Paris Declaration of a European Platform for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (EPACBI) launched in 9 European countries on 8 November 2010

This declaration announces the establishment of a common European platform for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. The national, regional and local organisations and movements adhering to this platform:

•Accept and promote the boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions and divestment from companies that contribute to Israel’s grave violations of international law and human rights;

•Support the call of Palestinian civil society for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and accept the guidelines on its implementation issued by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) through the Palestine Boycott National Committee (BNC).

•Agree to develop and strengthen the boycott until the Palestinian people secure a resolution of their current injustices in compliance with international law and internationally acknowledged human rights.

Europe, through both its individual states and its principal integrating institutions, plays a key role in the maintenance of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. This support has been maintained despite Israel’s repeated and well-documented violations of the human rights of Palestinians living as citizens of Israel, under Israeli occupation or as refugees. In so doing Europe’s institutions ignore and negate the principles of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms which underpin their foundational statements. It therefore falls to European civil society to act to secure their compliance with these principles.

Boycott, divestment and sanctions is a non-violent and moral strategy for achieving change where the decades long programme of ‘building bridges’ to the oppressor has manifestly failed. The academic and cultural boycott is especially apposite, given the complicity of Israeli academic and cultural institutions in the gross curtailment of Palestinian academic and cultural freedoms through their direct and indirect support of government policy. The important contribution of BDS, including academic and cultural boycott, to the ending of South African apartheid demonstrates the potential effectiveness of this approach.

We urge all European academics, professionals and cultural practitioners to consult their consciences and reconsider any links they have, or are contemplating, with Israeli institutions in their fields. We urge those who wish to achieve justice in the Middle East and to promote respect for international law around the world to form local, regional and national structures for the promotion of this boycott. We will assist and advise in the formation of such organisations in order to achieve a continent-wide coordination of academic and cultural boycott activities.

Paris 26 September 2010