Pressure is being exerted on the University of Southampton to cancel or ‘reconstruct’ a conference on Israel and international law scheduled for 17-19 April. Groups such as the Board of Deputies of British Jews and UK Zionist Federation have urged the university to cancel the event, and there has also been an intervention from Communities minister and Conservative MP Eric Pickles.
Statement in support of the University of Southampton
We, the undersigned academics, express principled and full support for the University of Southampton’s commitment to freedom of speech and scholarly debate.
We commend the University of Southampton administration, including Vice-Chancellor Don Nutbeam, for its resolute defence of academic freedom.
It is standing principle and recognised practice that academic conference organisers have the right to choose those speakers and topics they feel would best address the purposes of the conference, without these being dictated to them by outside parties. To the best of our knowledge, the conference invitations in this case are based on qualification to speak on the topic rather than on political positions held.
We affirm, as academics from various disciplines and institutions of higher education, that the themes of the conference, such as the relationship of international law to the historic and ongoing political violence in Palestine/Israel, and critical reflections on nationality and self-determination, are entirely legitimate subjects for debate and inquiry.
We are very concerned that partisan attempts are being made to silence dissenting analyses of the topic in question. For external pressure and interference, especially from political lobby groups and a government minister, to censor lawful academic discussion would set a worrying precedent.
We trust that the programme of ‘International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism’ will go ahead as planned, to the credit of the University of Southampton and all those involved.
Over 1000 UK based artists have signed a pledge to support Palestinian rights:
We support the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality. In response to the call from Palestinian artists and cultural workers for a cultural boycott of Israel, we pledge to accept neither professional invitations to Israel, nor funding, from any institutions linked to its government until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.
New booklet on The Case for a Cultural Boycott of Israel
The Business of Backlash: How wealthy zionists fund disruption of opposition to Israel on US campuses
IJAN, the International Jewish Anti-zionist Network has just published a detailed analysis of the individuals and foundations that are financing anti-Palestinian activity in the US, on campuses and elsewhere. The 120 page report includes five case studies on how disruption of campus campaigns were financed and organised; how donors pressurised universities; and the disinformatoin spread to undermine legitimate campaigns.
The report, which synthesizes thousands of pages of tax returns, demonstrates that a small handful of individuals, including right-wing donors Sheldon Adelson, the Koch Brothers, Newton and Rochelle Becker, the Sarah Scaife foundation and the Bradley foundation are responsible for a huge portion of this funding. These same donors, many of whom earned their wealth from or are invested in industries that profit from war and instability in the Middle East, are involved in attacks on other progressive causes.
Professor Farid Esak, a leading South African campaigner for Palestinian rights has approached BRICUP for help in getting people to support his protest against French attempts to stop him speaking. He wrote:
' My statement is self-explanatory. I require your support in getting the decision at the University of Paris 1 reversed and to put pressure on other French universities to not succumb to pressure from the pro-Israeli lobby to cancel my scheduled speaking engagements. This is the first time in my life that I am personally accused of anti-Semitism and so I feel really slighted. It is also about also about a bigger thing – the closing of intellectual spaces for people who believe that a particular religious or ethnic group, no matter how deep or genuine its historical wounds, should never be synonymized with an ideological invention.'
Students at the University of Sydney noisily, but non-violently, disrupted a talk by Gaza massacre apologist Colonel Richard Kemp. Members of the audience threw water a the protestors and kicked Professor Jake Lynch who intervened to try to halt the rough removal of the protestors by university security staff.
NSW zionist bodies and the Murdoch owned Australian then claimed that the audience were traumatised by the violence they were subjected to. Video evidence demonstrates that these claims are fictions and the protestors were clearly chanting against Israeli crimes and were not, in any sense, anti-semitic.
Students at McGill University in Montreal have ben campaigning for a divestment motion. This attracted the atention of Justin Trudeau. leader of Canada's Liberal Party. He claimed the campaign was anti-semitic.
Studnts and professiors a the university responded furiously condemning his attack on thier right to campaign in defence of Palestinian rights and his contempt for free speech.
Canadian students reject Justin Trudeau’s attack on Palestine activism, free speech - Electronic Intifada
Further evidence of the fragmentation of US Jewish opposition to BDS. The Wesleyan University, Conneticut, Jewish Community, in an act of open defiance against its parent-organization Hillel International, hosted a “Jewish Voice for Peace Shabbat” on February 27, according to a statement issued by Wesleyan’s “Open Hillel” chapter. The group Jewish Voice for Peace advocates for the global boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, and therefore is barred from all Hillel-affiliated events or institutions under the Hillel International “Standards of Partnership.”
Read fully story - Jewish Daily Forward
On Feb. 20, Northeastern University (Boston, USA) Students for Justice in Palestine received a memo from the student government cabinet disqualifying a proposed divestment referendum on the grounds that it would create a "hostile, threatening, intimidating, humiliating, or otherwise abusive environment" for students. We know that the opposite is true -- divestment is a time-honored, nonviolent tool to rectify gross injustice. The full student government will decide on March 16 whether to allow a divestment vote or not.
At the end of February Staff and Students at the prestigious London School of African and Asian Studies (SOAS) voted overwhelmingly to back the academic boycott of Israel. 73% of the over 2000 votes cast backed the boycott. They are calling on the School management to end its collaborative arrangements with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The campaign for a yes vote was backed both by UCU, the academics’ trade union, and UNISON, the support staff union as well as by the Student Union.
History of, and reports on, the campaign on Facebook
Israel gave binding undertakings when the EU allowed Israel as a non-EU
member to join the European Research area and share in EU research funding.
Israel agreed to respect "for human rights and democratic principles
which guide their domestic and international policies and are an
essential element of the Agreement."
BRICUP and our French partners AURDIP have written
to the EU commisioner for Research,
Innovation and Science pointing out the repeated examples of how Israel has breached their undertaking and demanding that Israel's participation in the ERA is suspended until it complies.
While Ohio State students are fighting their student government for their right to vote on divestment students at nearby University of Toledo overcame all the obstacles put in their path. Local and national Zionist organisations lobbied hard to stop their vote. They repeated the common slurs against BDS – that it was anti-Semitic; that it singled out Israel; and so on – but the student senate respected a 5400 signature petition and voted 21 to 4 to divest from companies which profit from Israeli violations of Palestinians’ rights.
Imperial College Islamic Society booked accomodation at the College for the 2015 Palestine Confererence wiht a range of repsected speakers including Mustafa Barghouti, Ilan Pappé and Ben White. At the last minute the College management cancelled the booking without providing any reason and the organisers had to post a Facebook notice announcing the change the day before the event.
The action by Imperial College follows on a similar move by the University of Rome III which denied an event’s organizers use of its prestigious Center for Italian and French Studies for a debate the use and abuse of identity in Europe and the Middle East, again due to feature Ilan Pappé. The debate was relocated to an alernative, less suitable, venue. While the University gave no substantive reason, a pro-Israel website, Informazione Corretta, claimed victory, stating that thanks to “friends in Rome,” the venue had been denied due to protests over its proximity to the city’s Jewish quarter.
The new venue was packed with a standing room only crowd, as was a last-minute overflow room, providing the opportunity to listen to an open debate in which Palestine was one issue in a wider conversation about power and knowledge.
In March 2005, the Arab Students’ Collective, a campus organisation at the University of Toronto, held a series of local events to support Palestinians and protest Israeli policies. Hoping to broaden debate at the end of the second Intifada and on the eve of Israel's redeployment of ground forces and settlers from the Gaza Strip, originally called "the separation plan," they called their proceedings Israeli Apartheid Week.
A decade on, their creation has become an annual and globally-recognised event. This year, it will feature cultural and educational events, as well as public protests in more than 200 cities on six continents.
“In the wake of Israel's massacre of Palestinians in Gaza, this year's IAW takes on even greater significance,” said Michael Deas, a London-based member of the IAW international coordination committee.
Ohio State Undergraduate Student Government Judicial Panel has invalidated OSUDivest's petitions for inclusion on the ballot through a technicality that has been unevenly applied to others on the ballot and has no bearing on the integrity of the signatures we collected or the integrity of the upcoming USG election.
The disqualification of our initiative from tomorrow's ballot is an attack on the more than 3,000 student voices that asked for this initiative to receive a fair hearing from our student body. That the Judicial Panel of USG delayed until the absolute, last possible moment to tell us about a perceived irregularity in our petitions, so that we had no time at all to defend ourselves or appeal the decision suggests this is not about technical violations of USG bylaws, but instead about a concerted effort to stop OSU students from voting on divestment.
Sign petition organised by OSUDivest
In a further move against supporters of Palestinian Rights the USG JP have informed the three Palestinian candidates for USG positions that they would also be removed for the ballot. The reason given by the JP was that they had not included their signatures on their nominating petitions, although they had already received approval to be on the ballot. Given the context of the decision, it clearly appears to be both retaliatory and discriminatory.
AURDIP COMMUNIQUÉ – We have just learned that, once again, the presidency of the University Paris 8/Saint-Denis decided, at the last moment, to ban a conference, this one entitled Israel apartheid is real [featuring Max Blumenthal and Bilal Afandi]. The conference intended to shed light on Israel’s apartheid policy toward the Palestinian people, a policy that AURDIP itself has constantly condemned. As a collective of academics, we are outraged by this attack on academic freedom, the freedom of expression, and the freedom of open debate. As defenders of human rights and the respect of international law, we wish to express our deep dismay at the complicit silence that the administration of the University Paris 8 aims to force upon its students and faculty. We demand that the president of this university reverse a decision that can only exacerbate tensions while pretending to calm them.
AURDIP has launched a petition opposing École Polytechnique's
links with Technion. École Polytechnique is one of France's leading
research universities while Technion, Israel's leading technical research
university which is heavily involved in developing drones and other
weapons and surveillance systems used in the attack on Gaza and supporting
The new double agreement involves the exchange of faculty and students and takes the first steps towards a joint masters level programme.
These agreements involve French academics in strengthening Technion’s weapons programmes and make the benefits of French research available to Technion for their own programmes.
Israeli universities are proclaiming how they have supported the attack on Gaza.
Tel Aviv University dean Yoav Ariel told his students “The university is proud of all its students and thanks those who did reserve service, I wish us all a swift return to our blessed routine.” The university had already announced last month that it would be providing one year of tuition stipends to soldiers.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem sent out a letter declaring “The university is joining the war effort to support its warrior students, in order to minimize the financial burden” on those who were called up to join the attack on Gaza. The university called on “friends and alumni” to donate to a special scholarship fund and links to a donation page that allows gifts to be earmarked for the “Protective Edge” fund.
On 11 August, Haifa Rector David Faraji wrote to soldiers informing them that “... blesses your return and expresses great appreciation for your activity and contribution within the framework of your service in Operation Protective Edge.” His letter provides “details of the adjustments and benefits that have been decided upon, jointly with the student union.”
“Warrior students”: How Israeli universities are supporting war crimes in Gaza - Electronic Intifada gives a fuler account of the actions of these and other Universities
Professor William Robinson of UC Santa Barbara was the target of a campaign of intimidation, silencing, and political repression that included techniques described in the "Hasbara handbook" by the Israel lobby for his support of BDS; in contravention of academic freedom and university rules.
"I may well have been run from the university if it were not for graduate and undergraduate students (together with a handful of committed colleagues), who early on in the persecution set up the Committee to Defend Academic Freedom that launched a worldwide campaign in my defense. This in turn sparked a good portion of the faculty into action, several months into the campaign of persecution against me, to defend my academic freedom. "
BRICUP is one of the organisations endorsing the cinema and media call for academic boycott. The statement has already attracted almost 150 signatures. This call follows on from calls by philosphers, Middle East studies and African studies academics, Spanish academics and the Critical Ethnic Studies and African Literature Associations since Israel launched its latest assault on Gaza.
This call further demonstrates the growing anger of academics worldwide at Israel's criminal activity, inflamed by events in Gaza but flowing from anger at the long history of occupation and blockade. The global academic community is stating clearly that it will not stand idly by but will actively support their Palestinian colleagues.
One of the reasons for the Academic Boycott is the way in which Israeli actions make normal university life impossible in Gaza and the West Bank and East Jerusalem. This account from Nazmi Al-Masri, a Professor of English at the Islamic University of Gaza, describes in detail how research and studying (and everyday life) are disrupted.
Imagine you are a Palestinian academic or a student - Mondoweiss
Over 100 philosophers and political theorists have issued a public call for the academic boycott. They say
"As academics, we specifically support an academic boycott, by which we mean a principled refusal to associate with Israeli academic institutions that have not explicitly condemned the occupation. The urgency of this measure is underlined by the fact that, so far, not a single Israeli academic institution has issued such a condemnation, and many have even made their support for the state's recent actions clear – witness the University of Tel Aviv's recent offer to waive a year's fees for students who served in the attack on Gaza, whilst threatening to discipline students for criticising Israeli forces on social media."
As members of the [Spanish] university community, we answer the call of Palestinian society and Palestinian universities for people and NGOs around the world to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. This is the most peaceful and effective way of making Israel comply with international law. The BDS campaign against Israel started in 2005 in response to Israel’s constant human rights violations and the lack of determination of other countries and international organisations to take effective action. The campaign is inspired by the successful experience of the international boycott of South Africa, which brought down apartheid. It has received the support of outstanding activists like the Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu, progressive Jewish organisations such as the Jewish Voice for Peace and a growing number of Israeli academics. This shows how BDS is an effective way for us to put international pressure, through non-violent action, on Israel to respect Palestinian Rights.
African Scholars have added their voices to the call for Academic Boycott
"We, the undersigned African scholars and scholars of Africa, hold that silence about the latest humanitarian catastrophe caused by Israel’s new military assault on the Gaza Strip—the third and most devastating in six years—constitutes complicity. Member states of NATO which mounted an air war on Libya ostensibly to protect civilians in Benghazi have been by and large quiet about the fate of civilians in Gaza. World governments and mainstream media do not hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law. We, however, as a community of scholars have a moral responsibility to do so. .."
Dr. Steven Salaita, a Palestinian American and world-renowned scholar, was fired from his new position at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) because of his public criticism of the U.S.-sponsored Israeli massacres in Gaza. He was also a prominent campaigner for the American Studies Association’s decision to boycott Israeli academic institutions last December.
Letter from BRICUP and AURDIP to the Chancellor of UIUC
Send an email to UIUC
Sign petition demanding reinstatement
Sign a call to people of conscience not to speak at the University of Illinois Urbana -Champaign
Academic heavyweights slam Univ. of Illinois firing of Steven Salaita for Palestine views - Electronic Intifada
A (poor) defence of the UIUC decision
Return of the blacklist? Cowardice and censorship at the University of Illinois - Salon
96 professors and staf fof of the IISS in the Hague have endorsed BDS and stated:
The example of the anti-apartheid struggles in South Africa shows that offending governments do not easily change their ways unless put under intense diplomatic pressure. It took decades of struggle to achieve the abolition of apartheid. What helped in this struggle was the work of countless numbers of individuals, organizations and institutions across the world, and in the Netherlands, that acted in solidarity with the oppressed. Equally important were the actions of world governments, including the Dutch Government, that took a stand against the oppressors. We therefore ask the Dutch Government to officially implement boycott, divestment and sanctions against the State of Israel.
Over 100 Middle East Studies Scholars and Librarians Call for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions (now over 400)
Following in the footsteps of the growing number of U.S. academic associations that have endorsed boycott resolutions, we call on our colleagues in Middle East Studies to boycott Israeli academic institutions, and we pledge not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions, not to teach at or to attend conferences and other events at such institutions, and not to publish in academic journals based in Israel. We call for doing so until such time as these institutions end their complicity in violating Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law, and respect the full rights of Palestinians by calling on Israel to:
- End its siege of Gaza, its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967, and dismantle the settlements and the walls;
- Recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and the stateless Negev Bedouins to full equality; and
- Respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.
The Palestinian Boycott National Committee has issued a call for international support for the Saturday 9 August Day of Rage on Gaza: 'Take to the streets on Saturday 9 August with a united demand for sanctions on Israel'. As part of the call Palestinian trade unions are:
"calling on our brothers and sisters in the trade union movement
internationally to stop handling goods imported from or exported to
Israel. The trade union movement has a proud history of direct action
against Apartheid in South Africa, the Congress of South African Trade
Unions has joined us in the call for direct action to end Israel’s
The Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, London has reponded to protests at the theatre last year against their hosting of the 2013 Israeli Film Festival. Indhu Rubasingham, artistic director of the Tricycle said in relation to their decisoin to withdraw form the 2014 festival, "The festival receives funding from the Israeli embassy and given the current conflict in Israel and Gaza, we feel it is inappropriate to accept financial support from any government agency involved."
The Tricycle Theatre is a leading London fringe theatre with a distinguished record of mounting radical plays.
The British NUS has long opposed BDS but in a dramatic reversal of policy it has agreed that it would support local student unions who “impose sanctions on Israel" and it would "support campaigns to boycott Israeli products on their university campuses.”
An NUS spokesperson said: "The motion passed by our national executive council commits us to ensuring that, as far as is practical, NUS does not employ or work with companies identified as facilitating Israel's military capacity, human rights abuses or illegal settlement activity, and to actively work to cut ties with those that do."
Report of decision in Jewish Chronicle
Unite, the largest UK trade union passed a resolution which commits it to develop a “campaigning and leverage strategy around BDS within the next 12 months" at its annual policy conference.
Tell the organisers of the 2015 Conference on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion don't go to Tel Aviv
It seems strange that a conference whose theme is 'dealing with diverse identities ' is planned to be held in Tel Aviv - unless the conference organisers believe that you best deal with diversity with bombs, shells and Apartheid walls.
Two further academic associations have followed the lead of the American Studies Association and endorsed the Academic Boycott.
The CES resolution "endorses and will honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Be it also resolved that the Critical Ethnic Studies Association supports the protected rights of students and scholars everywhere to engage in research and public speaking about Palestine and the state of Israel and in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement."
The ALA agreed "we are resolving to act against a state that has taken actions that have resulted in the dispersal of millions of Palestinian people around the Middle East and North Africa (including Egypt and Tunisia), that has targeted African refugees by placing them in internment camps indefinitely, and that has collaborated with authoritarian regimes in Africa, either by their work in extractive industries, or in the shipment of arms to repressive regimes. The resolution, like the long boycott of South Africa and of Southern Rhodesia, is intended to awaken the world’s conscience to a situation that must change."
The website of AURDIP, the French academic boycott campaign, has been attacked along with the sites of other French supporters of Palestinian rights. The campaigns have issued this statement:
Several websites of the Palestine solidarity movement have been attacked by a hacker who uses the pseudonym "Ulcan" and who has claimed responsibility on the internet for a number of these attacks. The sites in question belong to Agence Média Palestine, UJFP (French Jewish Union for Peace), CCIPPP (International Civic Campaign for the Protection of the Palestinian People), AURDIP (Association of Academics for the Respect of International Law in Palestine), the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine, the Collective 69 in support of the Palestinian people, and others. The attacks continue and this list is incomplete.
Moreover, we have learned in an article dated July 27 on the website of the newspaper Le Parisien that the same individual or group of individuals using the same pseudonym is responsible for hacking the website of Yann Galut, Socialist deputy for the department of the Cher. Galut is known for his active opposition to the extreme right and called for participation in the demonstration, held on July 23, and organized by the "National collective for a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians."
While the Israeli army is perpetrating war crimes in Gaza, and while the number of victims continues to grow, those who seek to bring an end to the massacre by mobilizing public opinion, and by using the elementary democratic rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, are coming under attack. We will not be reduced to silence, and we will use all available legal means to identify and punish those responsible for this crime.
- Agence Média Palestine
- Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine - AURDIP
- Campagne Civile Internationale pour la Protection du Peuple Palestinien - CCIPPP
- Collectif 69 de soutien au peuple palestinien
All the sites have been repaired and are now functioning normally.
Student workers union branch at University of Calafornia issue open letter in support of the academic boycott
The Joint Council of the UAW 2865, a body made up of 83 elected officers who oversee the affairs of the 13,000 member-strong student-worker union at the University of California, has published an open letter that outlines their intent to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against public institutions and corporations that profit from occupation and apartheid. This means that they will seek a full membership vote within the upcoming academic year in support of BDS. As academics, they are calliing upon members to honour the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.
Palestinian trade union call for BDS actions by international trade unions as solidarity with Gaza workers
The Palestinian trade union movement, with support from with support from the Congress of South African Trade Unions and its affiliates, is unanimously calling on trade unions internationally to take immediate action to stop the Israeli massacre in Gaza and hold Israel to account for its crimes against the Palestinian people.
They ask us to consider the following actions:
- Stop handling goods imported from or exported to Israel,
- Divest your trade union pension — and other — funds from Israel Bonds as well as from corporations and banks that complicit in Israel’s occupation and human rights violations,
- Dissociate from Israeli trade unions which are complicit in the occupation
- Support our call for a military embargo on Israel
- Share information with your members about the siege and destruction of Gaza and ask your members to boycott Israeli products and to share their knowledge with family, co-workers, and friends.
Professor Martin Shaw has long been sceptical about boycotting Israel in general and the academic and cultural boycott in particular. Israel’s assault on Gaza has forced him to rethink his position.
In an essay on Open Democracy ‘Boycotting Israel: the situation has changed and I have changed my mind too’. He used to believe, ‘As an academic, I valued academic discourse and although I knew that Israeli universities were implicated in injustices against Palestinians, they were also disproportionately centres of debate and even opposition.’ But now he argues, ‘A boycott of Israeli institutions is a price they will have to pay to prevent a repeat of what we have seen over the last two weeks - or worse.’
The Israeli airforce launched a massive bombing attack on the Islamic University of Gaza causing extensive damage. The Israeli military claimed that the university housed “research and development of weapon manufacturing"”; this repeats the claims made in 2009 for the bombing of the university during Cast lead. This claim was investigated by the Goldstone Commission who reported that they “did not find any information about their use as a military facility or their contribution to a military effort that might have made them a legitimate target in the eyes of the Israeli armed forces."
If weapons development makes Universities legitimate targets for attack then Technion, Tel Aviv University and other Israeli Universities that celebrate their arms research may feel equally vulnerable.
Report from Ma'an News agency
Israel attacks my university — with bombs and lies: Electronic Intifada
The rectors of 112 Turkish Universities, appalled by the Israeli assault on Gaza, have issued a forceful declaration of support for the Palestinian people and resolved to take all possible action in their support. Inter alia they have declared they will:
- stop all kinds of academic, cultural and social relations with Israeli universities that do not blame the massacre of Israeli Government, until that inhuman massacre against our brothers in Gaza is stopped and Gaza blockade is removed,
- continue all kinds of academic, cultural and social relations with Israeli universities and Jewish academicians that react, raise their voice and protest against the massacre carried out by the Israeli government.
Over 1500 academics signed an open letter calling on their Israeli counterparts to "...to join your voices in an open and resounding protest about these war crimes by the Israeli government – your government. We urge you to stand up and be counted, to answer the call of your Gazan colleagues and make your voice heard. We hope that you will be able and willing to come together and voice your total opposition to the war crimes committed in your name! We realize you may feel worried and lonely, as dissent in Israel now carries a high price. We stand with you when you take this conscientious stand." 82 Israeli academics have responded to the call signed by such prominent intellectuals as: Prof. Noam Chomsky; Prof. Etienne Balibar; John Berger; Angela Davis; Naomi Klein; Prof. Richard Falk; Prof. Michael Rosen; Prof. Slavoj Zizek; and Prof. Jacques Rancière,
BRICUP welcomes the stand taken by these 78 who have braved an atmosphere of chauvinist intimidation. There must be many more who would like to sign but are too frightened not just for their jobs but for their personal safety if they take a stand. We are however aware that the public endorsers and the silent supporters together are a tiny proportion of Israeli academia. Meanwhile the leaders of many Israeli universities have announced rewards for those taking part in the onslaught on Gaza, and have taken disciplinary action against staff who have protested.
Israeli universities despite claims to the contrary made by opponents of the academic boycott are no havens of liberal dissent; their corporate complicity in the worst actions of the Israeli state entirely validates the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
The statement signed by the 78 reads:
The signatories to this statement, all academics at Israeli universities, wish it to be known that they utterly deplore the aggressive military strategy being deployed by the Israeli government. The slaughter of large numbers of wholly innocent people is placing yet more barriers of blood in the way of the negotiated agreement which is the only alternative to the occupation and endless oppression of the Palestinian people. Israel must agree to an immediate cease-fire, and start negotiating in good faith for the end of the occupation and settlements, through a just peace agreement.
If you are an Israeli acedemic who wishes to add their name to the statement please contact Prof. Rachel Giora with your name, title and affiliation.
Law professor Hanoch Sheinman wrote to his students saying “ [he hopes his message] finds you in a safe place, and that you, your families and those dear to you are not among the hundreds of people that were killed, the thousands wounded, or the tens of thousands whose homes were destroyed or were forced to leave their homes during, or as a direct result of, the violent confrontation in the Gaza Strip and its environs.” This innocuous expression of sympathy evoked a storm of protest from students, faculty and administrators according to a report in Ha'aretz.
Dean of the law faculty, Prof. Shahar Lifshitz, issued an urgent message to the students . “I was shocked to learn of the email sent to you by Professor Sheinman, it was a hurtful letter, and since this morning we have been justifiably flooded with messages from students and family members" despite going on to claim, "The faculty champions the values of pluralism, tolerance, and freedom of expression". Professor Lifshitz told students he would uphold freedom of expression promising that “the matter will be handled with the appropriate seriousness.”
Sheba, university-affiliated, hospital has rescinded the suspension of a Palestinian Israeli male nurse who sharply criticized the Israel Defense Forces on his Facebook page. The nurse had to apologize in writing to the hospital management
The nurse wrote on Facebook that “the Israel Defense Forces are war criminals, only killing innocent people, and the state is claiming [it is done] ‘by mistake and we are investigating the incident.’”
Australian academic boycott campaigner has won an important legal victory in his struggle against harrassment by Zionist lawfare organisation Shurat HaDin. Jake's legal team has released this statement.
In Federal Court today (24 April), Judge Alan Robertson struck out those parts of the claim that seek to underpin the factual basis of the allegations that Prof Jake Lynch has breached the Racial Discrimination Act.
He gave the applicants permission to re-cast those and any other paragraphs of the claim to rectify the defects of their case.
He ordered the applicants to pay Prof Lynch’s costs of the application brought to Strike Out the Claim and has given permission for those costs to be recovered now rather than at the conclusion of the proceedings.
He also ordered that Mr Hamilton and the other applicants undertake to the court within 21 days to not dispose of or encumber his Australian assets without notifying Prof Lynch (within 21 days). He will not require the applicants to establish a fund to secure any cost orders that may be made against them in the future. However, if that undertaking is not given he will make orders requiring the applications to give security for costs.
He has also ordered that the maximum costs, as they occur after 21 February 2014, payable to the successful party will be $300,000, subject to further order".
So - the issue has not gone away yet, but on several important legal points, the day went strongly in our favour. We are pleased and relieved!
It also alters slightly the gradient I am having to tread, in my effort to keep up with my legal bills – but only slightly. I still need your support! Any donation you can afford to give would be enormously helpful.
Northeastern SJP have sent out this message to supporters:
'Thanks to the absolutely relentless support we have received from around the world, Northeastern University has backed down on the suspension of Students for Justice in Palestine! We are reinstated and will be fully functional for the fall semester. This is a huge victory for free speech on campus, but also for the entire Palestine solidarity movement in the US. Our fight demonstrates that we will no longer tolerate discussions of Palestine and Israeli crimes being marginalized because some may disagree with us and use their power to try and silence us. Our message was heard at Northeastern loud and clear, so now let's spread it around the country. Viva Palestine!'
Students at the National University of Ireland Galway voted by nearly 2 to 1 in a vote of over 3000 to actively participate in the BDS campaign until Israel ends the occupation of Palestine and complies with its obligations under international law.
Dundee University Student Association endorsed BDS in a referendum by almost 3 to 1. As well as a general call to support BDS the vote called for a ban on selling any goods produced in settlements or by companies complicit in settlement activity. This follows an earlier vote by Dundee students to cut ties with G4S and an almost unanimous vote at the National Union of Students (Scotland) congress to affiliate to the Right To Education campaign, run by students at Birzeit University in the occupied West Bank.
A Land Day lecture by Mohammed Kena’ana at Tel Aviv University was cancelled after protests by student members of Right Wing and far Right parties. They forced the university administrators to retreat from their earlier commitment to free speech in a move praised by censorship promoting group, Im Tirzu.
Kena'ana had served a prison sentence for passing information to Hezbollah. Solidarity Against Fascism at TAU said, “It is a call against freedom of expression and pluralism, some of the most important values of a democratic society,...Kena’ana is a free Israeli citizen who has already served his sentence.”
Tel Aviv University cancels talk by Israeli Arab who served time for aiding Hezbollah - Ha'aretz
North American students continue to campaign to support Palestinian rights and promote BDS despite constant sniping from Zionists.
Call to create divestment committee passes at University of Michigan-Dearborn
Northeastern students rally against censorship and racism
Ryerson College, Toronto students vote for Israel divestment
DePaul University, Chicago students take a different approach to divestment
Anti-Boycott Resolution Rejected in Illinois State Senate Committee
Wesleyan Jewish students announce support for Open Hillel
Divestment bid at University of New Mexico fails by 12-7
Washington University, Missouri censors Palestinian poet and bans campus meeting on BDS
Hasbara courses are not unusual in Israeli universities
but previously they have been short courses outside the main programme.
Now Haifa University has launched as a four credit course, ‘Ambassadors
Online: Volunteering, Zionism, Digital Diplomacy’, to be offered
by the University’s Department of Multi-Disciplinary Studies to
prepare students to be unofficial “ambassadors” for Israel
on the Internet.
The lack of the critical approach to be expected of any legitimate university programme is apparent from the endorsements on the programme’s home page which include such propaganda organisations as StandWithUs and Birthright Israel and also the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Public Diplomacy & Diaspora Affairs.
In mounting this programme Haifa University further undermines those arguments against the Academic Boycott based on the claims that Israeli universities are independent of the state.
The ASA has flourished since its historic decision to support the academic boycott. Despite fierce attempts by Israel's supporters to demonise the ASA, attempts to encourage disaffiliations and legal threats membership is growing fast and membership revenue is at a 25 year high.
Academics for Palestine publish 'Academia Against Apartheid – The case for an academic boycott of Israel'
The Irish academic boycott campaign,
for Palestine, have published a new booklet 'Academia Against
Apartheid – The case for an academic boycott of Israel'.
This booklet provides an up to date case for the academic boycott
and provides effective rebuttals to the arguments made against
BRICUP organised an open letter to RIBA to express support for their decision to call for the bar on the Israeli architects' association.
In just a couple of days 77 signatures were collected including MPs; Peers; architects; academics; authors; musicians; actors and more.
The students' union of King's College London voted to endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign at its Student General Meeting on 25 March by 348 votes to 252 The motion recalls how KCLSU took a stand against South African Apartheid in the 1980s. The motin calls for an invstigation of KCL's links with Israel and for the College "Israel and from companies directly or indirectly supporting the Israeli occupation and apartheid policies"
Jonathan Rosenhead and Sue Blackwell of BRICUP debated BDS at Leeds University on 19 March against Hugh Hubbard (Leeds UNiversity) and Robert Fine (Warwick University). The motion "This house believes that UK academics should join the movement for academic boycott by refusing to engage with any Israeli academic institutions until Israel ends the occupation and abides by international law.” was supported 53:37 before the speeches and by 68:23 after the debate. Over a third of the opponents of BDS changed their minds after hearing the arguments.
The 2014 Annual Congress of the University and College Union Scotland Congress (UCU Scotland) unanimouslyvoted on 28 March to condemn the planned visit by Israeli war criminal Tzipi Livni. The Israeli politician was given a rare diplomatic passport by the UK Government in 2011 specifically to protect her from the risk of arrest and prosecution for complicity in Israeli war crimes. Livni is planning to speak at a provocative Nakba Day meeting of the JNF (Jewish National Fund) at a secret central London venue on Thursday 15th May. UCU Scotland Congress called on Theresa May to refuse Livni entry to the UK. The JNF purchases land which it will then not allow Palestinians to purchase or live on. They are heavily involved in current efforts to dispossess the Bedouin of the Negev.
RIBA is the national professional organisation of British architects. Its council met on 19 March and passed a motion proposed by Angela Brady, former president of RIBA and backed by Architects and Planners for Justice for Palestinians (APJP). The motion was agreed by 23 to 16 with 10 abstentions after a heated debate. RIBA is the first UK professional association ot take action against Israel for its breaches of international law.
Since the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) has paid no regard to the UIA resolution 13 of 2005 and 2009, the RIBA calls on the UIA, as the international guardian of professional and ethical standards in our profession, to suspend the membership of the Israeli Association of United Architects, until it acts to resist these illegal projects, and observes international law, and the UIA Accords and Resolution 13.
Resolution 13 stated:
The UIA Council condemns development projects and the construction of buildings on land that has been ethnically purified or illegally appropriated, and projects based on regulations that are ethnically or culturally discriminatory, and similarly it condemns all action contravening the fourth Geneva Convention.
American students are responding to threats to activists by intensifying BDS campaigns on more campuses.
On 18 March students at Loyola, a Jesuit University in Chicago, agreed to divest from companies complicit in aiding the Israeli Occupation of Palestine. They identified Caterpillar, General Electric, Hewlitt-Packard, G4S, Raytheon, Elbit Systems, SodaStream, and Veolia. The vote at the student senate was passed nem con with 26 votes in favour and 2 abstentions; it followed a year long campaign by Loyola SJP and a petition signed by over 800 students.
On the same day students at the University of Michigan started an indefinite occupation in protest at the student government’s refusal to hold a vote on divestment.
Read about the Loyola action on Mondoweiss
Read about the Michigan action in the student newspaper
Zionists play Whack-a-Mole; but the moles keep digging
Students at the University of Windsor (UW) in Ontario, Canada passed a motion to support BDS by 798 to 585 votes. Like most student moves to support Palestinina rights this provoked threats and reprisals. The backlash this time had an extreme islamophobic flavour.
Richard Spenser, a major donor to the university not only promised ot withdraw his funding but did so saying, ' I am reasonably certain that the majority, if not all, of this small percentage of the student body are of the Muslim faith, which promotes violence and hatred toward the Jews in the middle east.' This prompts the questin of why the univesrity was prepared to accept donations from someone who so easily uses racist slurs and whether they apply due diligence before acepting donations.
On Monday 10 March, to kick off End Israeli Apartheid Week, the Barnard-Columbia chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine hung up a banner in front of Barnard Hall, featuring a map of historical Palestine. In response, students and parents from campus organizations like Lion PAC and Columbia Barnard Hillel immediately began a concerted email campaign, demanding the sign be removed because of its “anti-Semitic” content. And so, despite the fact that SJP obtained official permission to put up the banner, even explaining the message of their sign beforehand, Barnard President Debora Spar made the decision to tear down the banner the next morning.
Haim Brasheeth and Ghada Kharmi of BRICUP were interviewed on Irish radio about the academic boycott.
Boston’s Northeastern University has suspended the on-campus Students for Justice in Palestine and launched police investigations into students. The administration also threatened two students with suspension or expulsion for distributing mock eviction leaflets on campus, a popular direct action many Palestine solidarity groups undertake during the annual Israeli Apartheid Week of events. The two SJP members who were threatened with expulsion-level charges are the only women of color in the group that distributed the leaflets.
Students say the explicit threats of expulsion of the two women has apparently been rescinded due to the outpouring of pressure by SJP activists and supporters of free speech around the country.
A powerful BDS motion has been passed by NUI Galway Students’ Union by a 2:1 majority in a poll which recorded over 3000 votes.
Fionnghuala Nic Roibeaird, Auditor of the NUIG PSS, said in a statement: “This is a landmark victory in Ireland for the growing international campaign to boycott Israel until it complies with international law and ends its illegal occupation of Palestine, and no doubt NUIG SU is just the first of many SUs in Ireland to endorse such a campaign.”
Professors Judith Butler and Rashid Khalidi co-authored a statement objecting to increased incidents of censorship and intimidation in academic and cultural institutions for the purposes of imposing illegitimate limitations on freedom of expression relating to Israel and Palestine. Subsequently their statement has bene endorsed by over 150 academics from many countries.
Jake has issued an appeal to help with his mounting legal costs.
The student union at the University of Kent at Canterbury is to terminate
its contract with G4S following an “outcry” over its role in human rights
abuses in Palestine, South Africa, the UK and other countries.
G4S provides security and incarceration “services” to Israeli military bases, checkpoints, illegal settlements and prisons at which Palestinian political prisoners are held without trial and subjected to abuse and torture.
The university's Israeli students have left the Israel Society in the hands of a group of determined British Jews, saying the organization doesn't realize that not every Israeli supports the Israeli government. They suggest the society rename itself the 'Netanyahu Support Society'.
The orchestrated attack on the American Studies Association following its boycott decision has intensified. NY State Senate voted by 56-4 to bar spending taxpayer funds on academic groups that support boycotting Israel.
The move is likely to be ineffective. It is opoen to challenge on Fist Ammendment free speech grounds. Further it exempts boycotts that target “unlawful discriminatory practices” - exactly the focus of ASA's action.
The council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) declares its support for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions...NAISA is dedicated to free academic inquiry about, with, and by Indigenous communities. The NAISA Council protests the infringement of the academic freedom of Indigenous Palestinian academics and intellectuals in the Occupied Territories and Israel who are denied fundamental freedoms of movement, expression, and assembly, which we uphold.
On January 12, 2014, a delegation of six academics and a labor activist traveled from Jordan to Palestine through the Israeli checkpoint. The delegation is led by Professor Rabab Abdulhadi of San Francisco State University and is meeting with Palestinian academics to better understand conditions on the ground and to facilitate future collaborations. Four members of the delegation, including Abdulhadi and Professor Junaid Rana of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, were held at the checkpoint and interrogated by Israeli security, the Ministry of the Interior, and the military, for over ten hours.
NYU chapter of American Association of University Professors has denounced the McCarthy like attacks on ASA decison on academic boycott.
The members of the AAUP chapter at NYU hold a variety of views about the efficacy of academic boycotts. In recognition of that range of opinion, we do not support President Sexton’s condemnation of the American Studies Association’s resolution to boycott Israeli universities. Faculty have a right to express their own opinions, in whatever form, about the suppression of freedoms among academics overseas, and a boycott of institutions is a legitimate exercise of that right. University presidents who unilaterally issue statements that do not reflect the diversity of opinion among their faculty are overstepping their office.
However, we do agree with the NYU administration’s response to the proposed legislation in the New York State Assembly. The bill (A.8392) is a clear and present threat to basic academic freedoms, not in the Middle East but here in New York State. Elected officials are seeking to use their fiscal powers to limit the range of academic expression simply because they disagree with its content. Passing this legislation would set a very dangerous precedent, reminiscent, for many of us, of the loyalty oaths of the McCarthy era.
The Modern Language Association's Delegate Assembly approved a resolution on 11 Jnauary urging the U.S. State Department to express concern over what the measure calls restrictions on scholars' ability to travel to Israel and the West Bank to work at Palestinian universities.
Israel Academic Monitor, a leading anti-BDS group commented, "Whatever the final outcome, the academic boycott has achieved its main goal, to keep the Palestinian issue in the headlines."
Inside Higher Ed: Taking Israel to Task
New York Times: Another Academic Group Considers Israel Censure
Israel Academic Monitor: The Modern Language Association - The Future of Academic Boycott Is Here?
This boycott call follows on recent decisions by a growing number of international scholars and academic organizations and institutions to boycott Israeli institutions in protest of the US-supported Israeli occupation of Palestine, settlement expansion, the Israeli Wall, and other violations of international law. Nearly 40 international film/media scholars, practitioners, and professionals as well as other noted intellectuals, artists, and activists have signed a letter endorsing a boycott of an Assistant Professor position opening in Cinema/Visual Culture at Hebrew University.
The EU's research programme does not only support Israel's arms industry indirectly by funding military and security related projects at Israeli universities. It also directly funds Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries and other leading Israeli weapons manufacturers.
War on Want is seeking signatures to an open leter to EU commissioners Catherine Ashton and Máire Geoghegan-Quinn demanding that Israeli arms companies be excluded from Horizon 2020, the next round of EU research funding.
Sign the War on Want letter
The members of the American Studies Association have endorsed the Association’s participation in a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. In an election that attracted 1252 voters, the largest number of participants in the organization’s history, 66.05% of voters endorsed the resolution, while 30.5% of voters voted no and 3.43% abstained.
The resolution is in solidarity with scholars and students deprived of their academic freedom and it aspires to enlarge that freedom for all, including Palestinians. The ASA’s endorsement of the academic boycott emerges from the context of US military and other support for Israel; Israel’s violation of international law and UN resolutions; the documented impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian scholars and students; the extent to which Israeli institutions of higher education are a party to state policies that violate human rights; and finally, the support of such a resolution by a majority of ASA members.
The American Studies Association National Council votes unanimously to endorse academic boycott of Israel
In an unprecedented step a major US academic institution has voted to support the academic boycott. One year ago, the Academic and Community Activism Caucus of the ASA asked the Executive Committee (EC) to consider a resolution to honor the call from Palestinian civil society to support the academic boycott of Israel. The EC forwarded the resolution to the National Council. Following extensive deliberative procedures the Council unanimously decided to issue and recommend to a boycott motion to its members.
The American Studies Association is the oldest and largest USA association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history; it has 5,000 individual members along with 2,200 library and other institutional subscribers.
Michael Sommer, head of the Confederation of German Trade Unions, used his speech acceptig the first Arno Lustiger Award to launch an attack on BDS which falsely associated the campaign with Nazi boycotts of Jews.
BRICUP was invited to respond by the German news magazine Hintergrund.
The camapign against the Oral History Conference at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has recevied a major boost.
We are pleased to announce that the planned June 2014 “International Oral History Conference” being organized by Hebrew University of Jerusalem has been dealt a double blow with the cancellation of their two international keynote speakers: Alessandro Portelli (Italy) and Mary Marshall Clark (USA). The university’s claim to be hosting the “first international oral history conference” was unfounded when they made it; it is even less true now.
BRICUP has offered its full support to professor Jake Lynch and his colleagues in resisting the legal assault on them in Australia.
Shurat HaDin, an Israel based 'law' camapigning group has now filed a case in the Australian courts.
Australians for BDS statement on the case
To support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is not antisemitic by Antony Lowenstein: The Guardian
Boycott movement under attack in Australia by Jake Lynch: Bricup Newsleter 70
Texas A&M University is planning to take over the Nazareth Academic Institute, Nazareth is the Israel cit ywith the larget number of Palestinian inhabitants. The take-over is backed by Christian Zionist Texas Governor Rick Perry "[Christians] have a clear directive to support Israel, so from my perspective it’s pretty easy. Both as an American and as a Christian, I am going to stand with Israel”. It is also backed by John Hagee, leader of the lobby group Christians United for Israel,
Planting this zioinst backed project in Nazareth undermines efforts to develop a Palestinian University in Israel, a long held aspiration to build highrer education independent of the Israeli state.
US Christian Zionists plan to take over Palestinian university in Israel - Electronic Intifada
The EU is threatening to water down its guidelines on Israeli eligibility for EU funding to the point where they would become meaningless despite calls from leading academics to maintain its stance.
Following the earlier call, prominent professors, including five Fellows of the Royal Society as well as a member of the French Académie des Sciences, have written to Catherine Ashton, the EU's head of Foreign Policy, expressing their dismay at these reports.
BRICUP and our French counterparts AURDIP have sent a letter to Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, demanding that the EU does not soften or postpone the implementation of the EU Guidelines on Israeli Settlements.
The letter gathered more that 450 signatures from Academics across the EU and are supported by almost 100 from elsewhere. The signatures were gathered in just two daysand the non-EU signatures were not sought but came from Academics outraged thet the EU might buckle to US and Israeli pressure to abandon even this mild action against illegal settlement activity.
Sign by 11 September
The European Union recently announced new
guidelines that should prevent Israeli universities, companies and
projects based in settlements from receiving EU funding. This important
policy change is the result of grassroots campaigning across Europe,
including a letter to the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton signed
by 250 academics from across Europe last year.
Israel and the US are applying pressure on the EU to drop the new guidelines, or water them down to the point where they become meaningless. ahead of negotiations on Israel's participation in the upcoming Horizon 2020 EU research funding program starting on Thursday. John Kerry has called for the new guidelines to be dropped and a US official has claimed that there is an "openness" to this request among EU officials. The intensive round of talks between the EU and the Israeli’s about the latter’s participation in the Horizon 2020 programme opens this Thursday September 12th.
The British Committee for Universities in Palestine and the Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine are organising a joint letter to be signed by academics from across Europe urging the EU to maintain its current stance.
The University of Manchester has signed a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ with Technion- Israel Institute of Technology to facilitate joint research between the two institutions. Technion is heavily implicated in researching technology for home demolitions including developing the notorious D-9 bulldozers.
Oral historians and other academics from Palestine, Israel and elsewhere have issued a call to boycott the June 2014 ‘International Conference on Oral History’ organised by the Oral History Division of the Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The call has been signed by over 350 academics including over 70 involved in Oral History.
Read the call with signatures at 15 November 2013
Add your name to the call
On the Fallacy of ‘Engaging’ with the Israeli Academy: Haim Brasheef and Sherna Berger Gluck - Counterpunch
The Hebrew University and ‘Hasbara’: Rosemary Sayigh
The Israeli Law Centre (Shurat HaDin) is taking legal action against Professors Lynch and Rees but has instead lodged a complaint against Prof Jake Lynch with the Australian Human Rights Commission alleging racial discrimination and racial hatred under the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 for his support of the academic boycott.
BDS supporters are being invited to show their support for Jake Lynch by offering to be named as co-defendants.
Academia Undermined: Israeli restrictions on foreign academics in Palestinian Higher Education Institutions
This report from the Right to Education Campaign focuses on the implications of Israeli restrictions on entry and residency for foreign academics wishing to serve at institutes of higher education operating in the occupied Palestinian territories. It is important to note that the term “foreign” is something of a misnomer: Israel treats all individuals without an Israeli-issued identity card [“hawiyya”] as a foreigner even if they are of Palestinian origin and even if they and/or their parents are born in Palestine. Thus “foreign” academics refers to anyone who does not hold a Palestinian identity card and must therefore enter the oPt on a foreign passport regardless of whether or not they are of Palestinian origin. “Foreign” academics or “foreign” nationals could therefore be of Palestinian origin (as is frequently the case) or have no Palestinian roots.
We understand that Professor Stephen Hawking has declined his invitation to attend the Israeli Presidential Conference Facing Tomorrow 2013, due to take place in Jerusalem on 18-20 June. This is his independent decision to respect the boycott, based upon his knowledge of Palestine, and on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there.
UPDATE 8 May 1600 BDT: The statement above has been issued with the specific endorsement of Professor Hawking's office. His staff sent us the following message on 7 May "Just spoken to Tim [Tim Holt, Acting Director of Communications for Cambridge University] and we are both in agreement with the quote - and as you say - sensible to get this out rather than a lot of differing opinions." We have seen the letter that Professor Hawking sent to the Jerusalem organisers giving his clear reasons for not attending and are seeking his permission to release the letter but will not do so until we have his approval. We regret the misinformation being circulated about this matter.
“We have now received confirmation from Professor Hawking’s office that a letter was sent on Friday to the Israeli President’s office regarding his decision not to attend the Presidential Conference, based on advice from Palestinian academics that he should respect the boycott.
“We had understood previously that his decision was based purely on health grounds having been advised by doctors not to fly.”
They always had that knowledge (see 1600 update). We await apologies from the participants in the Hasbara storm who accused us of lying.
Professor Hawking's letter on 3 May to the conference organisers said, "I accepted the invitation to the Presidential Conference with the intention that this would not only allow me to express my opinion on the prospects for a peace settlement but also because it would allow me to lecture on the West Bank. However, I have received a number of emails from Palestinian academics. They are unanimous that I should respect the boycott. In view of this, I must withdraw from the conference. Had I attended, I would have stated my opinion that the policy of the present Israeli government is likely to lead to disaster."
A brief history of Stephen Hawking's boycott - The Daily Beast The story of how BRICUP got accused of lying but was later vindicated.
Stephen Hawking's message to Israeli elites: The occupation has a price Noam Sheifaz 972 Magazine
The Denigration of Stephen Hawking Reveals the Intense Dishonesty of Current Zionism Edward Teller MyFireDogLake
Shir Hever interviews Mike Cushman Real News Network
A Brief History of Stephn Hawking's Hypocrisy Eli Valley The Forward
Teachers Union of Ireland calls for Academic Boycott of Israel in unanimous vote; first academic union in Europe to do so
At its Annual Congress, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) became the first academic union in Europe to endorse the Palestinian call for an academic boycott of Israel. The motion, which refers to Israel as an “apartheid state”, calls for “all members to cease all cultural and academic collaboration with Israel, including the exchange of scientists, students and academic personalities, as well as all cooperation in research programmes” was passed by a unanimous vote.
Ronnie Fraser, a Zionist member of UCU (University and College Union), with the support of leaders of the UK Jewish establishment attempted to sue his Union for antisemitism.
In an unusually robust judgement the tribunal found the case “an impermissible attempt to achieve a political end by litigious means” and a case which showed a “worrying disregard for pluralism, tolerance and freedom of expression”. The points made by leading lawyer Anthony Julius were dismissed as “palpably groundless”, “obviously hopeless” and “devoid of any merit”.
This is another example of the use of the courts in a lawfare campaign to silence criticism of the policies of Israel and support for Palestinian Rights.
BRICUP Newsletter 63 special issue on Fraser v UCU
BRICUP's press release on the findings
UCU press release
The judgement in full (pdf)
The judgement scanned as searchable document not 100% accurate check against pdf
Tribunal slams academic for bringing anti-Semitism case: Times Higher Education
UCU cleared of antisemitism - Anthony Julius charged with ‘being rubbish’: New Left Project
Top Israeli official claims "Over the last six months Israel has taken on two (court) cases in partnership with UK Jewry"
Debating BDS: Fraser v UCU A legal analysis by Brenna Bhandar
It's about the Palestinians, stupid Comment by Mike Cushman
A Devastating Defeat for Academic Opponents of the Boycott of Israeli Universities Comment by Tony Greenstein
Anti-Israel union case was ‘act of epic folly’ Simon Rocker The Jewish Chronicle
Following on the Israeli Government's attempt to close down the politics department at Ben Gurion University because its research does not follow the Government line Netanyahu bars distinguished academic Prof. Rivka Feldhay from a meeting with Chancellor Merkel.
PM slammed for 'harming academic freedom' - Ha'aretz
BRICUP played an active role in ensuring that teh Academic boycott was full discused at the WSF-Free Palestine in Porto Alegre, Brazil, November 28-December 1, 2012. The event was successful in energizing a cadre of Brazilian students to vcampaign ot extend Academic Boycott activities to Latin America.
Stevie Wonder was one of the staunchest opponents of Apartheid South Africa. He has caused great pain to many of his fans worldwide by his decision to play in a benefit for the 'Friends of the Israeli Defence Force' in LA on 6 December. Not only is Israel imposing its own apartheid system on its Palestinian inhabitants, last week it announced plans for a segregated apartheid bus service, but it was the last best friend of white South Africa.
BRICUP has issued an open letter appealing to him to change his mind.
Read BRICUP's open letter
Send your own message to his manager Robert Norman
Phone Robert Norman +1(424) 288-2000
Sign the petition to Stevie Wonder
Post a message on Stevie Wonder's Facebook page
Like the Stevie Wonder say No to Israeli Defense Forces Gala Facebook page
Jonathan Rosenhead confronted leading Zionist Israeli academic Professor Mordechai Kedar on Birmingham's Unity FM radio on 23 November.
Jonathan Rosenhead convincingly dismissed the thin and contradictory arguments put forward by Kedar to excuse Israel's attack on Gaza.
Alice Walker and Roger Waters call on Carnegie Hall to cancel Israel Philharmonic Orchestra performance
Cultural workers and social justice leaders have called on New York's Carnegie Hall to cancel this week’s performance of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and respect the Palestinian-led boycott.
Adalah-NY posted an open letter, which has been signed by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and social justice activist Alice Walker, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, Palestinian American poet and activist Remi Kanazi, and dozens of others.
PACBI have produced an action plan to carry forward on a global basis BRICUP's work in opposing Hasbara studies in UK universities.
Batsheva, the leading Israeli Dance company attracted protest and disruption when they performed at the Edinburgh International Festival. BRICUP have followed up that protest with an open letter demanding they cancel the rest of their UK tour unless they 'at least decline Ministry of Foreign Affairs funding, and state publicly that Batsheva will not be used to cover up the Occupation'.
Over 600 academics from across the globe have signed a petition to the Israeli Council of Higher Education (CHE) calling on them not to close the Department of Politics and Government of Ben Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), despite evidence form their own enquiry of the high academic standing of the department.
The attack on BGU politics department is part of the campaign by the Israeli government to silence any critical voices in Israeli Universities and elsewhere.
BRICUP is saddened to learn of the death of Gabi Baramki but joins with all his friends in celebrating his life and achievements.
Batsheva, an Israeli Government supported dance company were invited to appear at the Edinbugh International Festival. A widely supported, including leading Scottish cultural figures like Liz Lochhead and Iain Banks, letter of protest was sent to the Festival organisers but they did not withdraw the invitation.
The Edinburgh City Guide review said:
"The EIF has a duty, to its audience and performers, to behave in a responsible fashion. It is questionable whether inviting a company that is hailed by the Israeli Foreign Ministry as Israel’s, ‘best global ambassadors’, at this particular moment in time, is a responsible act. This performance never had a hope of running smoothly, leaving both audience and artists vulnerable and with a rather nasty taste in the mouth.
The audience were ushered out of the emergency exit doors with the chants from protesters, still outside the building, of ‘Your tickets were covered in Palestinian blood’ ringing in our ears. This was not one of the Edinburgh International Festival’s finest moments."
Read the full Edinbugh Guide account of the protest
Read the debate between Lloyd Newson and boycott supporters including BRICUP members on why this boycott was correct and significant
BRICUP has urged the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at York St John University to cancel its proposed joint conference with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJ) on ‘Mediating Peace: Reconciliation through Art, Music and Film’, in Jerusalem in November 2012, and to end its association until the HUJ ends its complicity in Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine and its human rights abuses against the Palestinian people.
250 European academics tell the EU 'end involvement of Israeli arms companies in EU research programs'
Over 250 academics from 14 European countries have written an open letter to Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science to tell her to stop aiding the Israeli arms industry through the EU research programme.
The signatories, include Gérard Toulouse, a member of the French Academy of Science, Malcolm Levitt, a member of the UK Royal Society, and renowned philosopher Slavjoj Zizek. They point out that the involvement of Israeli companies that help Israel violate international law in EU funded research programs “undermines both the reputation of these programs and the stated goals of the European Union and its member states”.
The British Council is sponsoring first ever Israeli Film and Television Festival in London's cinemas in June. They are compunding their support of Apartheid culture by failing to object to ‘a special tasting by Golan Wines’ before many of the screenings.
Golan wines come from he illegally annexed Golan Heights and are an illegal product under international law.
Palestinian rights supporters held a lively protest outside the Globe Theatre on 28 May to codemn the Globe's invitation to Habima Israel's National Theatre. Inside activists, disgusted at Habima's decison to support the illegal occupation by performing in settlements, silently held up banners and were seized and thrown out.
BRICUP's press release
Tony Greenstein blog on events inside
The drama's outside: protests target Israeli take on Shakespeare - report in the Independent
Israeli press reports in Ha'aretz and Ynet and on JTA
A detailed account of events inside the Globe from a neutral theatre criticism blog - The Bardathon
Habima protesters ahead in media war - J-BIG report
Photostream of the protest
Videos of the protest inside and outside the Globe
BRICUP wote to Sir Simon Ratle and Placido Domingo asking them to refuse to go to Israel to receive the $100,000 Wolf Prize.
Sadly they went and took the cheque and the box of chocolates; bouquet of roses and diploma that went with it. They did not even take the opportunity, which previoius recipients had, to use the ceremony as a chance to denounce Israel's crimes or donate the prize money to Palestinain organisations. Then they could have kept the chocolates, roses and diploma and also kept some of their integrity, but times must be tough for global musical super stars and they needed the money more.
Since 2009 several UK universities have created posts in Israel Studies, all funded by external donors with histories of uncritical support for Israel. Some explicitly promote political aims, especially by diverting attention from Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Such efforts threaten academic integrity and freedom.
Bricup has prepared a briefing document to provide guidance about the threat and about strategies for local campaigns of opposition.
Please send further information and comments for future development of the briefing document or requests to support local campaigns via endorsement or practical assistance to email@example.com
Theatrical artists have been recording vidoes to explain their call to Shakespeare's Globe to cancel their invitation to Israel's national Habima Theatre.
- John Calder
- John Graham Davies
- Miriam Margolyes
- 'Hath a Palestinian not eyes?' Boycott
Habima, National Theatre of Israel
Statements by Palestinian rights campaigners
- Ghada Kharmi
- Haim Brasheeth and Mike Cushman
US, Palestinian, Israeli, Turkish and Lebanese organizations have made requests for the Chili Peppers to not cross the international picket line and respect the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. We will continue to bring to light the injustices that Palestinians face as a result of Occupation and apartheid policies and show why BDS is a moral action for artists - including the Red Hot Chilli Peppers - to take.
AS Tal Shipiro from Boycott from Within said "[We must] make sure that no artist can say they didn’t know. Not about the atrocities of the apartheid state and its brutal occupation, and not about the movement to boycott, divest and sanction it."
Following right wing pressure The University of Haifa rescinded permission for a student-organized Nakba Day event, just three hours before the event was to have taken place. The university's president, Aaron Ben-Ze'ev, announced the cancelation even after organizers received permits from all relevant bodies. The Hadash students' organization released a statement saying, "Our feeling is that little by little we are returning to the period of military rule, and from the most unexpected place - academia."
The General Union of Palestinian Writers salutes international writers who are boycotting the Mishkenot Sha'ananim festival and condemns in the strongest terms the participation of writers whose names were announced by the festival organizers as participants. The Union calls on Palestinian intellectuals and cultural workers, writers, novelists, academics and journalists to boycott the festival and not to meet with its participants who are not welcome [among us] as they have shamed themselves.
The organisers of the festival demanded opening speakers must show their speeches to management in advance - in an effort to avoid a repeat of a 2010 speech that criticized Israel. Another example of how Israeli organisations complain, inaccurately, that BDS is censorship while stamping on free speech themselves.
Over 200 NYU faculty and staff have signed a letter calling on TIAA-CREF, the pension provider for the university to divest from Caterpillar, Elbit Systems, Motorola, Veolia, and Northrop Grumman and other firms that profit from Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.
The letter was drafted by NYU Students for Justice in Palestine. It describes Caterpillar's role in home demolitions; Elbit's manufacture of drones used in extra-judicial killings; Motorola's role in is equipping aparteheid wall checkpoints; Veolia's involvement in the settlement servicing light rail; and Northrop Grumman's supply of weapons used in the Cast Lead assault on Gaza.
The signatories include many senior professors of the University. Natable among them is Craig Calhoun, President of the US Social Science Research Council, who will be Director of eh London School of Economics from September.
Ahava, the Israeli cosmetics company that steals its ingredients from Occupied Palestinian land attempted to book Leeds University's Weetwood Hall for a promotional event. A campaign by Leeds students and staff and Leeds PSC put pressure on the vice-chancellor and the booking has been cancelled.
The protest against the Globe Theatre's invitation to Habima, Israel's National Theatre, to perform at this summer's international Olympic Shaespeare festival has gained heavywieight support.
Leading actors and directors including David Calder, Trevor Griffiths, Jonathan Miller, Mark Rylance, Emma Thompson and Harriet Walter signed an open letter published in the Guardian on 30 March.
Read the signatories' press release
Why a cultural boycott of Israel is justified - New Statesman: Ben White on the Habima call and the reactions
Artists refute 'Nazi' slurs over Israeli theatre protest - letter in the Jewish Chronicle
Ashtar Theatre from Palestine call for cancellation of Habima invitation after their Globe performance - video of post prefoemance discussion
Italian activists demanded and were granted the opportunity to to speak prior to the presentation by Hanan Kaminski, director of the school of animation of the Bezalel Academy of Jerusalem. The BDS activists informed the audience that the participation of Bezalel, with the sponsorship and financial support of the Israeli Embassy in Italy, represents one of many attempts by Israel to use culture to rebrand its image and divert attention from policies of occupation, colonialism and apartheid.
In 2005, Nissim Ben-Sheetrit of Israel's Foreign Ministry stated: “We see culture as a propaganda tool of the first rank, and we do not differentiate between propaganda and culture.”
The standard Israeli sponsorship contract states: "The service provider [or in English, the artist] is aware that the purpose of ordering services from him is to promote the policy interests of the State of Israel via culture and art, including contributing to creating a positive image for Israel.
Rome, Italy: Boycott Action Condemning the Use of Culture to Cover Israeli Crimes in Stop Agrexco Italia
Haifa and Tel Aviv Universities are offering course in hasbara for Israeli and International students respectively. Hasbara is the name Israelis give to propaganda and disinformation in defence of Israel and the Occupation.
While many courses in many universities worldwide can be accused of bias these ae unusual in overtly teaching the skills of distortion and lying. Trainers on the courses include: Mark Regev, famous worldwide for defending the indefensible and saying what is convenient rather than what is accurate; and Neil Lazarus who promoted a video falsely claiming tha tteh Gaza Flotilla was homophobic. The Tel Aviv course is supported by Stand with Us an extremist pro-Israel US group associated with Islamophobic funders.
This is yet more evidence of why Israeli Universities should be boycotted: they do not promote the values of disinterested enquiry expected of any university.
Activists in Cambridge are urging the Cambridge University Chamber
Choir under the direction of Tim Brown to cancel their tour of Israel
performing Bach's St Matthew Passion from 20-27 March. They are acting
In keeping with the call by Palestinian NGOs for the academic and cultural
boycott of Israel
Lacking the names of the Choir members, the Cambridge activists sent their letter to its director, administrator and secretary, as well as to officials of the Cambridge University Musical Society. To our knowledge they have not fulfilled this request to forward it to the individual members. Bricup are pleased to post hteir letter on our site to enable dialogue with Choir members.
The Israeli Camerata site names the singers as the 'Academy of English Voices', but the CU Musical Society has confirmed that members of the CU Chamber Choir will indeed be touring.
Sarah Schulman described a the Penn BDS conference the hurdles she had to cross to get the New York Time to publish her article on Pinkwashing and how the paper published a response by the Israeli Embassy with no fact-checking at all.