Thursday, January 28, 2021

343 UK academics move to boycott of Israeli universities

By Cath And - October 29, 2015
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [BDS]

A full page advertisement published in the Guardian newspaper Tuesday morning announced that 343 academics from institutions of higher education in the U.K. have pledged to boycott Israeli universities.


The academics have vowed that, “they will not accept invitations for academic visits to Israel. They will not act as referees in activities related to Israeli academic institutions, or cooperate in any other way with Israeli universities.”


One of the signatories, Professor Conor Gearty, Professor of Human Rights Law at London School of Economics, stated that “this boycott is a small way of saying a big thing: that fairness and justice should be for real and not just for show, that all international laws must be respected, not only those that happen to be convenient.”


Professor Jane Hardy, Professor of Global Political Economy at the University of Hertfordshire, says that “the commitment does not call for the termination of links with individual colleagues nor the end of dialogue, rather it is a boycott of institutions directly or indirectly complicit in the systematic and illegal occupation of Palestine.”


To provide background to the announcement, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), referenced the booklet “Why Boycott Israel’s Universities?” first published by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine in 2007.


The booklet states that many, “academic teachers and researchers are rightly sensitive about any restrictions on the free flow of ideas.” It also recognises that, “the academic boycott of Israeli universities has been presented by its opponents as an infringement of academic freedom.”


It continues, however, to state that “boycotts have an honourable history, both as a weapon of the weak, and as a non-violent alternative to more forceful action.”


The first call for an academic boycott of Israel was made in 2004 by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).


PACBI stated that “Israeli academic institutions (mostly state controlled) and the vast majority of Israeli intellectuals and academics have either contributed directly to maintaining, defending or otherwise justifying... forms of oppression, or have been complicit in them through their silence.”


The BNC has said that the boycott is a response to the “deep complicity of Israeli academic institutions in Israeli violations of international law.”


An example of this complicity is the development of weaponry by the Israel Institute of Technology, including “weaponised unmanned bulldozers” used to demolish Palestinian homes, and technology used to locate “tunnels that Palestinians use to break the illegal siege on Gaza.”

The announcement of the boycott comes as at least 59 Palestinians and 9 Israelis have been killed since Oct. 1 during a recent escalation of violence in the region.


The BNC stated that “the need for solidarity with the Palestinian people, as expressed in the Academic Commitment, is made more urgent today by the current escalation of violent conflict in Israel/Palestine.”



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