We are also responding to the Open Letter to International Academic Institutions from the Right to Education campaign at Birzeit University in Palestine (January 17, 2009), calling on the international academic community, unions and students “to show support and solidarity with the people of Gaza by calling upon their respective governments to impose immediate boycott, divestment and sanctions against the state of Israel.”
Gaza is but the latest incident in a series of ongoing massacres–from Deir Yassin (1948 ) to Kafr Kassim (1956) to Jenin (2002) to the wars on Lebanon (from 1980s to 2006)–which demonstrate a pattern of violence by a state which will not end its violations of international law without international pressure. As academics working in the U.S., we wish to focus on campaigns in our universities and in institutions of higher education to advocate for compliance with the academic and cultural boycott, a movement that is growing internationally across all segments of global civil society.
This call for an academic and cultural boycott parallels the call in the non-academic world for divestment, boycott and sanctions by trade unions, churches, and other civil society organizations in countries such as the United States, Canada, Italy, Ireland, Norway, the United Kingdom, Brazil, South Africa, and New Zealand.
As educators and scholars of conscience in the United States, we fully support this call. We urge our colleagues, nationally, regionally, and internationally, to stand up against Israel”s ongoing scholasticide and to support the non-violent call for academic boycott, disinvestment, and sanctions.
If you wish to endorse this call for an academic and cultural boycott, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are willing to indicate your support publicly, please send us your name and institutional/organizational affiliation (for identification purposes only).
Actions you can take:
Since 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 the above forms of oppression, or have been complicit in them through their silence, we call upon our colleagues to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel”s occupation, colonization and system of apartheid, by engaging in the following actions. We aim at the full implementation of all these steps. However, recognizing that different actions may be feasible and appropriate under the many different academic and political circumstances that pertain in US institutions, we urge our colleagues to undertake as many of the following initiatives as possible:
1. Support Palestinian academic and cultural institutions directly without requiring them to partner with Israeli counterparts as an explicit or implicit condition for such support;
2. Encourage your university and college administrations to institute funding for scholarship sand fellowships for Palestinian students;
3. Request your administration/president to issue a public statement censuring Israeli destruction of and interference with Palestinian schools and universities, archives and research centers, both in Gaza and throughout occupied Palestine.
4. Work toward the condemnation of Israeli policies by pressing for resolutions to be adopted by academic, professional and cultural associations and organizations;
5. Organize teach-ins or similar events with campus and community organizations at which the campaign for the economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel can be fully and openly discussed;
6. Refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions;
7. Advocate a comprehensive boycott of Israeli institutions at the national and international levels, including suspension of all forms of funding and subsidies to these institutions;
8. Promote divestment and disinvestment from Israel by academic institutions, and place pressure on your own institution to suspend all ties with Israeli universities, including collaborative projects, study abroad, funding and exchanges.