The idea of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) as means of struggle against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories has gathered pace in the years following the second intifada, and all the more so since the Israeli siege and attacks on the Gaza Strip. As academics and students tend to be among the most politically active and aware populations, it was only natural that one of the types of boycott at the forefront of the BDS campaign is the academic boycott. First publicly called for in 2002, academic boycott campaigns against Israeli academic institutions have become a controversial issue in various universities and academic communities around the world. While proponents of the boycott argued for it as an effective way struggle against the occupation, the legitimacy of an academic boycott has been disputed even by some in the left-wing ranks who believe it’s effects are too severe.
Through this report the Alternative Information Center (AIC) aims to inform and empower the debate on an academic boycott by giving information not on the Israeli violence and violations of International law and human rights, but on the part in the Israeli occupation played by the very academic institutions in question, and how vulnerable are they to a possible boycott. The report proves and clarifies that aside from very few minor ones, the Israeli academic institutions have not opted to take a neutral non-political position, but to fully support the Israeli security forces and policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians despite the serious suspicions of crimes and atrocities hovering above them. Examples of this range from the development of weaponry for the Israeli army such as the Israeli Technion development of an unmanned D9 house-demolishing tractor, through economic and public support of specific operations such as the special non-academic based scholarship given by Ben Gurion University for students who had served in the 2008-2009 attacks on Gaza, to direct participation in the occupation by establishment of campuses and University buildings in illegal settlements.
Any who argue either for or against an academic boycott against Israeli institutions, we believe, should know and consider not only facts regarding the horrendous situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but also the ways in which the Israeli academic institutions make political choices and actively take sides in the ongoing conflict.
The publication gives a list of Israeli academic institutions with a description of the involvement of each in the Israeli occupation — in the forms of discrimination against non-Jewish citizens and support for the Israeli military and its actions, as well as a comparison with the academic boycott on the South African Apartheid regime and a history and a discourse of the academic boycott to date.
Download the full report [PDF – 4 MB]