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Right to Education

CUNY Chancellor, College Presidents and Deans: No to “Scholars as Apartheid Builders”

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It has come to our attention that earlier this month, a delegation of high-level administrators from the City University of New York (CUNY) visited several complicit Israeli institutions, including universities, under the slogan of “scholars as bridge builders.” The delegation had a single and perfunctory meeting with a group of non-academic Palestinians, and it is noteworthy that they did not meet a single member of any Palestinian university.

The Right to Education Campaign at Birzeit University, the Union of Employees and Academics at Birzeit University, the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE), and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) all condemn this visit and call out CUNY management’s whitewashing of Israel’s regime of military occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid and its relentless attack on Palestinian higher education. 

For many decades Palestinian academics have documented how Israel’s regime of oppression constitutes a regime of apartheid as defined under international law. Human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch as well as Israel’s most prominent human rights organization B’Tselem, have all issued detailed reports concluding Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid. Notable US academic associations have reached the same conclusion.

As Palestinian academics, we have seen our universities repeatedly bombed, raidedshut down for years on end, and ransacked by the Israeli military, and we have seen our academic freedom systematically suppressed. We have endured the indignities of Israeli military checkpoints, restricting our right to movement within the occupied Palestinian territory and preventing us from traveling abroad. Israel’s restrictions also prevent international colleagues from teaching at our universities and block lab equipment and even textbooks from reaching our universities.

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