, new measures—including a new land reform law from 2009 and an amendment to the Land Ordinance from February 2010—aim at confirming state ownership of land confiscated from Palestinians in perpetuity and blocking Palestinian restitution claims.

Admissions committees operate in around 700 agricultural and community towns and filter out Arab applicants, on the basis of their “social unsuitability”, from future residency in these towns. The operation of admissions committees contributes to the institutionalization of racially-segregated towns and villages throughout the state and perpetuates unequal access to the land.

The Jewish National Fund (JNF)—a body with quasi-state authority that operates solely for the interests of the Jewish people and controls 13% of the land in the state—continues to wield decisive influence over land policy in Israel, having been allocated six of a total of 13 members of the newly-established Land Authority Council.

Arab towns and villages in Israel suffer from severe overcrowding, with Arab municipalities exercising jurisdiction over only 2.5% of the total area of the state. Since 1948, the State of Israel has established approximately 600 Jewish municipalities, whereas no new Arab village, town or city has ever been built. While the Arab Bedouin population in the Naqab stands at around 170,000 persons, or 14% of the total population in the Naqab, the combined areas of the government-planned and newly-recognized Arab Bedouin towns and villages in the Naqab account for just 0.9% of the land in the district.

Israel is currently intensifying its efforts to forcibly evacuate the unrecognized villages in the Naqab (referred to as “illegal clusters”), including by demolishing entire villages, as recently witnessed in the repeated demolition of the village of Al-Araqib. In pursuing this policy, the state has rejected the option of affording recognition to these villages, many of which predate the establishment of Israel. Between 75,000 and 90,000 Arab Bedouin live in the unrecognized villages in the Naqab, whom the state characterizes as “trespassers on state land”.

10.2. What about the academic freedom and actual educational opportunities of the Palestinian citizens of Israel?
A study by the Institute for Middle East Understanding found: Palestinians make up about 20% of Israel’s population, or about 1.5 million people. Although they are citizens of the state, they face widespread, systematic discrimination in virtually all aspects of public life, including education. This manifests in lower state funding for Arab schools and discrimination against Arab students and faculty at Israeli institutions of higher learning.

In July 2013, Haaretz newspaper reported on the disparities in funding between different sectors of the Israeli education system, which is segregated into Arab, religious Jewish, and secular Jewish sectors. The report found that in the largest Arab town in Israel, Nazareth, high schools were allocated an average of about $5400 (USD) per student per year, while right next door in the Jewish town of Upper Nazareth the Israeli Education Ministry spent an average of about $7400 (USD) per student annually. On the national level, the report found that in 2012 each Arab high school student in Israel was allocated on average about $6000 (USD), below the overall national average of about $7200 USD). At the top end of the scale, religious Jewish high schools received an average of about $7700 (USD) per student per year.

Access to most government financial aid for college students is dependent on military service. Because most Palestinian citizens of Israel choose not to serve in the army of a state that represses and discriminates against them and occupies and colonizes their Palestinian brethren in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza, the military service requirement results in the privileging of Jewish students over non-Jewish ones in accessing higher education.

In June 2013, the Center for Advancement of Higher Education in Arab Society released a report detailing 14 barriers that young Palestinian citizens of Israel face in obtaining a college education. They include:

- Discrimination in the awarding of scholarships through the granting of extra credit for army service or residence in so-called “national priority areas,” where few Arabs live.

- Lack of access to campus housing due to preference given to applicants with military service and growing racism in Israeli society that makes it difficult for Palestinian students to find housing on and off campus.

- A lack of freedom of speech for Palestinian students, who are often denied the right to freely express their political opinions on campus.

In September 2013, Haaretz newspaper reported that the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, which is comprised of 108 of Israel’s most distinguished scholars, doesn’t have a single Arab member. The article also reported that only 2% of the 174 senior staff members of state-funded institutions are Arab. (“Israeli Violations of Palestinian Academic Freedom & Access to Education”, 2014).

Thus to really talk about “academic freedom” and the educational enterprise, we need to be in firm command of such facts, and not be solely concerned with the potential restrictions a boycott might place on us.

David PALUMBO-LIU, “Not so much Anti-Boycott as Pro-Israel”, 2015, p. 28 (review of Cary Nelson and Gabriel Noah Brahm, eds., "The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel").

11. In what way is it permitted to call Israel a racist state?

Extracts form the speech by Sami Michael, "Israel is the most racist state in the industrialized world" (June 2012, in: +972 Magazine, August 9, 2012): click (see also supra).
... "Racism and deep social gaps are serious problems that have existed in Israel from its earliest days until now... With the collapse of the phony left in Israel and the rise to power of the right in general, and of the Haredi right in particular, the racist divide [sc. between East European ghetto Jewry and the Jews of Arab countries] has become an almost acceptable fact. Racism is gradually becoming entrenched in Israeli society with the political strengthening of the religious right. Racism is directed at Jews from Arab and Islamic countries, immigrants from Ethiopia and Russia, Arab citizens of Israel, Palestinians in the occupied territories, refugees and working migrants, gays, and the list goes on. The rising tide of racism continues to mount with the encouragement of Knesset and government members, both through infamous public statements and by legislating draconian anti-democratic laws against outsiders, foreigners, and against human rights organizations. In any case, Israel can pride itself on having the dubious title – the most racist state in the developed world.

(..) The nationalistic conflict between Israel and the Arab world has gradually turned into a religious confrontation between Judaism and Islam. We are living in a glorious age of Jewish halacha (religious law), like the Islamic shari’a law. Year after year the ramparts of democracy and secular rule are disintegrating before our eyes under the persistent pressure of religious nationalism.

...The occupation is a veritable catastrophe for Israel. Greater Israel, the enthusiasm for conquest, to control and settle in the very heart of the dense Palestinian population, are a sweeping tide that strikes at the core of Zionism which sees itself as enlightened, secular and socialist... We threw nearly all resisting Palestinian intelligentsia into prison during the past forty-five years... Quite a few people have condemned the appalling declarations of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Israel and outside it. But Lieberman is right in claiming that he is expressing aloud what others really think. Let us not deceive ourselves, the culture in Israel has already become no less poisoned than the extreme trends in Islam... The authors of the fascist book “Torat HaMelech” (“The King’s Torah”), which advocates the murder of Arabs, were spared criminal charges for incitement to racism and violence. The Attorney General closed the file against them and thus allowed for the sale of this odious book. In the Israel of today the early buds of spiritual and cultural fascism are gradually sprouting... If we do not find a solution besides the machine gun and the tank – which we have already seen to be helpless against a barefoot child with a stone in his hand – we may lose it all. The State of Israel is liable to become a passing phenomenon like the First Temple and the Second Temple".

12. Is it correct to call Israel a colonialist state?

"Colonialism" is defined in Wikipedia as "the establishment, exploitation, maintenance, acquisition, and expansion of colony in one territory by a political power from another territory. It is a set of unequal relationships between the colonial power and the colony and often between the colonists and the indigenous population." Further on, the type of "settler colonialism" is distinguished from that of "exploitation colonialism. As for the first type, it "involves large-scale immigration, often motivated by religious, political, or economic reasons".

In a qualified sense - Zionism being originally a (one) answer to the discrimination and worse: persecution and finally extermination of the European Jews - that is what happened in Palestine. Condoned by the superpowers, the immigration of European Jews resulted in the (violent) establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. "Colonialism", though, is still very much present today, in as far as, first of all, the Palestinian minority inside Israel, having lived through the ethnical cleansing of the Nakba, is institutionally and systematically discriminated against (see faq Nr 9). In a blatant form, however, colonialism is what is happening daily in the Occupied Territories. The so-called "settlers", living under Israeli law, are in fact colonists living on the stolen land (and water) of the autochthonous Palestinians, who are submitted to a different, military rule.
Testimony 1: Israeli reporter Amira Hass, when commenting on two decisions by the High Court consenting with the demolition of two villages, qualified the court rulings as: "Israeli colonialism, plain and simple". And further: "In two court decisions involving shoving Palestinians off their land, Supreme Court justices have confirmed what Israel’s critics are saying: that Israel has been a colonialist entity since 1948... The justices have parroted what the State has been screaming all along: It’s my right to dispossess, my right to expel, my right to demolish and crowd people into pens. I have demolished and will continue to do so. I have expelled and will continue to expel. I have crowded people in and will continue to do so. I never gave a damn and never will do" (Haaretz, May 11,

Testimony 2: The Israeli historian Ilan Pappé, interviewed by Philip Weiss (Mondoweiss, May 11, url: ), gives the following answer to our question:"We are in this paradoxical situation where Israel is both a colonialist and post-colonialist state. Recently academics defined Israel as a settler colonial state – which explains why it was a colonialist project in the past, but one that still continues today as the project is incomplete. So as a journalist you are watching the same historical chapter that began in the late 19th century and continues today. There is no closure yet in this colonialist history. More classical colonialist chapters, such as the British Raj in India, should be discussed in the cultural annexes of the papers or in special historical programs on TV and one would understand journalists covering India today focusing on the here and now. These are closed chapters of history. The Zionist Raj is still there and unlike the British Raj, it does not intend to dismantle the colony and go back home, it wants the colony to be cleansed of its native people."

13. Why must Israel's rule over Palestinians be qualified as apartheid? (Russell Tribunal on Palestine)
"The Tribunal finds that Israel subjects the Palestinian people to an institutionalised regime of domination amounting to apartheid as defined under international law. This discriminatory regime manifests in varying intensity and forms against different categories of Palestinians depending on their location. The Palestinians living under colonial military rule in the occupied Palestinian territory are subject to a particularly aggravated form of apartheid. Palestinian citizens of Israel, while entitled to vote, are not part of the Jewish nation as defined by Israeli law and are therefore excluded from the benefits of Jewish nationality and subject to systematic discrimination across the broad spectrum of recognised human rights. Irrespective of such differences, the Tribunal concludes that Israel’s rule over the Palestinian people, wherever they reside, collectively amounts to a single integrated regime of apartheid.

The state of Israel is legally obliged to respect the prohibition of apartheid contained in international law. In addition to being considered a crime against humanity, the practice of apartheid is universally prohibited. The Tribunal has considered Israel’s rule over the Palestinian people under its jurisdiction in the light of the legal definition of apartheid. Apartheid is prohibited by international law because of the experience of apartheid in southern Africa, which had its own unique attributes. The legal definition of apartheid, however, applies to any situation anywhere in the world where the following three core elements exist: (i) that two distinct racial groups can be identified; (ii) that ‘inhuman acts’ are committed against the subordinate group; and (iii) that such acts are committed systematically in the context of an institutionalised regime of domination by one group over the other".

14. Isn’t Israel quite different from South Africa? (copied from "Artists for Palestine UK")
What critics of boycott say: "Everyone agrees that the boycott of South Africa was morally justified, but Israel isn’t South Africa. It doesn’t have apartheid. Palestinians in Israel have a vote, and some even hold high office".

People draw parallels between Israel and South Africa because of this common feature: the existence of a dominant group, defined along racial lines, that monopolises effective power and maintains it through a network of administrative controls backed up by racially- oriented legislation and brutal enforcement. In 1973 the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (ICSPCA) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. ICSPCA defines the crime of apartheid as ‘inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group ... over another racial group ... and systematically oppressing them’. More than 30 years later, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Professor John Dugard (himself a South African), concluded that ‘elements of the Israeli occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law.’

In Israel, there are colour-coded identity documents and vehicle registration plates, settler-only roads, checkpoints, aerial drone surveillance and of course the apartheid Wall – all of which make it easy to identify a person in the wrong place. Town planning controls are deployed to keep Jewish areas free of Palestinians, or to dislodge them from areas of intended Jewish expansion. Schools in Palestinian areas are kept starved of funds to ensure a sub-standard education, and the curricula prevent children from learning about their own history and cultural heritage. The settler-only roads divide the Palestinian West Bank into overcrowded and impoverished bantustans.

There are differences, of course: one is that the basic Israeli imperative has always been quite distinct from apartheid South Africa’s – Israel wants to get rid of Palestinians, whereas the South African apartheid regime wanted to keep black people for their labour.
Cf. Ilan PAPPÉ (ed.): "Peoples Apart. Israel and South Africa: The Many Faces of Apartheid". Zed Books, 2015.

15. Que faire de l'opinion négative de Chomsky à l'égard d'un boycott d'Israël?
D’avance il faut souligner quelques évidences :
(1) La situation dont souffre le peuple palestinien – dans la Cisjordanie et la bande de Gaza, en Israël, mais aussi en exil dans les camps des réfugiés – est intolérable car en opposition flagrante avec le droit international et les droits de l’homme. Donc la question pour nous, vivant en Europe, est : que pouvons-nous faire pour aider à rémédier cette situation, en nous opposant à Israël en tant qu’État colonial auquel s’ajoute le caractère d’État raciste et d’apartheid dans sa doctrine, son idéologie et ses pratiques?

(2) Chomsky est un géant intellectuel et politique d’envergure mondiale. Pourtant, comme tout homme, il faut le mettre dans son contexte politique, social, etc.

(3) Comme il l’a remarqué lui-même: “In the case of any tactic, you ask yourself, what are its consequences, ultimately for the victims, and indirectly for the audience you are trying to reach”. À la question (qu’il se pose à soi-même) si un boycott puisse atteindre son public cible, c-à-d américain, il répond: « that depends on the amount of organization and education that has taken place in the United States » (“Chomsky in Gaza: academic boycott ‘will strengthen support for Israel’”, in: The Electronic Intifada, Oct 20, 2012: click here!).
Mon point de vue:
(1) Le boycott est une tactique (comme le dit Chomsky), pas un but. Alors il faut se demander (a) quelles sont les conditions pour qu’il soit efficace ou non, et (b), s’il pouvait être efficace dans le cas qui nous occupe, quelle serait son influence sur la politique et l’opinion publique israélienne ainsi que chez nous.

Pour qu’un boycott soit efficace, de manière générale, il faut que le pays qui en fait l’objet, soit « vulnérable », tant économiquement que moralement et psychologiquement. P.ex. mener une campagne de boycott contre l’Arabie Saoudite serait complètement inutile. Il faut en plus qu’il y ait une opinion publique suffisamment ouverte dans un contexte suffisamment démocratique.

Ces conditions s’appliquent à Israël : économiquement elle est dépendante dans une large partie de l’Europe; en matière de défense, Israël dépend dans une très large mesure du soutien (tant financièrement que matériellement) des États-Unis. Psychologiquement et moralement, Israël aime s’autoproclamer comme étant une nation européenne, partageant les mêmes valeurs et la même culture que l’Europe (et l’Occident en général) : voir p.ex. sa participation à des évènements sportifs, musicaux, scientifiques etc. européens. Un boycott de la part de l’Europe équivaudrait à rompre ces aspirations proclamées, incluant une forme de délégitimation au moins morale. Enfin: politiquement, Israël est une démocratie de sorte (reposante sur la discrimination de ses citoyens palestiniens et l'occupation militaire de la Cisjordanie et la bande de Gaza).

(2) Y a-t-il des exemples historiques d’un boycott réussi ? Oui, il y en a un en particulier : le boycott international contre l’apartheid en Afrique du sud; un boycott équivalent à celui du BDS actuel y a démarré dès les années 1980. Les circonstances, bien sûr, dans lesquelles le boycott s’est réalisé n’étaient pas tout à fait les mêmes que pour Israël. Il existait, p.ex., en Afrique du sud la possibilité d’une solidarité active entre blancs et noirs; en Israél, au contraire, une loi a été adoptée qui interdit tout soutien pour le boycott, rendant impossible la convergence entre la résistance palestinienne et l’action civile de nombreuses organisations israéliennes qui participent au mouvement « Boycott de l’intérieur » . D’autre part en Afrique du sud le régime avait besoin des noirs comme travailleurs, en Israël par contre les Palestiniens sont largement superflus. La mesure dans laquelle le boycott a effectivement contribué à l’abolition de l’apartheid sud-africaine fait l’objet de discussions. Néanmoins, en étant une tactique non-violente, à l’avis de Mandela et Tutu eux-mêmes le boycott a définitivement contribué à créer un climat général dans lequel la transition vers un régime démocratique et non-raciste pouvait se produire sans violence.

(3) Il va de soi, il faut en tout premier lieu écouter non pas les persécuteurs mais les persécutés. Comme le dit Chomsky, « il faut toujours se demander ce qu’une tactique particulière signifie pour les (victimes) ». Alors, les choses étant ce qu’elles sont, la supériorité militaire absolue du persécuteur fait (et l’a toujours fait depuis 67 ans) qu’il n’y a aucune possibilité pour les Palestiniens de regagner leur liberté et leur droit à l’autodétermination, que ce soit par la lutte armée de libération soit par des négociations (qui ont mené à... tripler le nombre des colonies, depuis les "Accords d'Oslo"). C’est dire que, s’ils veulent sauvegarder leur dignité humaine et leur identité, leur seul espoir reste dans la solidarité active de la part de la communauté mondiale. Aussi, ce sont eux qui ont demandé et demandent plus que jamais le boycott international contre Israël. L’appel à un boycott académique en particulier, par le PACBI (qui précède d'un an à l'appel pour le BDS), est soutenu par plusieurs dizaines d’organisations civiles palestiniennes. Comme ce sont eux les victimes de la violence colonialiste israélienne, nous devons les écouter aussi en ce qui concerne les modalités concrètes d’un tel boycott (voir les « directives » du PACBI).

(4) Toutefois, comme nous le rappelle Chomsky, il faut aussi tenir compte des effets qu’une tactique comme celle d’un boycott peut avoir sur le public cible que l’on espère influencer. En ce qui concerne l’opinion publique américaine, l’opinion de Chomsky (ce n’est pas que ça : une opinion) est qu’ « un appel au boycott académique de Tel Aviv University renforcera le soutien pour Israël et la politique américaine parce qu’il n’est pas compris ». Ce point de vue, à mon avis, a besoin d’être adaptée et actualisée, même pour les États Unis: « Something's changed, hasn't it? » la Jewish Voice for Peace écrit dans un courriel récent. « Across the U.S., millions of people inside and outside of the Jewish community are taking a long hard look at Israel’s human rights abuses. Elected leaders who’d been too scared to speak out are raising their voices. Academics and students are building power on campuses, where once it simply wouldn’t have been possible » (comme preuve a contrario: les projets législatifs dans différents états des États Unis d’identifier la critique de la politique israélienne à de l’antisémitisme, menaçant de telle manière la liberté d'expression).

(5) De même en ce qui concerne Israël, il faut dire que le boycott – entraînant une délégitimation au moins morale – a bien été « compris » aussi bien par les responsables politiques que par le mouvement pacifiste et certains académiques israéliens. Ce n’est pas par hasard que le Knesset a voté en 2011 une loi qui interdit tout appel au ou soutien pour le boycott (visant en premier lieu les colonies). La loi vient d’être confirmée par la Haute Cour de Justice malgré le pourvoi en cassation de la part des mouvements pacifistes. De même, les autorités académiques réagissent de manière plus que nerveuse à l’encontre de la dissidence dans leurs universités. Cela est démontré par ce qu’on pourrait appeler le « Stasi académique israélien», c-à-d le site Internet « », qui a comme mission de « suivre les activités anti-Israël de la part des académiques israéliens » (click here! ) Je le cite : «This year, the work of IAM was also enclosed in two important reports delivered to the Knesset Educational Committee and the Minister of Education. In the first report, IAM detailed recent calls by Israeli academics for a boycott of the very academic and cultural institutions that employ them”.

(6) Tout cela montre que le boycott, s’il est encore (très) loin d’atteindre son objectif – c-à-d de mettre fin aux violations israéliennes du droit international et des droits de l'homme – est au moins efficace en ce qui concerne l’impact qu’il a sur les autorités : il leur fait mal. En ce qui concerne la dissidence académique : elle ne se limite pas seulement à condamner l’occupation, la guerre contre le Gaza, les colonies, la situation aggravante des écoles et universités palestiniennes, etc., mais elle soutient aussi le boycott international. Demandons-nous donc de quelle manière nous pouvons soutenir cette dissidence. À mon avis, il est clair qu’il nous faut collaborer le plus possible avec ces collègues courageux, en ne ménageant pas toutefois leurs autorités académiques – et donc en ne nous compromettant pas avec celles-ci. C’est cela le sens du directive de nous tenir à un boycott institutionel et non pas individuel.

(7) De même en ce qui concerne l’opinion publique européenne ainsi que les responsables de la politique envers Israël: il faut au moins nuancer l'opinion de Chomsky. En ce qui concerne nos responsables politiques, belges et européens: il paraît clair que, comme le dit Ilan Pappé, « même après les trois attaques horrifiques contre Gaza, 2008-2009, 2012, et accumulant avec l'attaque de l'été passé, l'effet cumulatif a laissé la politique établie ("mainstream politics") à la même place qu'il y a 20 ans » (voir l'interview, "Ilan Pappe on the western awakening and what it means for Israel/Palestine", Mondoweiss, May 11, 2015, cliquez-ici). Dans l'opinion publique européenne, tout au contraire, il y a eu un glissement signifiant, dans le sens que « presque toute personne décente que l'on rencontre à l'occident a une vision claire d'Israël/Palestine, avec des degrés variables de connaissance ou d'engagement » (ibid.).

(8) Que faire donc pour que ce glissement dans l'opinion publique se traduise dans la politique établie (et les média)? Renforcer, cela va sans dire, le mouvement de solidarité avec les Palestiniens, organisé par les ngo's et les organisations de solidarité. Mais il y faut plus: il nous faut aussi "radicaliser" ce mouvement. C'est ici qu'une campagne comme celle du BDS et plus spécialement du PACBI a un rôle à jouer, un boycott académique et culturel touchant les nerfs de l'establishment plus que tout autre forme d'action. Il nous faut en plus démasquer la duplicité de nos politiciens : c-à-d leur adhésion rhétorique aux droits humains et à l’autodétermination des peuples, d’une part, et leur soutien et collaboration réelle avec l’État israélien raciste et colonialiste, de l’autre. En fin de compte, toutefois, une campagne comme la nôtre a aussi un but éducatif et pédagogique envers l'opinion publique. Comme Chomsky l’a remarqué correctement: « l’effet d’un boycott dépend du degré d’organisation et d’éducation qui a eu lieu aux États-Unis » (pour nous : en Belgique et en Europe).

(9) Finalement, il faut le dire, pour tous ceux qui ont choisi d’être solidaires de manière pacifique avec le peuple palestinien, il n’y a pas d’alternative au boycott. Le dialogue, la coopération et les négociations de plusieurs années avec les autorités israéliennes n’ont réalisé aucun résultat, tout au contraire : la situation s’est continuellement empirée (p.ex. la dernière nouvelle d’AURDIP, 20/5/2015 - : « Le ministère israélien de la défense vient de décider d’interdire aux 92.000 Palestiniens de Cisjordanie se rendant chaque jour en Israël pour y travailler, de façon légale ou illégale, d’utiliser les mêmes autobus que les Israéliens pour revenir chez eux. Sans doute gêné par les réactions à cette décision qui ne constitue qu’une étape supplémentaire dans l’instauration de l’apartheid, Benyamin Nétanyahou en a suspendu provisoirement l’application, mais celle-ci va désormais planer comme une menace sur la population palestinienne. La ségrégation viendrait-elle donc s’ajouter à la séparation déjà établie par le Mur et les checkpoints, et au processus de colonisation qui ne cesse de s’étendre ?»). Or, ce n’est pas le boycott qui est responsable de l’apartheid, de l’épuration ethnique, du cancer toujours croissant des « settlements », du racisme et extrémisme rampants, des démolitions de maisons et de villages, de la persécution et la violence armée à l’encontre de la population palestinienne... C’est au contraire la logique interne du settler-colonialisme qui a amené et amènera encore cette réalité perverse. À long terme il n’y a que le boycott de la part de la communauté internationale, comme un moyen non-violent et moral, qui pourra apporter un changement réel.

16. Des académiques et artistes israéliens étant presque les seuls voix critiques ou modérées qui nous restent à l'intérieur d'Israël, ne risquons-nous pas de nous les aliéner à cause du boycott académique et culturel?
(a) La première chose qu'il faut souligner, c'est que la campagne internationale du boycott se veut être en tout premier lieu un acte positif de solidarité avec la société civile palestinienne. Il s'agit ici d'un choix moral de principe. Au moyen du boycott nous réclamons la fin de l’occupation militaire, de la discrimination envers les Arabes israéliens qui représentent 20 % de la population, et l’application de la résolution 194 de l’ONU sur le droit de retour des réfugiés.

(b) Les pays occidentaux refusant d’imposer à Israël des sanctions diplomatiques pour son non-respect du droit international, le boycott est la seule tactique effective, à notre avis, en vue de mettre fin un jour à la politique palestinienne d'Israël. Comme tel, il vise tout d'abord l'État, ses institutions ainsi que leurs représentants. Toutefois, comme Israël est une démocratie, il est raisonnable que nous nous adressons aussi, au moyen du boycott, à l'ensemble de la société israélienne. Le boycott en effet est aussi une pédagogie: il s'agit de faire prendre conscience aux électeurs israéliens qu'ils sont citoyens et donc en partie responsables d'une politique qui occupe, humilie, colonise et agresse un autre peuple; et que leurs enfants participent activement à cette politique via leur mobilisation dans l'armée, y jouant le rôle, non de défenseurs de leur patrie mais de géôliers, oppresseurs et, trop souvent, de bourreaux d'une population emprisonnée et sans défense (un exemple récent, le meurtre d'une étudiante: "Evidence obtained by Amnesty International indicates that the killing of Hadeel al-Hashlamoun by Israeli forces in Al-Khalil/Hebron, in the occupied West Bank, on 22 September 2015 was an extrajudicial execution": cliquez ici; cette année-ci, seulement dans le mois d'octobre déjà 73 adolescents ont été tués par l'IOF, Israeli Occupying Forces).[1] Au moyen du boycott, en d'autres termes, il nous faut élever le "prix" (tout d'abord moral) de l'occupation pour la société civile israélienne. Ou comme l'écrit Roy ISACOWITZ ("Target me with your boycott, please", Haaretz, 2 juillet 2015, cliquez ici): "The prime goal of the boycott against Israel, therefore, is to persuade the bulk of Israelis that the occupation is not in their interests. [...] It follows that boycotting only the settlements and their commerce, as many on the Israeli left suggest, makes no sense".

(c) Dans une telle perspective il est inévitable que le boycott touche aussi ceux des citoyens israéliens qui, d'une manière ou d'une autre, critiquent la politique d'occupation et d'apartheid, ou même s'y opposent. C'est le cas, bien sûr, pour ceux qui se sont engagés dans les nombreux mouvements de paix et des droits humains (voir la liste sur notre page des liens), pour les intellectuels et journalistes critiques (Gideon Levy, Amira Hass e.a.), et de même pour les artistes, écrivains, travailleurs culturels ainsi qu'académiques et chercheurs "dissidents". Alors, ne risquons-nous pas, avec le boycott, de les décourager et/ou de nous les aliéner? N'est-il donc pas préférable, plutôt que de boycotter, de dialoguer et de nous "engager" activement à côté d'eux de façon publique ou officielle? P.ex. en participant à des conférences universitaires en Israël ou à des festivals publics?

(d) Il faut d'abord souligner qu'à la différence avec l'Afrique du Sud d'antan la mesure dans laquelle des citoyens israéliens (juifs) ont la possibilité de soutenir ouvertement des actions concrètes en liaison avec le peuple palestinien est fortement limitée. D'une part, le Mur de séparation ainsi que les multiples barrages séparent physiquement les Israéliens des Palestiniens et réduisent la Palestine à autant de "Bantustans" (ou "Gazas") qui sont pratiquement hors d'atteinte pour un civil israélien. D'autre part la Cour suprême israélienne vient de valider la loi contre le boycott. En combinaison avec d'autres mesures législatives de la part du Knesset, il s'agit de criminaliser et mettre hors la loi toute solidarité avec le peuple palestinien.

(e) Quant au monde académique aussi bien qu'artistique et culturel, des mesures autoritaires renderont l'expression publique du refus de la politique d'occupation - p.ex. pour le théâtre: refuser d'aller jouer dans la colonie d'Ariel - de plus en plus difficile. Nous pensons à des actions comme celle des artistes israéliens signant en masse une lettre de protestation ("La lettre noire") réagissante contre la politique culturelle autoritaire de la nouvelle ministre de culture (voir l'article dans Haaretz du 15 juin 2015: "David Grossman: Culture Minister Turning Israel Into a Militant, Fundamentalist Sect. Prominent author says Miri Regev does not understand her job, favors Jewishness and Israeliness over freedom of expression", cliquez ici). En ce qui concerne les universités, il y a déjà cinq ans, il y circulait une pétition contre la loi alors imminente interdisant toute forme de boycott; à ce moment, elle a récolté les signatures de plus de 700 académiques israéliens, voir ici. Le Knesset, il va sans dire, ne les a pas écouté et depuis lors le boycott (plus en particulier le boycott académique) vient d'être condamné, entre autres par le président de l'État, comme constituant une "menace stratégique" pour l'existence même d'Israël (voir ici). Un ministre a été nommé pour coordiner le combat...

(f) Ensuite, il faut, d'une part, être réaliste: toutes ces années d' "engagement" positif et officiel avec des partenaires en Israël n'ont apporté aucune amélioration à la situation des Palestiniens. Au contraire, ces engagements publics - sous la forme de conférences, discussions, rencontres, coopérations institutionnelles, etc. - ont été intégrés dans la stratégie de l'État hébreu afin de contribuer à perpétuer sa politique d'apartheid et d'occupation (voir l'article de Haim Bresheeth & Sherna Berger Gluck, "On the Fallacy of ‘Engaging’ with the Israeli Academy", CounterPunch, 20/9/2013: cliquez ici). D'autre part, il est permis, nous croyons, d'expecter que les dissidents israéliens, où qu'ils se trouvent dans la société, comprennent, acceptent ou même accueillent la tactique du boycott international (voir p.ex. Michel Warschawski, "Boycottez-nous!", cliquez ici; l'article de Roy Isacowitz, cité plus haut, ainsi que: "Israeli citizens for boycott call on Reykjavik to stand by its decision", Mondoweiss, Sept 22, 2015: cliquez ici). En ce qui concerne le monde académique et artistique, nous disposons de témoignages qui confirment cette expectation (voir, pour une liste de "dissidents", encore une fois la page des liens). En tout cas, il nous faut expliquer aux collègues qu'avec le boycott nous menons le même combat qu'eux (1) pour la liberté d'expression aussi bien en Israël qu'en Palestine, et (2) surtout, que nous menons le même combat pour mettre fin à la politique d'occupation colonialiste.

(g) Finalement et contrairement aux objections qui nous sont régulièrement faites, le boycott en tant que tel ne vise pas du tout les académiques ou artistes individuels, c-à-d au niveau des contactes, échanges de vue, collaborations, performances, etc. en dehors des activités ou engagements officialisés par leur institut ou État. Tout au contraire, il "favorise le dialogue constructif avec les collègues israéliens afin d'amener conjointement l'État d'Israël à respecter les lois internationales, et ce, dans le même esprit que celui de l'appel à la résistance commune émis par les universitaires (et artistes) palestiniens qui ont lancé l'initiative PACBI" (voir notre déclaration de principe: cliquez ici).

PS 1: Les opposants "éclairés" ou "modérés" du boycott nous accusent aussi de faire le jeu de la droite et des extrémistes israéliens, ceux-ci cultivant le sentiment que "tout le monde est contre nous" (voir p.ex. Dan Rabinowitz, "Why the BDS Campaign Can’t Tolerate Israeli Moderates", Haaretz, 3 novembre 2015: cliquez ici). Or cette idée que le boycott soit contre-productif parce qu'il renforcerait la "droite israélienne" aux dépens de la gauche, présuppose l'existence politique d'une gauche alternative et crédible. Hélas, cela n'est pas le cas: Isaac Herzog, le leader de Labor, parti qui historiquement représente la gauche israélienne, a mené une campagne, aux dernières élections, arborant un racisme anti-arabe sans-gêne; il a soutenu la troisième guerre contre la Bande de Gaza, etc. (voire Edo Konrad, "Why the 'hijacking' of Israeli democracy is a myth", +972, 8 novembre 2015, cliquez ici). Peut-être il faut conclure que la gauche ne fournit-elle qu'une feuille de figuier à l'oppression des Palestiniens? En tout état de cause, ce n'est pas le boycott qui est à l'origine de la droite extrémiste et raciste en Israël, celle-ci ayant maintenant des représentants dans le gouvernement. Il s'agit plutôt d'une logique interne propre à un état colonial ayant été établi sur la base d'une ethnocratie et la dépossession d'un peuple indigène. Cette droite extrémiste a pour but final de compléter le projet sioniste en expulsant les Palestiniens une seconde fois, vers la Transjordanie.

PS 2: Mais peut-être n'est-ce qu'un mythe, que les milieux académiques et artistiques israéliens abritent un plus grand pourcentage de voix critiques à l'occupation? Comme le remarquait Omar Barghouti (dans son exposé à l'Université de Gand), en tout cas en ce qui concerne l'académie, il faut accepter que l'on y trouve la même diversité et proportion d'opinions politiques que dans la société israélienne en général? Tout comme c'est le cas pour nos propres universités.


[1] Between Oct 1 and Dec 18 the Israeli army killed 127 Palestinians, including 25 children and six women, while around 14.740 have been injured, including at least 4.698 with live fire and rubber-coated steel bullets (IMEMC, Dec 19, 2015).


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