In a significant boost to the campaign to support Palestinian rights and Palestinian academics, Professor Catherine Hall of University College London, the widely respected cultural historian, has withdrawn her acceptance of the Israeli Dan David Prize.
Catherine told BRICUP, "I have withdrawn from the prize – this was an independent political choice, undertaken after many discussions with those who are deeply involved with the politics of Israel-Palestine, but with differing views as to how best to act.”
Catherine Hall has renounced her share of $1million, placing principle above financial gain.
Catherine's stance ws reinforced by the decision of Professor David Shulman, Renee Lang Professor of Humanistic Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, to donate his prize to to Ta'ayush, an Israeli group that assists Palestinian residents of the South Hebron Hills. He also released a video documenting the attacks on Hebron Palestinians by settlers and the IDF.
Israel has officially refused to renew the travel document of Omar Barghouti, co-founder of PACBI, in a move that amounts to a travel ban and is an escalation of its attacks on non-violent Palestinian human rights defenders and on the BDS campaign.
Barghouti, who lives with his family in Acre, has Israeli permanent residency and requires an Israeli travel document to be able to
travel in and out of Palestine/Israel. His immediate reaction was: “I am unnerved but certainly undeterred by these threats. Nothing will stop me from struggling for my people’s freedom, justice and peace”.
Photo by Jamal Mimouni
On 24 April Imad al-Barghouthi, Professor of Astrophysics at Al-Quds University, was again siezed by the Israeli Army and placed into administrative detention. Professor al-Barghouti has an international reputation for his work and has been employed by the US NASA.
He was previously arrested and held without charge in December 2014 but released in January 2015 following by an international scientific outcry which culminated in a stinging article in Nature. BRICUP and our
French partners AURDIP played a leading part in the campaign to get him released. BRICUP and AURDIP members met Professor al-Barghouti on their tour of Palestinian Universities and were impressed by his seriousness and hs calm resolve to continue to oppose Israeli occupation peacefully despite the risks to him and his family.
BRICUP and AURDIP are committed to securing his prompt release again and will be publicising very soon how academics and others can take action in support.
The British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) has issued a call directly to academic colleagues in the UK scientific community NOT to apply for funding through the Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange (BIRAX). This is a politically motivated scheme whose purpose is to protect Israel from the growing Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement.
BIRAX seeks to normalise an intolerable status quo and to undermine the civil society BDS movement aiming to hold Israel
accountable for its crimes against Palestinians. We call on UK-based scientists to follow the example of Stephen Hawking – who chose to boycott Israel in 2013 by refusing to attend the Israeli Presidents Conference – and decline to participate in BIRAX.
BRICUP, along with its sister organisations in France and Belgium, has written to EU Foreign Policy Chief to protest against the participation of the head of the EU delegation to Israel, in the “Stop the Boycott” Conference in Jerusalem on 28 March. His presence both undermines the EU policy on the illegaility of settlement goods and implicitlyt endorses the threats to the safety, and even lives, of BDS advocates issued at the conference.
The letter demands that the EU "reassert the EU’s opposition to existing and prospective Israeli settlements in the illegally occupied territories, and above all warn the Israeli government against attacks on Omar Barghouti and other Palestinian civil rights activists"
Read the letter to Federica Mogherini
A year ago Southampton University succumbed to Zionist and Government pressure and cancelled International Law & the State of Israel: Responsibility, Legitimacy and Exceptionalism Conference. The organisers, with the support of hundreds of supporters launched legal action to get the university's actions reviewed. At the same time they have been trying to negotiate the re-instatement of the conference but have been told they must pay a prohibitive security bill of £25,000.
The organisers have also asked for judicial review of this effective ban. These cases are both due in the courts in April and the conference organisers are appealing for financial support.
Professor Uri Ram, the newly elected president of the Israeli Sociological Society, has called for a boycott Ariel University, located in a West Bank settlement.
“We will not cooperate with the institute known as Ariel University, which is not located within the bounds of the State of Israel,” he said in an interview with Army Radio.
The members are expected to discuss the initiative at an upcoming Society meeting in April. Should the motion pass, it would mark the first time that an Israeli academic association would boycott an Israeli university.
Ariel University management denouced this call for a moral stance as "semi-fascist" - takes one to know one.
McGraw-Hill, the major US text book publishing house, has withdrawn, and is destroying all copies of, a political science textbook , Global Politics: Engaging a Complex World following objections to a map showing the shrinkage of Palestinian land from 1946 to the present.
This sequence of maps, which is a graphic representation of successive Israeli land seizures, has long been the object of Zionist ire and they have frequently protested at its use.
McGraw-Hill stated, "As soon as we learned about the concerns with it, we placed sales of the book on hold and immediately
initiated an academic review. The review determined that the map did not meet our academic standards." They did not say what the academic standards were or what were the backgrounds and qualifications of the reviewers and why they were more qualified than those engaged in the pre-publicatin review process.
Zionist lobby groups have been engaged in a long running camapign to demonise the powerful Palestinian rights campaigns on University of California campuses. They have been fighting back against powerful divestment campaigns at UC San Diego, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley and UC Riverside; a BDS vote in the Student Workers UAW trade union branch; and camapigns in support of professors under attack for support of Palestinians at UC Santa Barbra and elsewhere.
While the lobby groups have fallen short of getting the full EUMC definition of antisemitism included in the policy document, they have succeeded in gettng a false and damaging equation of anti-semitism and anti-zionism inserted.
Zionists in the US, as well as in the UK and many other countries, know htey have lost the arguments about the illegality and inhumanity of the Israeli regime and are determined to prevent open discussion. To do this they have demonstrated they will abuse both political and judicial processes.
UC's intolerance policy goes dangerously astray on anti-Semitism - LA Times Editorial Board
Anti-Zionism Isn't a 'Form of Discrimination,' and It's Not anti-Semitism - Rabbi Brant Rosen, Ha'aretz
BRICUP has written to Professor Giacomo Pignataro, Rector of Catania University, to protest that a panel on the implications of academic and cultural boycott campaigns against Israel, meant to take place during the conference of the Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies has been removed from the official programme.
This follows on the banning or cancellation of events around Palestine at a number of Italian Universities in recent months. These multiple occurrences suggest a worrying pattern of an organised campaign to disrupt and prevent the open discussion of key human rights issues – exactly the sort of liberty which should be second nature to universities. Complicity in this campaign of censorship threatens to bring the whole Italian university system into disrepute.
Send your own message to Professor Pignataro
BRICUP has been keeping the British Council's BIRAX: the Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership under review for some time. The British Council's role is to promote British culture globally but here it is being used to promote Israeli, not British, interests.
Document disclosed under a Freedom of Information request revela that that Nathan Kirsh, a billionaire businessman profiting directly from the apartheid wall.
In 2012, after the Palestine Festival of Literature spoke out in favor of BDS, its dismayed financial sponsor the British Council ironically justified its own decision to issue a statement opposing the boycott
by describing itself as a “non-political organization.” Yet internal correspondence shows that behind the scenes the British Council has been making strenuous efforts to track and oppose the boycott.
Adalah, the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, has published a report drawing attention to 10 new pieces of legislation – 5 newly-enacted laws and 5 currently-proposed bills – before the Knesset. This new legislation contains discriminatory and/or anti-democratic provisions that are liable to severely harm the human rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians living in the 1967 Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), as well as those who related to the latest, ongoing round of violence in Israel and the OPT that
began in late September 2015; and legislation targeting human rights organizations and supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
The measures include a new anti-boycott bill which will ban 'BDS advocates' from entering Israel and territories under its control. This will bar many academics from meeting thier colleagues in Palestinian universities and further isolate Palestinian higher education.
A submission was made in January this year by 71 UK doctors to the WMA, attaching a comprehensive report from the Israeli organisation Physicians for Human Rights (PHRI), with detailed case studies showing the complicity of Israeli doctors working in security units in which torture of Palestinian detainees was routine. The BMJ has previously reported on this. We also submitted a study published last November which showed that sexual torture too was endemic. Why are the doctors posted to these units not protecting the detainees and protesting, and why has the IMA never acted on such reports, as required to do by the WMA Declaration of Tokyo?
The new WMA President is the UK medical academic Sir Michael Marmot, and we looked to him to bring his international reputation to bear on a case that has been a standing reproach to the idea that global regulation of the ethical behaviour of doctors is even-handed and effective. His response is superficial and issued without examing the evidence provided. A response ot the dismissal of these concerns has been published in the British Medical Journal.
The Vassar Student Association (VSA) Executive Board was informed last week that if it were to pass a BDS amendment, the college’s Board of Trustees would “remove” student control of college funds for student activities, amounting to around $900,000.
The resolution, authored by Vassar’s Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine, “encourages the reconsideration of Vassar College’s economic contributions to human rights violations worldwide.” It also included an amendment to the VSA’s
bylaws prohibiting VSA from using funds to purchase items from Sabra, Tribe, Ben & Jerry’s, Hewlett-Packard Company, Ahava, General Electric, Eden Springs, Motorola, Caterpillar, G4S, and Elbit Systems.
Over 125 University of Toronto faculty members have announced their support for the Graduate Students’ Union’s (GSU) campaign to divest from three companies, Northrop Grumman, Hewlett Packard, and Lockheed Martin, that are directly profiting from the ongoing military occupation of Palestine territories. It also urges the Governing Council to form a committee to review and divest from all companies implicated in violations of international law.
The students' campaign calls on the University of Toronto Asset
Carolyn Levett/The Varsity
Management Corporation (UTAM) to divest from companies that are directly profiting from the ongoing military occupation of Palestinian territories, namely: Northrop Grumman, Hewlett Packard, and Lockheed Martin. It also urges the Governing Council to form a committee to review and divest from all companies implicated in violations of international law.
Remains of mosque in Tantura ruins
Jonathan Ofir conducted a long interview with Teddy Katz. Katz was a student of Ilan Pappé at Haifa University who wrote his masters thesis on The Tantura massacre in May 1948, committed by Haganah forces just days after the declaration of the State of Israel. Katz's well researched thesis contradicted the Zionist narrative of a humane occupation of Palestinian land.
Katz came under enormous pressure to renounce his research and the interview reveals how he came, under duress to sign a recantation.
The interview reveals how Israel's commitment to academic freedom abruptly terminates when researchers reveal the basic flaws in the State's Zionist narrative.
Israel’s large Palestinian minority held its first-ever conference on BDS in February 2016 in spite of anti-boycott legislation introduced five years ago that exposes activists in Israel to harsh financial penalties.The conference – titled “BDS and ‘48 Palestinians: Between International Influences and Local Contexts” – had been a long time in the making.
One participant called it a sign that the Palestinian minority was slowly emerging from the law’s “reign of terror”.
Read Joanthan Cook's report in Mondoweiss
Over 140 psychotherapists, researchers and other mental health professionals have written an open letter to the Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR) to express dismay at its decision to hold its next international conference in Jerusalem.
In the letter, the group of professionals called for the conference to move locations, explaining that Israel’s policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including house demolitions, movement restrictions and imprisonment without trial, result in “insecurity, despair, helplessness and humiliation”.
10 UK academics of Jewish origin sent a message of support to Oxford University Labour Club after the club was accused of antisemitism for supporting Israel Apartheid Week. They told the club "As academics of Jewish origin we know what antisemitism looks and smells like and we know that IAW is not antisemitic"
The Israeli government recently allotted nearly $26 million in this year's budget to combat what it sees as worldwide efforts to "delegitimize" the Jewish state's right to exist. Some of the funds are earmarked for Israeli tech companies, many of them headed by former military intelligence officers, for digital initiatives aimed at gathering intelligence on activist groups and countering their efforts.
Vaknin-Gil, the director general of Israel's Ministry for Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy [hasbara] said her ministry is encouraging initiatives to expose the funding and curb the activities of anti-Israel activists, as well as campaigns to "flood the Internet" with content that puts a positive face on Israel. She said some of these actions will not be publicly identified with the government.
Academic Commitment launched in Guardian Advertisement
500 more signatures by end of first day Add your name
The call received worldwide coverage. You can follow links to the items we have come across.
A commitment signed by 343 academics across UK’s higher education system says they will not accept invitations for academic visits to Israel. They will not act as referees in activities related to Israel academic institutions, or cooperate in any other way with Israeli universities
This Academic Commitment is a response to the appeal for such action by Palestinian academics and civil society due to the deep complicity of Israeli academic institutions in Israeli violations of international law. Signatories have pledged to continue their commitment until Israel complies with international law, and respects Palestinian human rights.
What you can do
Acadremics at this leading US university announce they stand with Columbia University Apartheid Divest, Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine as well as with Jewish Voice for Peace in calling upon the University to take a moral stance against Israel's violence in all its forms. They demand that the University divest from corporations that supply, perpetuate, and profit from a system that has subjugated the Palestinian people for over 68 years. They note that our position unequivocally stands in support of a non-violent movement privileging human rights as the only means toward finding a political resolution.
The law firm Milbank Tweed sponsored many pro-Israel events at Columbia Law School and a session on CIA torture, too, with its name plastered all over these events, and there was no problem– but it blew a gasket and reportedly asked for its money back from Harvard Law School because an event last October was pro-Palestine and had Milbank’s name on it, thanking the firm for its support.
USACBI issued a call to launch Faculty for Justice in Palestine groups on campuses in order to provide a structure for faculty to engage in Palestine solidarity work and support SJP organizing and BDS campaigns.
Faculty at UC Davis, Kent State University, University of Florida, University of Hawai‘i and Purdue University have launched groups including faculty, graduate students, and staff. Alternatively titled “Faculty for Justice in Palestine” or “Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine,” the members make a minimal commitment to the founding principles of USACBI. USACBI has called on faculty, graduate students, and staff at other universities within and beyond the US to follow the lead of these solidarity formations to provide a structure for local organizing.
AURDIP and BRICUP have written to the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and to the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation to alert them to the dramatic situation of Palestinian students confronted by the new Israeli aggression which targets in particular Palestine’s youth and its education system. The letter urges the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement.
If you are an active or retired academic (whether in Europe or not) you can signify your support for this appeal by filling the signature form here. Your signature will appear with those of other supporters, and will be sent in due course to the European Commissioners.
In April 2015 three BRICUP members were part of a pan-European delegation that visited six Palestinian Universities to learn at first hand how the occupation undermines research, teaching and learning. There would have been four BRICUP delegates but one of us was refused entry at Tel Aviv Airport.
We were treated with great courtesy at all the universities where, in each case, we met the President of the University or their deputy as well as a great number of staff. students and trade union reps. They unanimously expressed great appreciation of the global movement for the academic boycott of Israel. Our meeting deepened our understanding of the indignities and disruption Israeli occupation imposes on Palestinian academics and the lack of concern expressed by Israeli academics for those who they should regard as their peers even when professors at Palestinian universities are arrested and detained without charge or trial.
While we all knew that the occupation disrupted Palestinian universities our visit taught us how the multitude of, what may be individually small, disruptions combine and interact to create total inability to conduct normal academic business. It is the combination of travel delays; the refusal of the Israeli authorities to allow the import of standard text-books; the delays or impossibility or acquiring mundane and innocuous materials necessary for teaching and research; the time spent freeing students from arbitrary arrest (or even finding out if they have been arrested and if so where they are held); the impossibility of employing overseas scholars to teach specialist modules; and so on and on and on.
UK High Court upholds conference ban and undermines academic freedom
A high court judge decided that political pressure backed up by spurious claims of threats to health and safety outweighed academic freedom and upheld Southampton Univerity administration's ban on the conference.
The conference organisers are determined that the conference will take place at a later date. They are urgently seeking a venue whose mangers believe that threats should not determine what may be discussed in Britain and that the discussion of the legal basis of the Israeli state must not be outlawed
Petition to uphold free speech & allow the conference on Israel and international law to proceed now has over 10,000 signatures - add your name
Haim Bresheeth has prepared an update on developments at Southampton University following the unprecedented ban of the academic conference on International Law and the State of Israel, on behalf of BRICUP. His article details the pressure Zionist organisations, Conservative MPs and Cabinet Ministers put upon the University administration. He demonstrates the falsity of the University's claim that it cancelled the conference on Health and Safety grounds. The article places the cancellation of the Southampton conference in the context of cancellation of events promoting Palestinian rights at other UK and European Universities; increasing aggression by Israel; and an escalating campaign to label all criticism of Israel as anti-semitic.
Academics' statement in support of the University of Southampton
This statement has been overtaken by events
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.
On 24 August 2014 The Lancet published an open letter for the people in Gaza signed by Paola Manduca and 23 other doctors. This provoked a belligerent campaign by Israel's defenders attacking not only the letter and its authors but also the journal itself and its editor. The open letter attracted over 20,000 additional signatories before The Lancet closed the list. The journal felt it necessary to publish the following unprecedented statement on its website 'Following the response to "An open letter for the people in Gaza", The Lancet has decided not to publish the names of signatories. We are concerned about several threatening statements to those signatories, which have recently been posted on social media.'
Mark Pepys and others issued an attack on Robert Horton, the distinguished editor of the Lancet which included, inter alia, such terms as: grossly irresponsible; vicious and deliberately inflammatory falsehoods; grave breach of editorial ethics; betrays the scientific process; malignant wilful disregard of honest and ethical. These outraged correspondents, opponents to a woman and man, of BDS as an abuse of academic exchange announced without a hint of irony that they would boycott the Lancet.
In April 2015 Richard Smith, a former editor of the BMJ and a co-founder of the Committee on Publication Ethics, published a determined defence of Richard Horton in the Independent:
Richard Horton has taken The Lancet back to its radical roots, speaking truth to power, holding the powerful to account and giving a voice to those who are not heard, like the children of Gaza. Most editors follow their readers, but the way Richard has led on global health is extraordinary.
The 500 complaining academics remind me of the White Russians, continuing to fight a battle that has been lost. The Committee on Publication Ethics has ruled there are no grounds for retracting the open letter, as has The Lancet’s ombudsman. Reed Elsevier, the journal’s owner, has sensibly stayed silent to avoid compromising the editorial independence of The Lancet, its most valuable possession.
Have all the academics actually read the highly intemperate, sometimes inaccurate letter they have signed? Academics should not be in the business of stifling free speech and putting their name to such bad prose
Most recently John Yudkin and Jennifer Leaning have published a BMJ editorial denouncing the Pepys attack; BRICUP chair Jonathan Rosenhead and BRICUP member and open leter signatory Derek Summerfield have responded to the editorial.
Add your name to the Hands off the Lancet response
Leading theatre figures including Mark Rylance, Caryl Churchill, Maxine Peake and David Edgar have responded vigorously to a Daily Mail attack on the widely-applauded Jenin Thetreas terrorists. They say:
'Neither the Daily Mail nor the Board of Deputies has seen Freedom Theatre’s play The Siege, yet both somehow feel qualified to suggest that it is “promoting terrorism”. Not for the first time, Palestinian voices are in danger of being drowned out by a vociferous pro-Israel lobby that smears all Palestinians as terrorists and antisemites. This lobby wants us to believe that theatre-goers in the UK cannot be trusted to hear these voices and make their own judgements.'
They endorse the words of British playwright Howard Brenton, an honorary director of the Freedom Theatre:
'This is real political theatre, performed out of the both terrible and inspiring experience of a struggle for freedom and justice. [The Freedom Theatre] are living proof that telling stories and entertaining audiences are powerful acts of resistance to oppression. Do go and see them, they have news for us.'
The main claim is that the BDS movement is led by darkskinned people who are angry at Jews: "College activists favoring divestment have cast the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a powerful force’s oppression of a displaced group, and have formed alliances with black, Latino, Asian, Native American, feminist and gay rights organizations on campus. The coalitions — which explicitly link the Palestinian cause to issues like police brutality, immigration and gay rights — have caught many longtime Jewish leaders off guard, particularly because they belonged to such progressive coalitions less than a generation ago"
The article ignores both Israeli crimes against humanity and increasing Jewish campus support for BDS.
Tel Aviv University notes that the honorary fellowships are awarded to the recipients “for their unprecedented contribution to the strength and security of Israel and its citizens; the determination and vision in developing the Iron Dome system in the face of numerous obstacles and difficulties; many years of activity in service of the state, in the framework of the Israeli army and defense industries; the personal example in promoting cooperation in scientific research for the security of Israel; and enhancing the reputation of Israel for technological ingenuity, which is a source of pride for Jewish communities throughout the world.
The National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies Annual Conference took place in San Francisco from April 15-18, 2015. The business meeting, open to all members, took place on Saturday evening at the close of the conference. At the business meeting, the membership gave unanimous support to the Resolution to Support the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions. In addition, individual FOCOS (regional caucuses) and interest group Caucuses all voted to support the resolution.
Over 100 academics protest about invitation of denier of Palestinian human rights to give keynote to philosphy event
Well over a hundred prominent academics from the Europe and the United States—including Alain Badiou, Etienne Balibar, Catherine Malabou, Jacques Rancière, Judith Butler, Angela Davis, Richard Falk, and Gayatri Spivak--have sent an open letter to Mériam Korichi, Curator and Stage Director of A Night of Philosophy. The letter calls attention to the tremendous irony of having as one of the keynote speakers Monique Canto-Sperber. For a major event on philosophy, a field that is predicated on free inquiry and intellectual exploration, to give a forum on free speech to someone who, as the head of one of the major prestigious schools in France, was responsible for two of the most egregious acts of censorship of Palestinians and of critics of Israeli state policies, is beyond being a stark contradiction—it is appalling.
While the signatories recognize and respect Canto-Sperber’s right to speak at the event, they find it incumbent upon themselves to register hteir profound disappointment and to protest in the strongest terms possible that one of the key people you have selected to promote free speech at your Night of Philosophy has been an open practitioner of denying the same to Palestinians and their supporters.
Boycott for Peace; Divest for Justice; Sanctions for Liberty - BRICUP response to Board of Deputies attack on BDS
The Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD) have performed a valuable
service is compiling
the common mis-representations of the BDS campaign, along with a few original ones, in a
single glossy 50 page document A Better Way than Boycotts. BRICUP has analysed the document and prepared a response pointing out the misrepresentations and distrortions of the document spring from four false premises:
- Firstly, that although the Israeli Government may have made mistakes, some serious, it has done nothing criminal or beyond the usual failures of democratic states.
- Secondly, all calls for BDS arise from malevolence at best and outright antisemitism at worst.
- Thirdly, there is no fundamental imbalance of power between Israelis and Palestinians and so an open and productive dialogue between equals can be straightforwardly fostered and will be effective.
- Fourthly, that a two state solutions is desired by the Israeli government and is still a feasible outcome.
BRICUP's response: Boycott for Peace; Divest for Justice; Sanctions for Liberty
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
Jake Lynch, who last year defeated the case brought
against him by anti-BDS law firm Shurat HaDin, is again in the crosshairs
of the Israel lobby in Australia. After an incident
at Colonel Richard Kemp’s appearance at Sydney University
on March 11, false accusations of anti-Semitism were made against
Lynch and colleagues present at the talk. While these charges have since
been thoroughly debunked, and dropped by the Zionist press that first
circulated them, the university is still pushing ahead with an investigation
into Lynch and others. It will announce whether it will lay disciplinary charges
against them on Thursday April 9.
Sydney Staff for BDS, is hosting an open letter to Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence, calling on him to reject these calls to discipline or sack staff involved in pro-Palestine activism at the University of Sydney.
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.
Students 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
Noam Chomsky joined other widely respected international scholars in expressng outrage at Professor Fortier's, principal and vice-chancellor of McGill, dismissal of the students' protest at her condemnation of their BDS call. There was also a letter of protest from over 50 McGill professors and a letter from over 300 alumni.
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.