14th December 2009
First, welcome to our new US Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel endorsers. You have helped us pass the 400 mark of US academic endorsers. With well known author Barbara Ehrenreich adding her name to our list of authors, artists, musicians, and others, we now also have 110 cultural workers of conscience who have endorsed our campaign. Among organizational endorsements are Code Pink, the U.S. Green Party, and just recently the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation.
Nevertheless, the suffering of Palestinians continues unabated because of Israeli policies, including the continuing blockade of supplies to the civilian population of Gaza, and the ongoing repression in the West Bank.
As we approach the anniversary of the murderous assault on Gaza, we ask you to join us in demonstrating our solidarity with the people of Gaza and throughout Palestine by helping to build our BDS movement here in the US. Please ask your colleagues and friends — academics, artists, writers, journalists, musicians, etc. — to join you in endorsing our Mission Statement by going to http://usacbi.org
Think of what a statement we could make if we reached a goal of 500 US academic endorsers by December 31st, the day of the Gaza Freedom March. What a response that would be to Bar-Ilan University political science professor Gerald Steinberg, who snidely remarked in February 2009: “It [USACBI] is a festering wound and it needs to be countered, not ignored. The danger is not these 15 [founders of USACBI]; the danger is if it becomes 500.” http://www.thejewishweek.com/viewArticle/c36_a14790/News/New_York.html#
When you write to colleagues and friends, you may wish to mention some of our illustrious Advisory Board members: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Hamid Dabashi, Lawrence Davidson, Bill Fletcher Jr., Glen Ford, Mark Gonzales, Marilyn Hacker, Edward Herman, Annemarie Jacir, J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Robin Kelly, Ilan Pappe, James Petras, Vjay Prashad, Andrenne Rich, Michel Shehadeh, and Lisa Taraki.
You might also want to remind them that progressive Israeli academics have joined our call, including Emmanuel Farjoun, Hebrew University; Rachel Giora, Tel Aviv University; Anat Matar, Tel Aviv University; Kobi Snitz, Technion; and Ilan Pappe now at Exeter.
For those who are concerned about academic freedom, you might point them to the FAQ on our website, noting, in particular:
This boycott aims at the practice of institutions and their representatives, not at the individual scholar, student or artist. Indeed, PACBI”s call is principled in this respect: it affirms the absolute right of individuals to academic freedom and holds institutions responsible to protecting those rights irrespective of nationality, race or religion. It targets institutional behavior rather than the individual right to opinion. In doing so, it sets an important and consistent standard for institutional protection of academic freedom as a universal, not a nationally or ethnically determined right.
Remember, as Archbishop Desmond Tutu noted, “The end of apartheid stands as one of the crowning accomplishments of the past century, but we would not have succeeded without the help of international pressure – in particular the divestment movement of the 1980s.” With your help, we can increase our contribution to the worldwide BDS movement to pressure the Israeli government to respect the human rights of Palestinians.
Please ask as many colleagues as you can to support the non-violent call for academic boycott, disinvestment, and sanctions. [Go to usacbi.org for the Call/Mission Statement; and contact us at uscom4acbi[at]gmail.com].
Many thanks from the Organizing Committee for USACBI