I have supported the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel since the 2014 Israeli War on Gaza. (That astonishing display of high- and low-tech cruelty, I believe, opened the eyes of many Americans.) The Academic and Cultural Boycott is part of a larger movement on behalf of the human rights and self-determination of the Palestinian people. The overall campaign is known as Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) and originated within Palestinian civil society.
I’ve come to think of Israel as a European settler-colonial state, which practices apartheid in order to control the Indigenous population it has conquered militarily. In this respect, Israel is similar to the previously apartheid state of South Africa, where white European colonists had conquered the Indigenous Black African population and occupied their land.
In the same way that human rights activists boycotted the South African regime to abolish apartheid, many now are boycotting Israel to pressure its government to end its own practice of apartheid and its other constant, daily, gross violations of the human rights of the people of Palestine.
I believe the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel is of special importance, and I admire the professors and artists who have refused to lecture or to perform in Israel. Through their refusal, they have denied Israel the legitimacy and the prestige it seeks in the world community. I have been encouraged by intellectuals and artists like Stephen Hawking and Lorde, who have honored the boycott.
Image: David Clennon attends the premiere of Welcome to the Men’s Group from Dark Star Pictures at Ahrya Fine Arts Theater on May 16, 2018, in Beverly Hills, California.