Archive for May, 2009

Palestinian Students in Gaza Launch Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel

Posted in Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, Palestinian Education on May 29, 2009 by Marcy Newman

A Call from Palestine: Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI)

PSCABI-Gaza, Occupied Palestine

29 May, 2009

“Gaza today has become the test of our indispensable morality and common humanity.”

Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee, 27 December 2008 Statement

The Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI) calls upon freedom-loving students all over the world to stand in solidarity with us by boycotting Israeli academic institutions for their complicity in perpetuating Israel’s illegal military occupation and apartheid system. We note the historic action taken by thousands of courageous students of British and American universities in occupying their campuses in a show of solidarity with the brutally oppressed Palestinian people in Gaza. We also deeply appreciate the decision by Hampshire College to divest from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation. Such pressure on Israel is the most likely to contribute to ending its denial of our rights, including the right to education.

In this regard, we fully endorse the call for boycott issued by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, PACBI, in 2004.[i]

We emphasize our endorsement of the BDS call issued by more than 170 Palestinian civil society organizations in July 2005.[ii]

We also support the Call from Gaza issued by a group of civil society organizations in the second week of the Gaza Massacre (Gaza 2009).[iii]

Our goal, as students, is to play a role in promoting the global BDS movement which has gained an unprecedented momentum as a result of the latest genocidal war launched by Israel against the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip. We address our fellow students to take whatever step possible, however small, to stand up for justice, international law and the inalienable rights of the indigenous people of Palestine by applying effective and sustainable pressure on Israel, particularly in the form of BDS, to help put an end to its colonial and racist regime over the Palestinians.

We strongly urge our fellow university students all over the world to:

(1) Support all the efforts aimed at boycotting Israeli academic institutions;

(2) Pressure university administrations to divest from Israel and from companies directly or indirectly supporting the Israeli occupation and apartheid policies;

(3) Promote student union resolutions condemning Israeli violations of international law and human rights and endorsing BDS in any form;

(4) Support the Palestinian student movement directly.

To break the medieval and barbaric Israeli siege of Gaza, people of conscience need to move with a sense of urgency and purpose. Israel must be compelled to pay a heavy price for its war crimes and crimes against humanity through the intensification of the boycott against it and against institutions and corporations complicit in its crimes. As in the anti-apartheid struggle in solidarity with the black majority in South Africa, students concerned about justice and sustainable peace have a moral duty to support our boycott efforts.

The Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI)

Endorsed by:

* Progressive Student Union Block;
* Fateh Youth Organization;
* Progressive Student Labor Front;
* Islamic Block;
* Islamic League of Palestinian Students;
* Student Unity Block;
* Students Affairs (University of Palestine).

[i] http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=869
[ii] http://www.bdsmovement.net/?q=node/52
[iii] http://www.odsg.org/co/index.php/component/content/article/1100-a-call-from-gaza.html

New Palestinian minister orders boycott of Israeli goods

Posted in Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, Palestinian Economy on May 28, 2009 by Marcy Newman

Nablus – Ma’an – Newly-appointed Palestinian Minister of Social Affairs Majida Al-Masri has ordered a ministry-wide boycott of Israeli products as her first decision in her new role.

The decision says Palestinian products must have the priority, but if a certain product is unavailable, priority goes to Arab countries, then foreign equivalent. Israeli products are to be boycotted altogether.

The minister also held a meeting with its ministry’s employees and departments. She explained how the new Palestinian government led by Salam Fayyad was created. Al-Masri was sworn in last Tuesday along with a new cabinet dominated by the Fatah movement.

She confirmed during the meeting that her ministry’s top priority would be supporting the besieged Gaza Strip, and segregated Jerusalem. “The relationship between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip should be one of unity, and neutrality should be the rule when dealing with humanitarian issues,” she said.

Al-Masri also said that social security would be a central focus. She plans to build a database of needy people all around Palestine as part of an overall effort to help the poor.

“LA CARRAU IS CANCELLING ITS VISIT TO ACRE”

Posted in Cultural Boycott on May 28, 2009 by Marcy Newman

After having talks with the platforms promoting the boycott of Israel and with representatives of Catalan institutions and gathering as much information as possible about the events taking place on 24-25 May at Acre, Israel in which La Carrau has been invited to participate, we feel that we should make the following public statement:

LA CARRAU IS CANCELLING ITS VISIT TO ACRE

First of all we would like to make very clear our total respect for the people of Israel and their different ethnic groups and cultures. We would also like to point out that we did not intend to take part for profit; we were invited to go, not hired. Our reward, rather than economic, was to be the chance to visit some wonderful places and get a close look at ways of life that are very different from our own, due not only to their cultural characteristics but also to the obvious incongruities of a problem that is still unresolved: the imbalance of cultures and religions.

Having said this, the reasons that finally led us to take our decision were:

– That in spite of the efforts we have made to contact different people, entities and media organisations, we have not been able to determine the exact nature of the events in which we are invited to take part.

– That we understand and agree with the arguments given by the network of platforms for the cultural boycott of Israel, as long as this boycott is not aimed at personal initiatives and only affects events orchestrated by the institutions of the Israeli state.

– That we do not wish to have anything to do with an event that could be used as propaganda by the official institutions of the state of Israel, and this seems especially likely when the promoter is the town council of Acre, which is extremely right wing and xenophobic in character.

Why Palestinians are calling for a boycott of Israeli universities

Posted in Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, Palestinian Education on May 28, 2009 by Marcy Newman

A Palestinian academic union urges British colleagues to back a boycott in support of ‘our struggle for justice’

* Amjad Barham
* guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 26 May 2009 15.57 BST

Palestinian academics have been heartened by the outpouring of solidarity with our people on the part of British academics and students – the latter attested to by the creative “student occupation movement” in the wake of the brutal Israeli war against the Palestinian people in Gaza last December and January.

What does the Palestinian academic community expect from international colleagues?

It has sometimes been suggested that solidarity with Palestinian academics is best expressed in fostering academic links between British and Palestinian universities, with the aim of strengthening the capacity of Palestinian academic institutions that have suffered from the long siege imposed by Israel’s colonial regime.

While we value academic and institutional forms of support, we feel that this is not sufficient. Decades of life under military occupation have taught us that no sustainable development, including in the academy, is possible without freedom from occupation and oppression.

We are keenly aware that British intellectuals and academics have been at the forefront of many international campaigns for justice, the most illustrious and successful of which was the fight against the apartheid regime in South Africa. What we ask for is moral consistency: if it was acceptable for British academics to support unreservedly the academic boycott of South Africa with a view to ending the system of apartheid, then the same should apply in the case of Israel.

It is the duty of civil society to shoulder the moral responsibility of isolating Israel in the international arena through various forms of boycott and sanctions to compel it to obey international law and respect Palestinian rights.

It is well documented that Israeli academic institutions are deeply complicit in Israel’s colonial and racist policies against the Palestinian people. Not only do Israeli universities and research institutions co-operate closely with the security-military establishment through research and other academic activities, they have never dissociated themselves from the occupation regime, despite the more than four decades of the systematic stifling of Palestinian education.

Israeli universities have never condemned the entrenched and institutionalised system of discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel within the Israeli polity, society and even the academy.

Israel and its supporters have argued that the Palestinian call for institutional boycott infringes the universal principle of academic freedom. Palestinians find this argument biased and hypocritical – not to mention based on false premises.

The privileging of academic freedom above more basic human rights conflicts with the very idea of universal human rights, as it assigns far more importance to the academic freedom of a sector of Israeli society than to the fundamental rights of all Palestinians to live in freedom and dignity. Is upholding the academic freedom – in our view, the privileges – of Israeli academics a loftier aim than defending the freedom of an entire people living under a brutal and illegal occupation?

“Constructive engagement” with the Israeli academy is often suggested to us as a more effective mechanism to address the injustice inflicted upon us by Israel. We have tried this method, only to realise that as long as the terms of the relationship between the Israelis and the Palestinians are those of occupier and occupied, and oppressor and oppressed, the engagement process only results in normalising the occupation on the ground and whitewashing Israeli atrocities abroad.

I can give an example from my own personal experience. Once, as I was crossing one of the hundreds of military checkpoints on my way to my university, I was stopped by an Israeli soldier who turned out to be a fellow mathematician at an Israeli university. But our collegiality ended here: he told me that I could cross the checkpoint if I was able to answer a mathematics question correctly! What kind of engagement can be possible here?

As to the charge that the boycott is discriminatory, it is completely false. The Palestinian boycott call is institutional; it simply does not target individual Israeli academics and cannot, therefore, be “discriminatory” in any real sense of the term. Endorsing and applying the boycott does not in any way prevent individual Israeli academics from participating in international academic conferences and research projects, so long as the projects themselves are not based on institutional links with Israeli universities and research centers.

Moreover, being enshrined in universalist values and principles, the boycott call adopted by an overwhelming majority in Palestinian civil society categorically rejects all forms of racial discrimination and racism, including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.

Finally, we of course recognise and deeply appreciate the steadily increasing support for the boycott we are witnessing among Israeli academics, who have reached the conclusion that only sustained pressure on Israel and its complicit institutions can bring about a just peace.

Our struggle for justice and peace is best supported through actions that aim at ending Israel’s impunity by compelling it to respect international law and our rights. Boycott is the most effective among those.

• Dr Amjad Barham is president of the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE)

Tel Aviv University – A Leading Israeli Military Research Centre

Posted in Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions on May 28, 2009 by Marcy Newman

“In the rough and tumble reality of the Middle East, Tel Aviv University is at the front line of the critical work to maintain Israel’s military and technological edge.

(Tel Aviv University Review, Winter 2008-9)

Introduction

Tel Aviv University (TAU) is Israel’s largest university. Like any large university, TAU hosts an extensive range of well-regarded research and teaching programmes in almost every discipline. Unlike most large universities, TAU is also heavily and openly involved in military research and development (R&D), deeming the pursuit of state security prerogatives and academic research to be harmonious enterprises at the centre of its institutional mission. The following pages offer a brief and necessarily incomplete description of just some of the current work being conducted in the dozens of TAU departments presently collaborating with the military.”

http://dada.israel.indymedia.org/usermedia/application/10/palsocontau_jan_2009_draft3.pdf

Unions Move to Overturn Israel Boycott

Posted in Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions on May 28, 2009 by Marcy Newman

LAST month, the Scottish Trade Unions Congress became the latest in a series of unions to call for a boycott of Israeli products. Support for boycotting, divesting from and sanctions against the Jewish state appears to be growing by leaps and bounds.

It has already won considerable support from trade unions in South Africa, Ireland, Britain and Norway. It seems unstoppable. But we intend to stop it.

TULIP – Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine – is a new global movement that believes in engaging with workers and their unions in Israel and Palestine, promoting co-operation and reconciliation.

We do not believe in boycotts, divestment and sanctions. We believe in peace and in a two-state solution to the conflict.

Our new global movement seeks allies in unions and non-governmental organisations everywhere who want to work together to demand respect for all Palestinians, Israelis and guest workers living in that region.

We believe we can take significant strides towards peace and reconciliation if we support those striving to improve the living standards of all working people in the region.

There are outstanding examples of co-operation between Israeli and Palestinian unions that need to be encouraged. For example, there’s a remarkable initiative launched by the International Transport Workers Federation to make life much easier for Palestinian drivers.

This has been a small but ground-breaking union agreement encouraging dialogue between the Palestinian and Israeli national trade union centres, as well as individual unions and their members on both sides of the divide. This agreement will help improve the livelihoods of hard-working union truckers and their families.

As we write this the ITF is organising to move this important project to a higher level with the co-operation of the Israel trade union congress Histadrut and the Palestinian transport workers union.

This model is a firm rejection of those in trade unions promoting an Israel boycott movement.

This model upholds the traditional role of trade unions when faced with disputes of this kind: bridging the gap between nations at war, encouraging peace, justice and conciliation. It is a trade union tradition and role that we are particularly proud to uphold.

We also applaud the role of the International Trade Union Confederation, which has helped to broker co-operation agreements between the Histadrut and the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions.

It is unfortunate that in recent years a number of national unions and trade union centres have changed course and abandoned that role.

Instead, they have rallied behind those Palestinians who are opposed to the peace process. Some have gone so far as to deny Israel’s right to exist and attacked the Histadrut.

In doing so, in backing the Hamas terrorists who deny Israel’s right to exist, they have thrown their support behind Iran’s power play in the region. And the Iranian regime is no friend of the trade union movement. Iran – and its Hamas puppets – have a long record of suppressing trade unions and human rights.

Those who support the boycott of Israel actually do nothing to promote peace, justice and reconciliation: in fact, they harm those who want to end the political hegemony of the extremists on both sides.

The boycott stance provides succour to the extremists in Israel and Palestine who refuse to accept the humanity of the other, who refuse to respect the right of all workers in the region to be able to build decent lives for themselves and their families in a peaceful, just and democratic climate.

In recent weeks and months a number of unions have called for boycotts and sanctions directed exclusively against Israel.

They are attempting to demonise the Jewish state, to deny it legitimacy, and to whip up hatred against it. Sometimes that hatred spills over into anti-Semitism.

Those unions are terribly wrong.

We believe the time has come for trade unionists across the world to join forces in support of genuine Israeli-Palestinian peace with justice, based on a two-state solution with secure and recognised borders.

There are already unions and associated NGOs in a number of countries that support this goal. But they are fighting this battle alone, each in their own country. It is time we united our forces.

Today we are publicly launching this new global movement, TULIP.

At the moment, the opponents of a two-state solution are on the offensive, working hard to promote their destructive agenda of boycotts and sanctions targeting Israel. It’s time for trade unionists in all countries to go on the offensive, to challenge the apologists for Hamas and Hezbollah in the labour movement.

We have no illusions that this will be anything other than a long and difficult process. But we also know that we have no choice.

We cannot abandon the field to those whose goal is the destruction of any chance for a real Israeli-Palestinian peace.

We welcome trade unionists from all countries to join us.

Paul Howes is national secretary of the Australian Workers Union; Michael J. Leahy is general secretary of Britain’s Community union; and Stuart Appelbaum is president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, representing workers in the US and Canada.

Ken Loach & Scottish PSC oppose all racism. No exceptions.

Posted in International BDS Actions on May 28, 2009 by Marcy Newman

Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign Statement
Thursday 21 May, 2009

Ken Loach and the Edinburgh International Film Festival are to be congratulated for distancing the EIFF publicly from the unwelcome embrace of the State of Israel, a state now widely understood to be committing grave crimes against the Palestinian people. Many who would have stayed away will now feel comfortable buying tickets for showings during this important cultural event.

read full statement

TAKE ACTION:

1. Support Ken Loach and EIFF principled decision to return Israeli state money – email your letter to the editor at The Scotsman newspaper: letter_ts[at]scotsman.com
2. Email the EIFF to congratulate them on their stance for universal human rights and to support the film festival coming up in June now that Israeli state money has been returned: info[at]edfilmfest.org.uk
3. Send Ken Loach a message of support by emailing: campaign[at]scottishpsc.org.uk

Visit our website for links to latest press coverage: www.scottishpsc.org.uk

Firemen vote to ratchet up the heat on Israeli ‘ethnic cleansing’

Posted in International BDS Actions on May 28, 2009 by Marcy Newman

Friday 15 May 2009
by John Millington in Scarborough.

AS the Fire Brigades Union conference ended on Friday, delegates gave overwhelming support for a boycott of Israeli goods and backed calls for sanctions in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Moving the Palestine composite motion, Devon and Somerset delegate Dave Chappell began by praising the history of solidarity shown by firefighters to Palestinians and the people of South Africa during apartheid “before it was sexy to do so.

“What the Palestinians are being subjected to is nothing short of ethnic cleansing by the state of Israel.”

Mr Chappell referred to 185 separate organisations in Palestine which are calling on the international community to isolate Israel politically and economically to force them to stop their appalling treatment of the Palestinian people.

Speaking in support, Manchester delegate Alan Anderson stressed to conference that this motion was in no way anti-semitic.

“In fact we have many Jewish people supporting calls for a boycott. Our quarrel is with the apartheid wall the state of Israel has built,” he said.

Ken Loach response to the Israeli filmmaker Tali Shalom

Posted in Cultural Boycott on May 28, 2009 by Marcy Newman

Ken Loach open letter to the Edinburgh Film Festival Following an open letter from the Israeli film maker Tali Shalom Ezer (see below as well), here is Ken Loach’s full reply.

This was sent to Sunday Times but the newspaper never published this in full.

Dear Tali Shalom Ezer

From the beginning, Israel and its supporters have attacked their critics as anti-semites or racists. It is a tactic to undermine rational debate. To be crystal clear: as a film maker you will receive a warm welcome in Edinburgh . You are not censored or rejected. The opposition was to the Festival’s taking money from the Israeli state.

The call for a boycott of Israeli cultural institutions comes from many Palestinians: writers, artists, journalists, lawyers, academics, trades, unionists, teachers. They see it as “a contribution to the struggle to end Israel ’s occupation, colonisation and system of apartheid.” Who are we, that we should not heed their call? Your counter arguments were used against the South African boycott yet that proved eventually to be successful.

We remember that the Palestinians have been dispossessed for sixty years, houses destroyed, communities wrecked. Israel ignores international law, the Geneva Convention and many UN resolutions.

We saw with horror the recent massacres in Gaza , how the Israeli army used phosphorous bombs in populated areas, how UN food stores and shelters were destroyed. The Red Cross described strikes on medical crews and the injured denied attention. Israeli journalist, Amira Hass, wrote of the killing of people flying white flags and the annihilation of entire families.

Faced with such crimes, Israeli poet, Aharon Shabtai, writes: “I do not believe that a state that maintains an occupation, committing on a daily basis crimes against civilians, deserves to be invited to any kind of cultural (event).”

Those who have attacked the boycott here are the usual suspects, old hacks and right wing extremists. One thought you were a man. They would embarrass you.

Please stand with the oppressed against the oppressor. I hope you enjoy the Festival.

Ken Loach

—-

Open letter from Tali Shalom Ezer to Ken Loach.

Dear Mr. Loach,

In the past 24 hours, I have been asked repeatedly to comment on your statement demanding to return Israel ‘s grant to our embassy in Edinburgh . I admit to have mixed feelings about your statement and all that it implies. As I have indicated in previous occasions, I have always been a member of the Israeli peace camp. Contrary to common perceptions in the media, ours is a large, strong camp – as I’d like to believe is the case amongst Palestinians.

I oppose, with all my heart, the Israeli occupation and settelments; I oppose an automatic resort to military solutions in times of conflict. I appreciate the wish to change the world by shunning what is perceived as an act of injustice, but I feel that what may seem right in theory, may be extremely wrong in practice.

In my opinion, every time a nation is subjected to a cultural boycott – be it a film or a lecture by an Israeli professor abroad – there is a tendency amongst its subjects to draw closer to more nationalistic elements; every time this happens, peace is farther away. Every time this happens, the concept of “A People that Dwells Alone” gathers more believers, and the conviction that the only way to survive is by strengthening the state’s military power, is reinforced. Every time this happens, moderate voices are hushed, art is weakened.

I do not know if you are aware of this fact, but Surrogate was filmed by Radek Ladczuk, a talented Polish cinematographer. For 21 years, Israel and Poland had no diplomatic relations; all I knew about the country came from the media and history lessons about WWII. I approached Radek from purely artistic considerations. Our work, despite difficulties in verbal communication, has proven to me once more the power of art and the many points of similarity which join people together, everywhere. I have no doubt that collaborations of this kind promote dialogue and lessen prejudice.

To conclude, I just want to stress my deep appreciation for your work. I have been an avid fan over the years, and will be honored if you attend the screening of Surrogate, thereby showing the world that despite your opposition to Israel’s politics, you are a firm believer in the power of art, and the power of individuals to bring about change.

Yours
Tali Shalom Ezer

British academic union deals one more blow to business-as-usual with the Israeli academy

Posted in International BDS Actions on May 28, 2009 by Marcy Newman

Once again, the membership of the University and College Union (UCU) has not let Palestinians down. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) salutes our British colleagues for their steadfast and principled support for the cause of justice and peace in Palestine and for adopting, at the UCU’s annual congress on 27 May 2009, significant steps in the direction of applying effective pressure on Israel and holding it accountable for its colonial and apartheid policies which violate international law and fundamental human rights. Coming four months after the end of Israel’s brutal war of aggression on the occupied Gaza Strip, the UCU motions on Palestine could not be more appropriate or relevant, emphasizing the need to end Israel’s criminal impunity through pressure on it and on institutions complicit in its violation of international law and fundamental human rights.

The UCU’s recognition of “the complicity of Israeli educational institutions in colonisation and military preparation,” its belief “that international pressure is necessary to force Israel to abide by international law,” and its determination to “renew urgently its call to members to reflect on the moral and political appropriateness of collaboration with Israeli educational institutions” as well as to urge “branches to discuss prior to Congress 2010 the Palestinian call for a boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign” are the strongest indicators to date that the Union has taken another significant step forward in the consistent direction of ending business-as-usual with Israeli academic institutions.

Several of the UCU Congress resolutions on Palestine amount to a clear decision to challenge the notion that Israel’s complicit institutions, including the academy, can be “normal” partners of any self-respecting British institution. Indeed, it has to be recognized by academics the world over that Israeli universities, in particular, are part and parcel of the structures of domination and oppression of the Palestinian people. Far from being neutral, Israeli academic institutions are all state funded; they have played a direct and indirect role in promoting, justifying, developing or otherwise abetting the state‘s racist policies and persistent violations of human rights and international law. It is significant that not only have Israeli academic institutions failed to condemn the state‘s colonial policies and practices and the longstanding siege of Palestinian education, they have facilitated and enabled the collaboration of their academic departments, faculty members and researchers with the Israeli military-security establishment, above all in the occupation regime, in flagrant violation of the principles of the independence of universities and academics.

Moreover, by welcoming “the campaign amongst students … for disinvestment from arms companies” trading with Israel; calling for “ending of [Israeli] apartheid;” demanding that “the British government bans arms sales and economic support for Israel;” calling for “a ban on imports of all goods from the illegal Israeli settlements in the [occupied Palestinian territory];” and insisting that “Israel [is] tried for human rights violations,” the UCU has unequivocally decided to contribute in an effective and morally consistent manner to Palestinian and international efforts aimed at ending Israel’s impunity and holding it accountable for its atrocities and grave violations of Palestinian rights.

PACBI especially welcomes the UCU congress decision to host an international, inter-union conference for supporters of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) this coming autumn “to investigate the lawful implementation of the strategy, including an option of institutional boycotts.” Convening such a forum will be a crucial opportunity for Union members to engage publicly with the issue of academic boycott and to have a chance to openly discuss and debate the rationale for such an institutional boycott and the consistency of its implementation with the law, countering attempts by Israel lobby groups to interpret the law in the most anti-democratic and draconian form with the intention of silencing debate.

The historic significance of the UCU membership’s vote to overwhelmingly endorse BDS cannot be overshadowed by the Union’s decision to declare the relevant resolution void due to legal advice. PACBI is quite disappointed that legal threats are being used by the Israel lobby to intimidate academics supporting the boycott and to curtail freedom of expression. We recognize that groups opposed to the Israel boycott have resorted to such anti-democratic measures after their resounding failure to stop the spread of support for the academic boycott, particularly in the United Kingdom. The argument they repeat, that a boycott of Israeli universities would be somehow “discriminatory,” is absolutely erroneous and intentionally deceptive, particularly because it accuses boycott supporters of targeting Israeli academics, disingenuously ignoring the fact that the PACBI Call for boycott has consistently targeted Israeli academic and cultural institutions, not individuals, and is based on universalist values that reject all forms of discrimination and racism, including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.

We sincerely hope that the UCU will soon follow the admirable example of the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC), which resolved at its meeting in April 2009 to support the steadily spreading BDS campaign against Israel.

This genuine expression of solidarity with Palestine by British academic trade unionists is particularly timely in light of the recent Israeli war of aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza. During this lethal assault, during which many well-documented Israeli war crimes were committed, 1440 Palestinians were murdered (of whom over 400 were children), 5380 were injured, and scores of institutions—including a university and several schools— and residential neighborhoods were partially or completely destroyed. Israel’s diplomatic immunity and status as a state above the law of nations must be challenged. Academic and cultural boycotts are effective measures available to world civil society to indicate its intolerance of oppression and as a means to bear pressure upon Israel to cease its campaign of ethnic cleansing against and colonial control over the Palestinian people. The 2004 PACBI call for boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions [1], like the Palestinian civil society‘s widely endorsed call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) in 2005 [2], is based on the same moral principle embodied in the international civil society campaign against the apartheid regime in South Africa: people of conscience must take a stand against oppression and use all the means of civil resistance available to bring it to an end.

The UCU has proven beyond doubt that effective solidarity with the oppressed is the most morally and politically sound contribution to the struggle to end oppression and to promote human rights as well as a just and peaceful future for all.

—————————-
[1] The Palestinian call for boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions (http://www.pacbi.org/campaign_statement.htm ) is endorsed by the major federations and associations of academics and professionals, including the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) and the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU). It is supported by dozens of civil society institutions in Palestine, like the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations’ Network (PNGO).
[2] http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/52

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