Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hundreds of British Academics Sign Letter Vowing to Boycott Israel

Hundreds of British Academics Sign Letter Vowing to Boycott Israel

In a full-page ad due to be published in the Guardian newspaper on Tuesday, the academics accuse Israel of illegal occupation, human rights violations and resisting a settlement.

A letter in support of the Palestinian cause signed by 343 British academics is due to be published as a full page advert in the Guardian newspaper on Tuesday.

Reporting on the letter, the Jewish Chronicle said that the signatories come from 72 institutions, including the prestigious Oxford and Cambridge universities.

"As scholars associated with British universities, we are deeply disturbed by Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian land, the intolerable human rights violations that it inflicts on all sections of the Palestinian people and its apparent determination to resist any feasible settlement," the academics write in the letter.

The signatories of the letter undertake to reject invitations to visit Israeli academic institutions, to refuse to act as academic referees and to stay away from all conferences "funded, organized or sponsored" by Israeli institutions.

However, they say that they will continue to work with their Israeli colleagues "in their individual capacities."

The letter follows the launch last week of a pro-Israel initiative backed by 150 writers, artists and musicians, including Harry Potter author JK Rowling. That initiative opposes boycotts of Israel.

The Jewish Chronicle quoted Professor Jane Hardy of the University of Hertfordshire as saying: “This is an opportunity for academics to add their voices to the growing international movement to hold Israel accountable for its human rights abuses and specifically the deprivation of opportunity for our Palestinian colleagues to participate in the global academic community.

“The commitment does not call for the termination of links with individual colleagues nor the end of dialogue, rather it is a boycott of institutions directly or indirectly complicit in the systematic and illegal occupation of Palestine."

Dr Rachel Cohen of London's City University is quoted as saying that "it is the responsibility of those of us who have the freedom to act to exercise that freedom in support of our colleagues in Palestinian universities who do not have such freedom."

While Israel presents itself as an enlightened funder of academic pursuits, Cohen said, it " systematically denies Palestinian academics and students their basic freedoms, such as the freedom of movement necessary to attend international academic conferences, or simply to get to lectures on time."


Monday, October 12, 2015

Palestinian BDS National Committee

Whether the current phase of Israel’s intensified repression and Palestinian popular resistance will evolve into a full-fledged intifada or not, one thing is already evident—a new generation of Palestinians is marching on the footsteps of previous generations, rising up en masse against Israel’s brutal, decades-old regime of occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid.a

In this latest round, Israel has fanned the flames of Palestinian grassroots resistance by stepping up its attacks against al-Aqsa mosque compound, the Noble Sanctuary, located in the heart of the Israeli occupied Old City of Jerusalem. Fanatic, government-backed Jewish fundamentalist settler groups have persistently desecrated the compound, often verbally insulting worshippers with vile racism and openly calling for the destruction of the mosque. This has triggered widespread anger and protests in Jerusalem and among Palestinians everywhere in historic Palestine.

This ongoing rebellion is also a response to Israel intensifying its ethnic cleansing and oppression of Palestinians. In recent months, Israel has sped up its theft of Palestinian land and demolition of Palestinians houses, tightened the siege on Gaza and implemented new racist measures against Palestinians.

In a typical so-called “period of calm”, Israel enforces its medieval siege of Gaza, conducts incursions into Palestinians cities, confiscates Palestinian land, including in the Naqab (Negev), destroys Palestinian property, and builds illegal Jewish-only settlements. In its ongoing attempts to entrench its system of apartheid and colonial rule, Israel denies Palestinians their full spectrum of rights in the most banal of ways, from a child’s right to education to a mother’s access to health care, to a farmer’s ability to reach his/her land and to the right of a family to even live together in one home.

In light of the apathy or direct complicity of world governments and the UN, and as a result of Israel’s impunity in perpetuating this system of injustice against Palestinians, in historic Palestine as well as in exile, the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has made great strides in redefining Israel’s positioning in the world stage as a pariah state.

More needs to be done, however, to hold Israel to account and shatter its still strong impunity. Complicit governments must be exposed. Corporations that are enabling and profiting from Israel’s human rights violations must pay a price in their reputation and revenues. Israel’s military machine, including its research arm, must face a comprehensive international military embargo, and all Israeli leaders, officers and soldiers who are involved in the commission of the current and past crimes must be prosecuted at the International Criminal Court as well as national courts that respect international jurisdiction.

Read the full statement from the Palestinian BDS National Committee here.

Take action now:

• Share our call for solidarity action and our Boycott Israel now! graphic on Facebook and Twitter

• Find out ideas on products to boycott and campaigns to support here.

• Build awareness about Palestinian rights under international law and support for BDS

• Pressure parliaments to impose a military embargo on Israel

• Campaign against Israeli military companies such as Elbit Systems;

• Support boycott and divestment campaigns against complicit companies, such as G4S and HP, that are most blatantly complicit in Israel’s infrastructure of oppression


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