Indian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel

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Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French... What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct.

 

Mahatma Gandhi

Editorial, The Harijan, 26-11-1938

Campaign to Boycott the Oral History Conference at Hebrew University of Jerusalem

CAMPAIGN TO BOYCOTT THE ORAL HISTORY CONFERENCE AT HEBREW UNIVERSITY OF JERUSALEM

hebrewUconferenceboycott@gmail.com

August 12, 2013 (signatures updated September 9, 2013)

Dear Colleagues:

We are a group of Palestinian, Israeli, and other oral historians and academics from Europe, South Africa, and North America calling on you to boycott the June 2014 ‘International Conference on Oral History’ organised by the Oral History Division of the Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. While all Israeli universities are deeply complicit in the occupation, settler-colonialism, and apartheid, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is particularly noteworthy, as we explain below. 

Your actions have a direct impact on our joint struggle for a just peace in Palestine-Israel and on our solidarity with fellow Palestinian academics whose universities have been closed down, blockaded and even bombed by Israeli aircraft in the last three decades; universities which have been subjected to a lengthy and brutal Israeli occupation in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza.

Specifically, the land on which some of its Mount Scopus campus buildings and facilities were expanded was acquired as a result of Israel’s 1968 illegal confiscation of 3345 dunums of Palestinian land. [1] This confiscated land in East Jerusalem is occupied territory according to international law. Israel's unilateral annexation of occupied East Jerusalem into the State of Israel, and the application of Israeli domestic law to it, are violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and have been repeatedly denounced as null and void by the international community, including by the UN Security Council (Resolution 252, 21 May 1968). Moving Israeli staff and students to work and live on occupied Palestinian land places the Hebrew University in grave violation of the Fourth Geneva Conventions.

Further, the university is complicit in the unequal treatment of Palestinians, including those who are citizens of Israel. [2] For instance, it does not provide teaching services to the residents of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas in contrast to those provided to Jewish groups; no courses are offered in Arabic. [3] Additionally, the Hebrew University has chosen to remain silent when the entire population of Gaza has been excluded from the possibility to enrol and study in the university by the Israeli government. Palestinian students from Gaza have a better chance of getting into a university in the U.S than into Hebrew University.

The Hebrew University administration restricts the freedom of speech and protest of its few Palestinian students. For example, it had forbidden a commemoration event for the invasion of the Gaza Strip in 2008-2009 in which about 1,400 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli forces. [4] On the other hand, the Hebrew University offered special considerations and benefits to students who participated in that invasion as soldiers.

In December 2012 Israel’s Minister of Defence approved recognition of Ariel University in the illegal colony of Ariel as an Israeli university in the Israeli academic system. As a result, staff from the Hebrew University take part in the supervision and promotion committees of students and staff from the colonial university of Ariel; and the (Jewish only) staff takes part in the supervision and in promotion committees for Hebrew University students and staff. The Hebrew University recognizes academic degrees awarded by the Ariel University, which is built on confiscated Palestinian land and surrounded by Palestinian communities, but does not recognize degrees awarded by the nearby Al-Quds University. [5]

Ironically, the oral history conference is organised by an institute named after Avraham Harman, President of the Hebrew University from 1968 to 1983. As President of the Hebrew University he was directly responsible for the rebuilding and expansion of the original campus on Mount Scopus built on land illegally confiscated from Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

At a time when the international movement to boycott Israeli academic and cultural institutions is gaining ground in response to Israel’s flagrant and persistent infringement of Palestinian human and political rights, we urge scholars and professionals to reflect upon the implications of taking part in a conference at a complicit institution, and to refrain from such participation. The conference is an attempt to improve the image and reputation of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the West and to cover up for the fact that the university is closely associated with Israeli annexation and ‘Separation/Apartheid Wall’ policies—policies that were strongly condemned on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice in The Hague.[6]

Since the hegemonic world powers are actively complicit in enabling and perpetuating Israel’s colonial and oppressive policies, we believe that the only avenue open to achieving justice and upholding international law is sustained work on the part of Palestinian and international civil society to put pressure on Israel and its complicit institutions to end this oppression.  

Inspired by the successful cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa, and supported by key Palestinian unions and cultural groups, in 2004, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) issued a call for the academic and cultural boycott of institutions involved in Israel’s system of occupation, colonialism and apartheid. The Palestinian call appealed to the international academic community, among other things, to “refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions” [7]. 

Following this, in 2005, an overwhelming majority in Palestinian civil society called for an all-encompassing BDS campaign based on the principles of human rights, justice, freedom and equality [8]. The BDS movement adopts a nonviolent, morally consistent strategy to hold Israel accountable to the same human rights and international law standards as other nations. It is asking the international academic community to heed the boycott call, as it did in the struggle against South African apartheid, until “Israel withDr.aws from all the lands occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem; removes all its colonies in those lands; agrees to United Nations resolutions relevant to the restitution of Palestinian refugees rights; and dismantles its system of apartheid" [9].

Paralleling the Apartheid era boycott of complicit South African universities, we believe that participation in academic conferences or similar events in Israel - regardless of intentions- can only contribute to the prolongation of this injustice by normalizing and thereby legitimizing it. It inadvertently contributes to Israel's efforts to appear as a normal participant in the world of scholarship while at the same time it practices the most pernicious form of colonial control and legalized racial discrimination against Palestinians.

Until Israel fully complies with international laws and conventions, we sincerely hope that international academics will not participate in endorsing their violations and the basic human rights of Palestinians – even if inadvertently. We call on our colleagues to treat Israel exactly the same way that most of the world treated racist South Africa - or indeed any other state that legislates and practices apartheid: as a pariah state. Only then can Palestinians hope for a just peace based on international law, respect for human rights, and, more crucially, on the fundamental principle of equality for all, irrespective of ethnicity, religion or other identity considerations. 

We, therefore, urge you to boycott the Hebrew University of Jerusalem oral history conference and to call on your colleagues to refuse to participate in it; to refuse to cross the Palestinian picket line.   

[Note: All footnotes are at the end of the document following a note on academic freedom.]

Sincerely,

  1. Professor Ahmed Abbes, Directeur de Recherche au CNRS, Bures-sur-Yvette, France
  2. Professor  Saleh Abdel Jawad (Hamayel), Birzeit University, Palestine
  3. Dr. Adnan Abdelrazek - The Arab Studies Society – Jerusalem, Palestine
  4. Dr. Faiha Abdulhadi, Independent researcher, writer, poet, Palestine
  5. Professor Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative - College of Ethnic Studies, San Francisco State University, USA
  6. Professor Nadia Abu el Haj, Barnard/Columbia University, USA
  7. Professor Lila Abu-Lughod, Columbia University, New York, USA
  8. Dr. Salman Abu Sitta, Researcher, UK
  9. Professor Ghada Ageel, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  10. Professor Mumtaz Ahmad, Vice President (Academic Affairs), International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan 
  11. Dr. Anaheed Al-Hardan, ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Germany
  12. Professor Bayan Nuwayhed al-Hout, Lebanese University, Beirut, Lebanon   
  13. Majeda Al-Saqqa, Culture and Free Thought Association, Khan Younis, Gaza, Palestine
  14. Professor (emeritus) Mateo Alaluf, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
  15. Professor Ammiel Alcalay, Queens College, City of New York, USA
  16. Dr. Diana Allan, Society for the Humanities, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA
  17. Professor Lori Allen, University of Cambridge, England
  18. Professor Nina Allen, Suffolk University, Boston, USA
  19. Dr.  Miriyam Aouragh, CAMRI, University of Westminster, UK 
  20. Professor (retired) William Ayers, University of Illinois-Chicago; Cyprus Oral History Project, USA
  21. Professor Alice Bach (retired) Archbishop Hallinan Professor of Religious Studies
    Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland OH, USA
  22. Gustavo Barbosa, PhD candidate, London School of Economics, UK
  23. Professor Amjad Barham, Hebron University, President of the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees, Palestine
  24. Ryvka Barnard, Doctoral student, New York University, USA
  25. Professor Oren Ben-Dor, Southampton University, England
  26. Julie Benedetto, student, Institut d’Etudes Politiques, Lyon, France
  27. Specialist Israel Morales Benito, University of Alicante, Spain
  28. David Beorlegui, PhD candidate,  Basque Country University, Spain
  29. Professor Dusan I. Bjelic, Department of Criminology, University of Southern Maine, USA
  30. Dr. Susan Blackwell, Independant language consultant, Birmingham UK
  31. Professor Hagit Borer, Queen Mary, University of London, England
  32. Professor (emerita) Joanna Bornat , Open University, UK
  33. Dr. Samia Botmeh, Birzeit University, Palestine
  34. Professor Glenn Bowman, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK
  35. Dr. Robert Boyce, London School of Economics and Political Science, London University, UK
  36. Professor Haim Bresheeth, SOAS, University of London, England
  37. Dr. Khaldun Bshara, scholar, Riwaq Centre, Ramallah, Palestine 
  38. Professor (emeritus) Jacques Bude, Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
  39. Professor Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley, USA
  40. Professor Iain Chambers, Università degli Studi di Napoli, "L'Orientale," Italy
  41. Professor  Michael Chanan, University of Roehampton, England
  42. Professor Elise Chenier, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada             
  43. Dr Indira Chowdhury, IOHA Council member; Centre for Public History - Bangalore, India
  44. Nikoletta Christodoulou, Frederick University, Nicosia; Cyprus Oral History Project, Cyprus
  45. Professor (retired) Raymonde Cloutier, University of Quebec (UQAM), Montreal,  Canada
  46. Dr. Jane Collings, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
  47. Professor Miriam Cooke, Braxton Craven Professor of Arab Cultures, Duke University, USA
  48. Susan Currie, PhD student, Central Queensland University, Australia
  49. Mike Cushman, Independent researcher, London, England
  50. Professor Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University, New York, USA
  51. Professor Nabil Dajani,  American University of Beirut, Lebanon
  52. Professor (emeritus) Eric David, Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
  53. Professor Lawrence Davidson, West Chester University, USA
  54. Dr. Uri Davis, AL-QUDS University, Jerusalem, Palestine
  55. Professor (emerita) Sonia  Dayan-Herzbrun,  Université Paris, France
  56. Prof Philippe Denis, Sinomlando Centre for Oral History and Memory Work in Africa, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
  57. Rafel Gustavo de Oliveira,  MSc student, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil
  58. Professor Anne-Marie Dillens, University Saint-Louis, Brussels, Belgium     
  59. Professor John Docker, University of Sydney, Australia
  60. Professor Chris Dole, Amherst College, USA
  61. Professor Ann Douglas, Columbia University, New York, USA
  62. Professor Haidar Eid, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza, Palestine
  63. Oroub El-Abed, Senior Teaching Fellow SOAS, London University, UK
  64. Professor Nada Elia, Antioch University-Seattle, Washington, USA
  65. Professor Hoda Elsadda, Cairo University, Egypt
  66. Professor Samera Esmeir, University of California, Berkeley, USA
  67. Professor Randa Farah, University of Western Ontario, Canada
  68. Professor (emeritus), Emmanuel Farjoun, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem,  Israel
  69. Arie Finkelstein, student, Université  Paris Est, France
  70. Professor Ellen Fleischmann, University of Dayton, Ohio, USA
  71. Senior Scholar Bill Fletcher, Jr., Institute for Policy Studies; former President, TransAfrica Forum, Washington, DC, USA
  72. Professor Manzar Foroohar, California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, USA
  73. Professor (emeritus) Giorgio Forti, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy
  74. Dr. Naomi Foyle, Coordinator of British Writers In Support of Palestine, UK              
  75. Professor Cynthia Franklin, University of Hawaiʻi
  76. Professor Candace Fujikane, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu
  77. Professor Jose Maria Gago Gonzalez, Member, Seminario de Fuentes Orales, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain 
  78. Professeur des Ecoles (en retraite) Marie Gérôme,  Ecole de Viuz,  Faverges, France
  79. Khalil Mohammad Gharra – student, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine
  80. Ana Ghoreishian, PhD student, University of Arizona, USA
  81. Dr. Terri Ginsberg, ICMES, New York, USA
  82. Professor (emerita) Sherna Berger Gluck, California State University, Long Beach, USA
  83. Professor Heather Goodall, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
  84. Professor (emeritus)  Yerach Gover, City University of New York, USA 
  85. Professor Michel Gros,  CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research,  Rennes, France
  86. Professor Regina Beatriz Guimarães Neto. Universidade Federal de Pernambuco; 2006-2008 President Brazilian Oral History Association, 2008-2010/Brazil
  87. Professor Ghassan Joseph Hage, University of Melbourne, Australia
  88. Professor (emerita) Elaine Hagopian, Simmons College, Boston, USA
  89. Professor (emerita) Sondra Hale, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
  90. Emad Hamdeh, PhD student, Exeter University, UK
  91. Lecturer Rola Hamed, University College,  Cork, Ireland
  92. Professor Carrie Hamilton, University of Roehampton, UK
  93. Professor Sari Hanafi, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
  94. Karen S. Harper, community oral historian, Historical Society of Long Beach, California, USA
  95. Professor Michael Harris, Université  Paris-Diderot, France
  96. Professor Salah D. Hassan, Michigan State University, Lansing, USA
  97. Professor Frances Hasso, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  98. Professor Sami Hermez, University of Pittsburgh, USA
  99. Professor Elena Hernández SandoicaUniversidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
  100. Shir Hever, Independent Economist/Researcher, Palestine-Israel
  101. Professor (emeritus) Nicholas Hopkins, American University-Cairo, Egypt
  102. Professor (emeritus ) Heinz Hurwitz, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
  103. Perla Issa, PhD candidate, Exeter University, UK
  104. Professor Ferran Izquierdo Brichs, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
  105. Professor Richard Jackson, National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago, NZ
  106. Hazem Jamjoum, PhD student, New York University, USA/Palestine
  107. Dr. Colleen Jankovic, US Film Scholar, Al-qaws organization, AlQuds/Jerusalem, Palestine
  108. Tineke E. Jansen, Independent researcher, former IOHA Council member, England
  109. Professor Rhoda Kanaaneh, Columbia University, New York, USA
  110. Professor, J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, USA
  111. Dr. Fatma Kassem, Independent researcher, Israel
  112. Professor Robin D. Kelley, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
  113. Professor Emeritus Douglas Kerr, Case Western Reserve University, USA
  114. Dr. Abdulhadi Khalaf, Senior Researcher (retired) Center of Middle East Studies, Lund University, Sweden
  115. Professor Tarif Khalidi, Center for Arab & ME Studies, American University, Beirut Lebanon
  116. Dr. Laleh Khalili, Reader in Politics, SOAS, University of London, England
  117. Dr. Agnes Khoo, Visiting Research Fellow, University of Leeds, UK
  118. Professor David Klein, California State University, Northridge, USA
  119. Dr. Dennis Kortheuer, California State University, Long Beach, USA
  120. Dr. C S Lakshmi,  SPARROW Sound & Picture Archives for Research on Women, Mumbai India
  121. Dr David Landy, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
  122. Zoe Lawlor, University of Limerick Language Centre, Ireland
  123. Professor Ronit Lentin, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
  124. Dr. Les Levidow, Open University, UK
  125. Professor Miren Llona, Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea; former Council member, IOHA, Spain
  126. Professor David Colles Lloyd, University of California, Riverside
  127. Arab Lotfi, film maker, university lecturer, journalist, writer, Lebanon
  128. Professor (emeritus) Moshé Machover, Kings College, University of London, England
  129. Hala Marshood, Student, Humanities Faculty, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine
  130. Professor Nur Masalha, SOAS, University of London, England
  131. Professor Joseph Massad, Columbia University, New York, USA
  132. Professor Dina Mattar, SOAS, University of London, England
  133. Dr. Willem Meijs, independent language consultant, Birmingham, UK
  134. Professor Anne Meneley, Trent University, Canada
  135. Meena R. Menon, author and oral historian, Delhi, India
  136. Professor William Messing, University of Minnesota, USA
  137. Jennifer Mogannam, Ph. D. candidate, University of California, San Diego
  138. Professor  Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Syracuse University, New York, USA
  139. Professor Shahrzad Mojab, University of Toronto, Canada
  140. Professor Antonio Montenegro, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil
  141. Professor Ahlam Muhtaseb, California State University, San Bernardino, USA
  142. Professor Suroopa Mukherjee,  University of Delhi,  India-
  143. Dr. Corinna Mullin, University of Tunis, Tunisia
  144. Professor (emerita) Martha Mundy, London School of Economics, UK
  145. Dr. Karma Nabulsi, University of Oxford, UK
  146. Professor Premilla Nadasen, Queens College, City of New York, USA
  147. Dr. Dorothy Naor, Independent researcher, Israel
  148. Dr. Marcy Newman, Independent Scholar, India
  149. Dr. Sonia Nimr, Birzeit University, Palestine
  150. Professor Isis Nusair, Denison University, Ohio, USA
  151. Professor Gary Y. Okihiro, Columbia University, New York, USA
  152. Hussein Omar, PhD student, University of Oxford, UK
  153. Dua’a Qurie, Executive Director, The Palestinian NGO Network, Ramallah, Palestine
  154. Imranali Panjwani, PhD student, Kings College, University of London, UK
  155. Professor Ilan Pappe, Exeter University, England
  156. Professor Paul Parker, Baltzer Distinguished Professor of Religion,  Elmhurst College, USA
  157. Professor Willie Van Peer, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany
  158. Dr. Ana Pego, Business and Economic Studies Department, Open University, Lisbon, Portugal
  159. Professor Sylvain Perdigon, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
  160. Professor Gabriel Piterberg, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
  161. Jorge Ramos Tolosa, researcher and professor, Universitat de València, Spain
  162. Professor Marwan Rashed, Université de Paris-IV Sorbonne, Paris
  163. Professor Stuart Rees, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia
  164. Professor (emerita) Hilary Rose, University of Bradford & Gresham College, London, UK
  165. Professor (emeritus) Steven Rose, Open University & Gresham College, London, UK
  166. Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, London School of Economics, University of London, UK
  167. Dr. Alice Rothchild, MD, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School, USA
  168. Professor Hanan Sabea, American University-Cairo, Egypt
  169. Professor Fatima Sadiqi, Senior Professor of Linguistics and Gender Studies; Co-founder, International Institute for Languages and Cultures (INLAC), Fez, Morocco 
  170. Ann Sado, Independent lecturer, former Board member, Japan Oral History Association, Tokyo
  171. Dr. Adel Samara, author, editor Kanaan Review, Occupied Palestine
  172. Professor Surajit Sarkar - Ambedkar University, Delhi. India
  173. Dr. Rosemary Sayigh, Center for Arab and ME Studies,American University of Beirut, Lebanon
  174. Professor (emeritus) Robert M. Schaible, University of Southern Maine, USA
  175. Professor (emeritus) Pierre Schapira, University Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France
  176. Dr. Leonardo Schiocchet, Guest Researcher, Institute for Social Anthropology at the Austrian Academy of Sciences,  Post-doctoral grantee CAPES, Brazil
  177. Professor Sarah Schulman, ACT UP Oral History Project, New York, USA 
  178. Professor (Emerita) Evalyn F. Segal, PhD, San Diego State University, USA
  179. Professor May Seikaly, Wayne State University, Detroit, USA
  180. Professor Sherene Seikaly, American University in Cairo, Egypt
  181. Professor Jihane Sfeir, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
  182. Dorothy Sheridan, Honorary Professor of History (retired), University of Sussex , UK.
  183. Dr. Magid Shihade, Birzeit University, Palestine
  184. Professor Anton Shammas, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA
  185. Professor Andor Skotnes, Chair, Dept. of History and Society, The Sage Colleges, Troy, NY, USA
  186. Dr. Kobi Snitz, Weizmann Institute, Israel
  187. Professor Dean Spade, Seattle University School of Law, Washington, USA
  188. Dr. Jane Starfield, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
  189. Professor Ted Steinberg, Case Western Reserve University, USA
  190. Dr. Ziad Suidan, Independent scholar, USA
  191. Rabah Tahraoui ,Professeur ,Université de Rouen, France
  192. Professor Ghada Talhami, Lake Forest College, Illinois, USA
  193. Professor Lisa Taraki, Birzeit University, Palestine
  194. Sibel Taylor, PhD candidate, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, England
  195. Professor Sunera Thobani, University of British Columbia, Canada
  196. Professor Barry Trachtenberg, University of Albany, New York, USA
  197. Professor Salim Vally, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
  198. Naomi Wallace, Independent scholar, award-winning playwright, UK/USA
  199. Professor Mark R. Westmoreland, American University Cairo, Egypt
  200. Professor Dean Spade, Seattle University School of Law, Washington, USA
  201. Dr. Patrick Wolfe, Trobe University, Australia
  202. Dr. Hala Yameni, Bethlehem University, Bethlehem, Palestine
  203. Omar Zahzah, PhD student, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
  204. Professor (emeritus) Elia Zureik, Queen’s University, Canada

 

Endorsed by the following Academic and Cultural Boycott Campaigns: AURDIP (France); BAB (Germany); BOYCOTT! (Israel); BRICUP (UK); InCACBI (India); PACBI (Palestine); PBAI (Spain); USACBI (USA) - and by the Alternative Information Centre (Israel); Independent Jewish Voices Canada; University of Toronto SJP (Canada); SJP of UCLA  – and by Ronnie Kasrils, former South African government minister, anti-apartheid activist and writer.

Note: this list of signers and endorsers was updated on 9/4/2013

To add your name to this list of signatories please email: hebrewuconferenceboycott@gmail.com
________________________________________________________________

THE NECESSARY AND IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION OF ACADEMIC FREEDOM

The UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights defines academic freedom to include:

the liberty of individuals to express freely opinions about the institution or system in which they work, to fulfill their functions without discrimination or fear of repression by the state or any other actor, to participate in professional or representative academic bodies, and to enjoy all the internationally recognized human rights applicable to other individuals in the same jurisdiction. The enjoyment of academic freedom carries with it obligations, such as the duty to respect the academic freedom of others, to ensure the fair discussion of contrary views, and to treat all without discrimination on any of the prohibited grounds. [10], emphasis added]

Keeping this definition in mind, we are keenly aware of the importance of the academic freedom of the individual, but also believe that such freedoms should not extend automatically to institutions. Judith Butler reminds us that: “our struggles for academic freedom must work in concert with the opposition to state violence, ideological surveillance, and the systematic devastation of everyday life.” [11]

It is incumbent on academics to develop such a nuanced understanding of academic freedom if we are to call for social justice and work alongside the oppressed in advancing their freedom, equality and self-determination. 

The Israeli academy is not the bastion of dissent and liberalism it is purported to be by those who defend Israel and attempt to delegitimize the call for academic boycott.  The vast majority of the Israeli academic community is oblivious to the oppression of the Palestinian people--both inside Israel and in the occupied territory--and has never opposed the practices and policies of their state. In fact, they duly serve in the reserve forces of the occupation army and, accordingly are likely to be either perpetrators of or silent witnesses to the daily brutality of the occupation.  They also do not hesitate to partner in their academic research with the security-military establishment that is the chief architect and executor of the occupation.  A petition Drafted by four Israeli academics merely calling on the Israeli government “to allow [Palestinian] students and lecturers free access to all the campuses in the [occupied] Territories, and to allow lecturers and students who hold foreign passports to teach and study without being threatened with withdrawal of residence visas,” was endorsed by only 407 out of 9,000 Israeli academics – less than 5% of those who were invited to sign it. [12]

Notes:

[1] The decision was published in the official Israeli Gazette (the Hebrew edition), number 1425. It was therefore "legalized" by Israel. This land, for the most part, was (still is) privately owned by Palestinians living in that area. A large part of the confiscated land was then given to the Hebrew University to expand its campus (mainly its dormitories). The Palestinian landowners refused to leave their lands and homes arguing that the confiscation order of 1968 was illegal. When the case was taken to the Jerusalem District Court in 1972 (file no. 1531/72), the court ruled in favor of the University and the state, deciding that the Palestinian families must evacuate their homes and be offered alternative housing. See also http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/02/12/un-report-accuses-israel-of-pushing-palestinians-from-jerusalem-west-bank/

[2] Keller, U. (2009) the Academic Boycott of Israel and the Complicity of Israeli Academic Institutions in Occupation of

Palestinian Territories. The Economy of the Occupation: A Socioeconomic Bulletin: Alternative Information Centre.

http://www.alternativenews.org/images/stories/downloads/Economy_of_the_occupation_23-24.pdf

[3] http://www.jpost.com/Local-Israel/In-Jerusalem/Hebrew-University-in-Arabic

[4] http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3827102,00.html

[5] http://www.jewishlinkbc.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=944:lapid-threatens-to-bring-down-the-govt-on-haredi-army-issue&catid=150:news&Itemid=562

[6] http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?pr=71&code=mwp&p1=3&p2=4&p3=6&ca

[7] http://pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=869

[8] http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/52

[9] http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=2102

[10] UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, “The Right to Education (Art.13),” December 8, 1999 

http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/ae1a0b126d068e868025683c003c8b3b?Opendocument

[11] Judith Butler. "Israel/Palestine and the Paradoxes of Academic Freedom." in: Radical Philosophy, Vol. 135. pp. 8-17, January/February 2006. http://www.egs.edu/faculty/judith-butler/articles/israel-palestine-paradoxes-of-academic-freedom/ (Accessed on December 10, 2011)

[12] http://pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=792

 

9/08/2013

Action alert and events

19 Aug 2015

The Palestine Solidarity Committee and Jana Natya Manch invite you to
 

PRESS CONFERENCE: ​India...