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Release, US Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, 21 January 2009
Responding to the call of Palestinian civil society to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement against Israel, we are a U.S. campaign focused specifically on a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, as delineated by PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel):
“In light of Israel’s persistent violations of international law, and Given that, since 1948, hundreds of UN resolutions have condemned Israel’s colonial and discriminatory policies as illegal and called for immediate, adequate and effective remedies, and Given that all forms of international intervention and peace-making have until now failed to convince or force Israel to comply with humanitarian law, to respect fundamental human rights and to end its occupation and oppression of the people of Palestine, and In view of the fact that people of conscience in the international community have historically shouldered the moral responsibility to fight injustice, as exemplified in the struggle to abolish apartheid in South Africa through diverse forms of boycott, divestment and sanctions;
Inspired by the struggle of South Africans against apartheid and in the spirit of international solidarity, moral consistency and resistance to injustice and oppression, We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel. We also invite conscientious Israelis to support this Call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace.
These non-violent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”
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PACBI and the entire movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (representing the overwhelming majority among Palestinian civil society parties, unions, networks and organizations) emphasize fundamental Palestinian rights, sanctioned by international law and universal human rights principles, that ought to be respected by Israel to end the boycott. We struggle to achieve an end to Israel’s three-tiered injustice and oppression: 1) occupation and colonization in the 1967-occupied Palestinian territory; 2) denial of the refugees’ rights, paramount among which is their right to return to their homes of origin, as per UN General Assembly Resolution 194; and 3) the system of racial discrimination, or apartheid, to which Palestinian (all non-Jewish) citizens of Israel are subjected to.
The principles guiding the PACBI campaign and the three goals outlined above are also points of unity for the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USCACBI). We believe it is time to take a public, principled stance in support of equality, self-
determination, human rights (including the right to education), and true democracy, especially in light of the censorship and silencing of the Palestine question in U.S. universities, as well as U.S. society at large. There can be no academic freedom in Israel/alestine unless all academics are free and all students are free to pursue their academic desires.
If you are committed to these principles of unity, and wish to work on a campaign of boycotting academic and cultural institutions guided by this approach, please join our campaign.
Furthermore, we are also responding to the Open Letter to International Academic Institutions from the Right to Education campaign at Birzeit University in Palestine (January 17, 2009):
“In light of the ongoing massive Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, in which over 1,200 people have been killed – over 1,000 (86%) of whom were civilian men, women and children – and where over 4,000 have been maimed and injured, the Right to Education Campaign at Birzeit University calls upon the international academic community, unions and students to show support and solidarity with the people of Gaza by calling upon their respective governments to impose immediate boycott, divestment and sanctions against the state of Israel until it abides by international human rights and humanitarian laws, dismantles its apartheid regime spanning both the occupied territories and Israel proper, and commits to pursuing a long-lasting, just peace. Enough is enough.”
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If you wish to endorse this call for an academic and cultural boycott, please email us at:
email@example.com. If you would be willing to indicate your support publicly, please let us know and send us your name and instituational affiliation.
For more information on actions suggested by the boycott campaign, see information and links at our website: