last week palestinian university students in gaza showed extraordinary solidarity by coming together and authoring a boycott statement. if only palestinian students in the west bank could show the same moral courage to come together for such a document:
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)
* 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).
if you need more reasons why you should boycott, try this one (thanks dina):
The Carmel Academic Center in Haifa shut down the concentration in accounting within its Department of Business Administration because a majority of the students applying were Palestinian citizens of Israel. This was revealed in a news item reported on Israeli news Channel 10 on 24 May (in Hebrew only).
or this one (thanks josie):
Despite strong objections from the Committee of University Heads, individual academics and the human rights organization Gisha, the High Court of Justice on Monday accepted the army’s non-security related criteria for granting Palestinian post-graduate students permits to enter Israel to study at Israeli universities….
At the urging of the court, the army also presented criteria for investigating applications from other Palestinians who had been accepted for studies in Israel as an exception to its overall policy not to consider entry requests except for humanitarian reasons.
The criteria included the following:
• Only PhD and Masters students will be considered and only if there is no practical alternative to studying in Israel
• Preference will be given to applicants to programs focusing on regional cooperation or developing coexistence and regional peace. The Education Ministry must testify as to the nature of the program
• Palestinians will not be allowed to study professions that have the potential to be used against Israel.
• The applicant will have to provide the army with a detailed request from a recognized academic institution explaining the grounds on which the institution wants him to study there
• There will be no further examination if the applicant has a security or criminal record.
• The army will take into account the age of the applicant and his personal status.
• The army, at its own discretion, may refuse to consider an applicant even if the student meets the above criteria.
The court added, however, that whenever the army rejects a Palestinian student’s entry request on the grounds that he has not met its criteria, the Palestinian student may petition the High Court against the decision.
“We are being forcibly prevented from accepting students who can make a decidedly valuable contribution to higher education in Israel,” Hebrew University Law Prof. Alon Harel said, following the court ruling.
“I call upon the court and the defense establishment to respect academic freedom. The decision whether or not to accept a student must be the exclusive decision of the university, while the military should be limited to performing a security check.”
and here are some even better reasons from omar barghouti in an interview with ali mustafa in electronic intifada:
AM: One of the most contentious aspects of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign is the academic boycott. Can you clarify exactly what this means and why Israeli academic institutions are, as you argue, such a fundamental extension of the Israeli state and state policy?
OB: The academic boycott, which was called for by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel in 2004, is an institutional boycott — so it’s a call to every conscientious academic and academic institution to boycott every Israeli academic institution because of their complicity in perpetuating Israel’s occupation and other forms of oppression … Complicity in the case of Israel is different than academic complicity elsewhere. In Canada, for example, your biggest universities are certainly complicit in Canadian policy, especially since they’re all state-funded universities exactly like in Israel … But what’s different is that in Israel, they are in full organic partnership with the security/military establishment — so that most of the weapons developed by the Israeli army are done through the universities, most of the research justifying the repression of the Palestinians and denial of Palestinian rights is done by academics in the universities in academic programs; many of the colonization projects that are considered by international law to be war crimes have been produced by universities. The wall [in the West Bank] for example was produced in an academic environment; an academic at Haifa University claims that this is his brainchild and there is no reason not to believe him because he has produced other projects that were terribly involved in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians even inside Israel. At every level there is a very deep, entrenched complicity between the Israeli academia and the security/military establishment.
Also, all Israeli academics, like all Israelis within a certain age group, with some exceptions, serve in the occupation reserve army. They serve as occupying soldiers part-time every year, three months every year … You go and leave academia, your research, you leave everything, and you serve at a checkpoint or worse — so you’re either participating in committing human rights violations or war crimes, or at least you watch them with total apathy — in both cases you’re very complicit even at an individual level; the universities not only tolerate that, they promote that — this is part of the system. Despite this, we are not calling for boycotting individual academics but institutions. The only reason why our boycott is not individual is because otherwise it would be McCarthyist — it would involve some form of McCarthyism or political test: who is a good academic, who is bad, and who decides? And we don’t want to get into that because it’s a very troubling prospect to have political tests and in principle, we are against political tests, so that’s why we have an institutional boycott.
AM: One common argument against the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign is that dialogue is more constructive than boycotts. How would you respond?
OB: That’s wrong factually and wrong logically. Factually, there have been so many attempts at dialogue since 1993 when the so-called peace process was announced at Oslo. There were many dialogue organizations and initiatives established; it became an industry — we call it the peace industry. You could get rich very fast by getting involved in one of those dialogue groups and you get to travel to Europe and stay in fancy hotels and get a lot of money in return, but otherwise it produces absolutely nothing on the ground. The main reason is because it’s morally flawed and based on the false premise that this so-called conflict is mainly due to mutual hatred and, therefore, you need some kind of therapy or dialogue between those two equivalent, symmetric, warring parties. Put them in a room, force them to talk to one another, then they will fall in love, the hatred will go away and you will have your Romeo and Juliet story. Of course, this is deceitful and morally very corrupt because the conflict is a colonial conflict — it’s not a domestic dispute between a husband and wife — it’s a colonial conflict based on ethnic cleansing, racism, colonialism and apartheid. Without taking away the roots of the conflict you cannot have any coexistence, at least not ethical coexistence.
There are many other issues related to this dialogue industry in that you don’t have dialogue between asymmetric parties, you have negotiations. To have a dialogue you have to have a certain minimal level of a common denominator based on a common vision for the ultimate solution based on equality and ending injustice. If you don’t have that common denominator than it’s negotiation between the stronger and weaker party and, as I’ve written elsewhere, you can’t have a bridge between them but only a ladder where you go up or down not across … I call this the master/slave type of coexistence … A master and a slave can also reach an agreement where this is reality and you cannot challenge it and you make the best out of it. There is no war, no conflict, nobody is killing anybody, but a master remains a master and the slave remains a slave — so this is not the kind of peace that we the oppressed are seeking — the minimum is to have a just peace. Only with justice can we have a sustainable peace. So dialogue does not work — it has not worked in reality and cannot work in principle. Boycotts have worked in reality and in principle so there is absolutely no reason why they cannot work, because Israel has total impunity given the official support it gets from the west in all fields (economic, cultural, academic and so on). Without raising the price of its oppression, it will never give up; it will never concede on any of our right
for these and many other reasons please sign this petition to protest the university of california, davis’ study abroad program in the zionist entity, which would necessarily mean being complicit in zionist terrorist war crimes:
From: The EAP Equality Coalition
Date: June 1, 2009
As University of California students, faculty, and people of conscience, we strive to uphold the Principles of Community whereby “We affirm the inherent dignity in all of us, and strive to maintain a climate of justice.” In light of these principles supporting equality and justice, we find the recent inception of the new Summer Abroad to Israel program morally objectionable.
Given that the university also shares our commitment to uphold “the highest standards of civility and decency towards all,” we are dismayed that UC Davis established the program with Israel, which required the university to make recommendations that nullified even the US Department of the State’s (DOS) Travel Advisory.
We are deeply troubled that UC Davis decided to make an exception for the program in Israel, and did so in the wake of Israel’s war on Gaza in winter 2008-09. UN special investigators on human rights offer compelling evidence that “Israel’s latest offensive in Gaza violates international humanitarian law,” and requires an independent investigation into whether it involved war crimes.
Numerous UN-protected Palestinian schools and universities were bombed by Israeli missiles in the recent war on Gaza. We are very dismayed that the university has continued a program with Israel in the wake of these recent attacks, that have been condemned by the international community. Even though this program was planned before the latest Israeli offensive in Gaza that caused the deaths of 1500 people, once this massacre became public, the university should have revoked its approval of the program.
Continuing the Study Abroad in Israel suggests the university’s condoning of the Israeli massacres and sanctioning of the Israeli state’s ongoing policies of discrimination toward non-Jews. Israel’s long-standing pattern of human rights violations includes the exploitation, annexation, and illegal settlement of Palestinian territories, as well as segregation of and discrimination toward Palestinians in the occupied territories and inside Israel. The location and structure of the program in Israel hinder an unbiased representation of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict; indeed they reinforce a limited and narrow understanding of these issues.
We understand that the university is going through extreme precautions to ensure the inception of this program by forwarding the names of enrolled students to the Israeli consulate in San Francisco to ensure their proper passage through Israeli airports and checkpoints. Israeli military personnel will also apparently accompany UC students during their outdoor endeavors. Although doing this may provide an illusion of protection for the students, it does not guarantee their safety, especially those suspected of being Arab or Muslim, in a state that practices systemic racial discrimination, as illustrated by the DOS warning: “American citizens whom Israeli authorities suspect of being of Arab or Muslim origin are likely to face additional, often time-consuming, and probing questioning by immigration and border authorities, or may even be denied entry into Israel.”
In fact, these measures only compromise the freedom of education of the participants. The military presence also serves to romanticize the notion of the Israeli Defense Force as a protective state entity that ensures human security, when in reality the IDF is currently under numerous investigations for consistently attacking innocent civilians, including children and students, and violating international human rights law. The impact of the “security wall,” the closures of roads and restrictions on travel, the demolition of homes, the destruction of trees, all impact the mobility and livelihood of Palestinians and violate their human rights, including their right to education, and consequently make a mockery of the notion of academic freedom for students and scholars.
These extreme measures of providing military escort also violate the philosophy of the EAP. Study Abroad programs strive to provide “opportunities to discover, learn about and engage with other cultures to challenge our students to rethink the way they look at the world”; however, normal Israeli citizens do not walk around Israel with military protection. Therefore, by having the inevitable military presence in the program, students experience an education that is embedded with the military, and that limits their understanding of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. By continuing this program, the university transgresses core standards of equality, justice and precedence.
The University of California has a historic pattern of divestment from South Africa in 1986 because of systematic racism against black Africans, and again in 2006 from Sudan, due to issues of transnational displacement and ethnic cleansing. Now in 2009, the UC should divest from Israel because Israel also enforces systemic discrimination against Palestinian citizens in Israel, and is accused of ethnic cleansing and war crimes against the Palestinians in the occupied territories. By supporting this program the university fails to uphold its own statements of values.
Given UC Davis’s commitment to the “Principles of Community,” where the university pledges to “affirm the inherent dignity in all of us, and…strive to maintain a climate of justice…and confront and reject all manifestations of discrimination, including those based on race, ethnicity, gender,” it becomes morally contradictory and compromising to have a Study Abroad program in Israel. Therefore, in light of this evidence, it is ethically incumbent on EAP officials to reconsider the inception of the Summer Abroad program in Israel, and to terminate it forthwith.
and finally a salute to the guerrilla activists who have been busy campaigning in the bay area by altering zionist colonist terrorist study abroad programs trying to lure american students to their universities. you can read more about the campaign and see more images on the us campaign for the academic and cultural boycott of israel website.