26 May 2024

The US Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI), BRICUP’s American associate, has published a useful Introduction to boycott for students, defining the boycott and listing some of the objectives they might aim for. British students on many campuses have already taken them up.

New Resource: USACBI Pamphlet for Students on Academic Boycott of Israel

http://usacbi.org + usacbi@usacbi.org + Twitter @USACBI

Q: What is USACBI?
A: USACBI (the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) was
formed in 2009 in response to Palestinian civil society’s call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) targeting Israel.
The BDS movement includes a call for a comprehensive boycott of Israel until it abides by international law and ends its violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people. USACBI focuses specifically on the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.
We adhere to the three principles delineated by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel which calls for a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions until Israel recognizes the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international
law by:
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
USACBI offers a way for students, artists, individual academics, and professional academic associations to take a public and principled stance in support of equal rights for the Palestinian people. A first step to participating in this movement for academics and cultural workers is to endorse the academic and cultural boycott at http://www.usacbi.org/about/.
The USACBI Organizing Collective works with student groups nationally to support Palestinian solidarity activism. We can help locate faculty members who have endorsed USACBI and who can support student efforts (see: http://www.usacbi.org/endorsers/). We are committed to forging solidarities with other social justice organizations and movements; to launching divestment campaigns; to organizing teach-ins; to bringing speakers to campuses; and generally to supporting BDS campaigns and activism, including when these efforts meet with intimidation and hostility by Zionist groups.

Q: What is the academic boycott and how is it relevant to student activism?
A: The academic boycott calls for an end to collaboration with and normalization of Israeli academic institutions, which are mostly state-controlled as well as complicit with Israeli occupation and apartheid. The overwhelming majority of Israeli intellectuals and academics have either contributed directly to maintaining, defending or otherwise justifying the above forms of oppression, or have been complicit in
them through their silence. No Israeli academic institution or organization has ever taken an official collective stance in opposition to the Israeli state’s occupation and wars.

Students can play an important role in supporting the academic boycott and standing in solidarity with Palestinian students and academics whose right to education and academic freedom is denied by Israel. They can do so by organizing a range of activities and campaigns; for example:

• Opposing Study Abroad in Israel programs that are based in Israeli academic institutions and in doing so, exposing the complicity of Israeli universities with occupation and apartheid. Palestinian students in Israeli universities are also routinely subjected to racial harassment, surveillance, censorship, and disciplining. For more information, see: http://www.usacbi.org/reportsand-resources/. Such campaigns can highlight the restrictions on the freedom of travel and violations of academic freedom of Palestinian scholars and students as well as the lack of freedom experienced by Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim American students and scholars, who face restrictions when attempting to travel through Israeli borders for study, research, or academic exchange.

• Challenging the collaboration between academic programs at US campuses and Israeli academic institutions and research institutes as a violation of the academic boycott. For example, see: http://www.usacbi.org/stop-technioncornell-collaboration/.

• Asking your university to support Palestinian academic and cultural institutions directly without requiring them to partner with Israeli counterparts as an explicit or implicit condition for such support.

• Protesting talks by Israeli state officials or official representatives of Israeli academic institutions such as presidents, rectors or deans.

• Opposing programs on campus to address the “Middle East conflict” that contract with anti-Palestinian organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) or the Simon Wiesenthal Center (Museum of Tolerance). Such organizations are also often involved in diversity and dialogue programs on campus and partner with student affairs offices.

• Asking your administration or President/Chancellor to issue a public statement censuring Israeli destruction of Palestinian schools and universities and interference with Palestinian education, archives and research centers, for example, during the many wars on Gaza, and on an ongoing basis throughout occupied Palestine.

• Organizing teach-ins or events with campus and community organizations at which the campaign for the economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel can be fully and openly discussed, in addition to divestment.

• Sponsoring events that highlight the connections between the Israeli state’s repression, surveillance, police brutality, border securitization, and military violence and similar policies practiced by the US state targeting black, brown, and poor communities.

• Challenging “birthright” programs to Israel which enable Jewish students to claim hereditary ancestry travel to Israel, but not Palestinians, many of whom can trace their ancestry to land now occupied by Israel.
For more information and ideas, see: http://www.usacbi.org/guidelines-for-applying-the-international-cultural-boycott-of-israel/

I would like to get directly involved with USACBI. What can I do as a student?
USACBI is always in dire need of volunteer help! We are an entirely volunteer run organizing collective of academics, students, and activists. If you would like to volunteer or do an internship with us, and have skills in areas such as editing, research, media, or technology, among others, please contact us at:
USACBI routinely tries to coordinate with Students for Justice in Palestine chapters across the U.S. SJP members and advisers are also members of USACBI’s Organizing Collective. If you are not a member of a Students for Justice in Palestine chapter, join one. If a Students for Justice in Palestine chapter does
not exist at your campus, start one!

More Resources
Palestinian Students Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel
(PSCABI): http://www.usacbi.org/connect-with-the-palestinian-studentscampaign-for-academic-and-cultural-boycott-of-israel-pscabi/
Right2Education, Bir Zeit University: http://right2edu.birzeit.edu/
Students for Justice in Palestine: http://sjpnational.org/
Targeting Israeli Apartheid: A Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Handbook:
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel: http://
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel:
Academic Boycott Resolutions:
For more information on academic boycott resolutions by national academic associations:
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel