A Call For The Academic Boycott Of Israel.
Update: 14th January, 2017.
1. This year it will be 70 years ago, in 1947, that the UN adopted the partition plan of Palestine (followed in 1948 by the Nakba or Catastrophe). Also, it will be 50 years ago, in 1967, that the Israeli State began its occupation and colonization of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. Today, the Palestinians continue being deprived of their basic rights to a free, peaceful and dignified life. The Israeli police and army forces, in their daily “routine” of repression, continue violating international law and human rights. 274 Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire since the outbreak of the “youth intifada” (October 2015), including 78 children and 24 women including 12 minors. Some 7,000 Palestinians, among them nearly 400 children, are being incarcerated in Israeli prisons and subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment and even torture. Meanwhile, Israel demolishes more Palestinian homes and buildings - in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as well as in Israel itself - than in any year since 2009.
Every night, adults and children are terrorized by armed Israeli soldiers bursting into their homes, ransacking them and kidnapping men and/or children. Every day, while queueing many hours a day at hundreds of checkpoints, men, women and children, besides being robbed of their time and their life, are subjected to racist humiliations, arbitrariness and violence (eventually: to being killed) from armed soldiers and border police. In the Gaza Strip, almost three years after the last murderous war, its nearly 2 million inhabitants hardly survive under an unabated barbarous, medieval blockade that is almost 10 years old. With the devastations of homes and infrastructure (electricity, water, health care...), the inhuman conditions of life (especially for children) and the recurrent military attacks, the hopelessness of the situation is hallucinatory. Since that situation is politically manufactured by Israel, a "genocidal intent" cannot be excluded right away. The Palestinian refugees and their descendants, finally, continue pining away in their camps in the Arab world, their disastrous plight being further worsened by the war in Syria.
2. There is more to Israel’s policies of oppression than just military occupation and settlements. Palestinians are confronted, since 1948, with a coordinated policy of dispossession of Palestine: dispossession of its territory, its natural and material resources and its economy, destruction of its urban patrimony and its landscapes, erasure of its history, its culture and its identity. In short, what is aimed at by their occupiers, is the complete dismemberment of Palestine's social and political fabric. The Israeli sociologist, Baruch Kimmerling, coined the word “politicide” for it. Ethnic cleansing going on, the remaining Palestinians, they are told, should resign themselves “to live like dogs” (Moshe Dayan, 1967), without dignity, in separate, powerless Bantustans.
The Israeli State is a military superpower and is engaged in a war against civilians. No acceptable reason can be thought of, either from a military, a political, a juridical or a moral point of view, why it should not comply with international law and its fundamental ethical principles. Israel’s “exceptionalism” and impunity should be ended forthwith. Resolution 2334 of the Security Council, December 23, 2016, made it clear that the whole world condemns Israel’s colonialist policies. Alas, neither measures for its enforcement nor sanctions if refused were provided for.
3. Universities are an important institutional pillar of Israeli militaristic society, contributing to legitimatize and facilitate its policies of oppression and apartheid. The IDF, safeguarding its organic link with the universities, is often physically present on campuses. Many academics, at the same time, hold a military rank (reserve) and universities offer special courses for the benefit of defense and security operatives (like those of the secret service or Shin Bet). Major universities (Tel Aviv, Bar-Ilan...) accommodate a semi-military research center dedicated to Israel's "national security".
Technologically, universities are part of the military-industrial complex: 'Technion', e.g., collaborates closely with Israel’s four greatest arms factories and contributes actively to the development of high tech weapon systems (e.g. combat drone technologies). It even provides a course for the benefit of future weapons salesmen. These salesmen enjoy an important advantage, anyway, in comparison with their international competitors: they are able to recommend their products for being “field-tested” and fine-tuned in the Occupied Territories, the latter serving as its “laboratory” with almost 5 million Palestinians as its “lab-rats”. The same goes, mutatis mutandis, for Israeli “security” technology: thanks to the collaboration between universities, the technology sector, the IDF intelligence services and "homeland security" companies, Israel is developing itself more and more into a global hub in matters of security.
4. The strategic importance for Israel of science and technology explains why the academic boycott is provoking more ideological and political hysteria from Israel's establishment and it lobbies abroad than the economic BDS. It contributes, one could say, to unmask the ideological infrastructure of the settler-colonial State. En plus, scientific and high-tech achievements (as well as artistic products) are an essential part of the “Brand Israel” campaign. Launched in 2005, it is meant to make Israel presentable to a western public as being a "normal", modern, western and “hip” country (veiling, though, Israel’s real sociological composition).
Not one Israeli university or faculty ever distanced itself from the occupation, the murderous invasions of Gaza or the blockade, never mind that it would have protested publicly. On the contrary: they applauded the wars and remunerated their student-soldiers participating in them. Not even one of them expressed its solidarity with their Palestinian colleagues suffering from discriminations. A number, though, of courageous Israeli colleagues did criticize the colonial policies of their country, some of them supporting the boycott campaign ("Boycott from Within"). Alas, they are few in numbers (some hundreds on a total of some 9,000). Today, they are silenced, mostly, if not dismissed, after an orchestrated campaign of hatred against them. Our boycott campaign should hearten them as well.
5. One of the foremost victims of Israeli colonial policies is the Palestinians’ right to future-oriented education and research. In boycott discussions the flag of “academic freedom” is often raised but almost never on behalf of the Palestinian academics and students. Nonetheless, it is their academic freedom that is violated daily. Their right to mobility and academic collaboration (nationally as well as internationally) is more and more restricted by the occupier. When protesting, lecturers and students risk being beaten up (sometimes even shot at), arrested and incarcerated. Not rarely, campuses are stormed by heavily armed Israeli troops shooting tear gas canisters etc., and their infrastructure, archives and libraries are ransacked. Recently, Al-Quds, Kadoorie and Birzeit Universities were subjected to this kind of willful hooliganism.
6. Religious extremists are in power today, in Israel, and its society is becoming “extremely brainwashed and nationalistic, religious, right-wing and even racist, more and more”. So, “the only way to change things in Israeli policy will be only by pressure from the outside” (Israeli journalist, Gideon Levy). As long as international sanctions fail to materialize, Palestinians’ hopes are vested in the international BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) campaign they called for. It should play as important a role as did the global boycott of South Africa in ending apartheid there. Within BDS, the academic and cultural boycott campaign as well was launched by Palestinian civil society. Guided by PACBI, it gets a hearing in more and more universities in the world.
7. The academic boycott campaign is directed at Israeli academic institutions for their deep collusion with the occupation army's crimes against international humanitarian law. Boycott, however, is not an end in itself but a tactic, i.e. a means towards helping the Palestinians to achieve their human rights. At the same time we pledge our academic and moral solidarity with and support for our Palestinian embattled colleagues and students. Thanks to their much-praised “sumud” or resilience, Palestinians, wherever they live, persist standing up as a society, in spite of all the evil that is being done to them. They are counting on our solidarity. Let us stand with them.
BACBI‘s call has been endorsed until now by 478 colleagues from all Belgian universities. Our Statement of Principles emphasizes that the boycott is directed at Israel’s academic institutions but nót at collaborating with individual Israeli scholars (unless special sponsoring by an institution or the Israeli State is explicitly called for). Not included under the boycott either: participation in scientific networks having Israeli researchers among its partners as well.
Statement of Principles: bacbi-statement.htm.
Please endorse the Statement by signing the form on: bacbi-sign.htm.
BACBI's coordinating committee: Prof. Marie-Christine Closon (UCLouvain), Prof. Patrick Deboosere (VUBrussel), Dr. Pascal Debruyne (UGent), Prof. Lieven De Cauter (KULeuven), Em.Prof. Herman De Ley (UGent), Lieve Franssen (director Brussels Brecht-Eislerkoor), Carl Gydé (director CAMPO), Prof. Perrine Humblet (ULBruxelles), Prof. Marc Jacquemain (ULiège), Raven Ruëll (regisseur).
Voor het archief klik hier!
- *Amira HASS: "Israeli Settlers Kill a Sheep in Latest Escalation in Jordan Valley, Palestinians Say" (Haaretz, Feb 18, 2017).
- "Israel aims to ‘Judaize’ historical Bethlehem village" (Middle East Monitor, Jan 13, 2017).
- Nasouh NAZZAL: "Israel’s pesticide war on Gazan farmers" (Gulf News Palestine, Dec 26, 2016).
- Emily MULDER: "Israeli guard: 'Go from this land or I will kill you'" (Al Jazeera, Dec 26, 2016).
- "A six-year-old Palestinian girl killed after being run over by Israeli settler" (Middle East Children Alliance, 2016).
- Gideon LEVY & Alex LEVAC: "In Some of the Israeli Army's Raids, Leaving Empty-handed Is Not an Option" (Haaretz, Aug 27, 2016).
- "Israeli settlers attack Palestinian girl in Ramallah, stab and kill her sheep" (Ma'an, Aug 5, 2016).
- "Un enfant palestinien [de 12 ans] tué par des soldats israéliens" (Libération, 19 juillet 2016).
- Kit O'CONNELL: "Israel Cutting Palestinians Off From Their Own Water Supply" (MintPress News, June 30, 2016).
- "Israeli Soldiers Kill A Palestinian Child Near Ramallah" (IMEMC, June 21, 2016).
- Edo KONRAD: "Tel Aviv mayor says the occupation is a cause of Palestinian terror" (+972, June 9, 2016).
- "After being shot three days ago by IOF, Palestinian youth dies from injuries" (Palestinian Information Center, June 6, 2016).
- Palestine PMO: Israel’s destruction of Palestinian water infrastructure is atrocious (Palestine News Network, May 26, 2016).
- Again, settlers burn Palestinian farms in West Bank (Days of Palestine, May 16, 2016).
- Michal ZAK: "Third intifada, terror wave, the 'situation': Just don't mention the 'O' word to Israelis" (Middle East Eye, March 13, 2016).
- Jon QUEALLY: "Brother and Sister, Children Aged 10 and 6, Killed by Israeli Bombing in Gaza" (Common Dreams, March 13, 2016).
- Jonathan COOK: "Aid subversion report makes for shocking reading" (The National, March 7, 2016).
- "Palestijns meisje van 13 geëxecuteerd" (alexandrina.nl, 23 jan, 2016).
- "UN decries Abu Nuwar demolitions, calls for immediate end to planned transfers" (Medical Aid for Palestinians, MAP, Jan 20, 2016).
- Julie PUTSEYS: "Palestijnse empowerment op Israëlische scholen." Geen gelijke kansen zonder evenwaardig onderwijs. Zo denkt de Arabisch-Israëlische professor Dalia Fadila er alleszins over. (MO*, 10 Jan 2016).
- Uri SAVIR: "Why solving Israel-Palestine conflict is still key for regional stability" (Al-Monitor, Jan 3, 2016).
- C.J.WERLEMAN: "The road to hell is paved with 'national security'". Israel is turning the West’s fixation on the Islamic State group into an opportunity to expand its apartheid laws and militarisation of the West Bank (Middle East Eye, Jan 1, 2016).
- Mazal MUALEM: "'Hate wedding' video offers glimpse at Jewish terror" (Al-Monitor, Dec 28, 2015).
- Maureen Clare MURPHY: "Catastrophe for Syrians and Palestinians alike in war-ravaged country" (The Electronic Intifada, Dec 23, 2015).
- Shlomi ELDAR: "Why the US is part of Middle East problem, not the solution". Interview with Ayman Odeh (Al-Monitor, Dec 14, 2015).
- Philip WEISS: "Obama’s ISIS czar says we can’t defeat extremism without resolving Palestinian issue" (Mondoweiss, Dec 14, 2015).
- Uri SAVIR: "How the Islamic State hurts Palestinian cause" (Al-Monitor, Dec 6, 2015).
- Al Jazeera: "Gaza's crumbling healthcare system" (Yahoo.com, Dec 8, 2015).
- Nurit CANETTI: "The radicalization of Israel" (Al-Monitor, Dec 2, 2015).
- Kate: "Prominent Israeli settler runs over 16-year-old girl, then shoots her dead" (Mondoweiss, Nov 23, 2015).
- Gideon LEVY: "So These Are Israel's New Heroes?" Israel's recent military operations in Palestinian hospitals are a blatant violation of the Geneva Convention, and make you wonder how low the country can sink (Haaretz, Nov 21, 2015).
- Philip WEISS: "The best way for Americans to defeat the Islamic state is to end support for Jewish nationalism" (Mondoweiss, Nov 15, 2015).
- Ahmed MOOR: "The Problem of Palestine is Zionism" (Fair Observer, Nov 11, 2015).
- Miko PELED: "Zionism is racism: Notes from Tel-Rumeida, Hebron, El-Khalil" (American Herald Tribune, Nov 13, 2015).
- Megan HANNA: "‘It Has Become A Prison’: The ghettoization of Hebron" (Mondoweiss, Nov 11, 2015).
- Avigail ABARBANEL: "Netanyahu’s craziness is calculated, to drive out Palestinians" (Mondoweiss, Nov 5, 2015).
- Michel WARSCHAWSKI: "La jeunesse palestinienne à couteaux tirés avec Israël" (Orient XXI, 15 Oct 2015).
- Kamel HAWWASH: "Palestinians have a problem with occupiers not (with) Jews" (MEMO, Oct 30, 2015).
- "Palestijnse baby vermoord met traangas" (Alexandrina, Oct 31, 2015).
- Ali ABUNIMAH: "Israel’s executions of Palestinian teens must end, Amnesty says" (The Electronic Intifada, Oct 28, 2015).
- Killian REDDEN: "Hebron at eye of the storm as death toll rises" (Ma'an News Agency, Oct 26, 2015).
- "Netanyahu Shamelessly Exploits the Shoah to Stoke Fear of Palestinians" (Jewish Voice for Peace, Oct 21, 2015).
- Amos GVIRTZ: "From Unilateral- to Bilateral War - or: How the Palestinians Fight to Prevent Being Expelled From the Country" (Occupation Magazine, Oct 20, 2015).
- Noam SHEIZAF: "Jerusalem, in context" (+972, October 19, 2015). "The current events in Jerusalem have a political history and context. Attempts to attribute the violence to some kind of Palestinian pathology while ignoring other factors is a recipe for making things worse."
- Meron RAPOPORT: "The paradox of Jerusalem" (Middle East Eye, October 17, 2015).