Showing posts with label academic boycott. Show all posts
Showing posts with label academic boycott. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Activists Gather on MLK Day to Protest Cornell-Technion Partnership

Press release from our member group New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership. See pictures of the protest here. Their next planned action is on Tuesday, January 29 from 5:00pm-7:00pm. Find details here


Protesters outnumbered students on a blustery Martin Luther King Day as the New York Cornell-Technion Partnership held its first day of classes at Google’s Chelsea offices in Manhattan.

Cornell University always holds classes on this holiday, and the annual insult to Dr. King’s memory is sadly fitting with the support for racism the school is showing by pairing with The Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Israel’s foremost research and develop institution for weapons (including drones), surveillance systems, and other instruments of death and destruction used to maintain an apartheid system against Palestinians and for use in wars against Israel’s Arab neighbors.

The 25 New Yorkers leafleting against the Cornell-Technion Partnership (contrasting the eight students inside, according to the New York Times), denounced Google’s gift of free office space to the Partnership, as well as the $100 million in funds and $300 million in real estate given by the City of New York to the questionably fast-tracked venture.

Protesters also gathered signatures on a petition demanding an end to private and public support for the Partnership (online at: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/no-to-technion-in-nyc.html).

The campaign against the Cornell-Technion Partnership is part of a global effort in support of the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against institutions doing business with apartheid Israel.

Regular classes will be held at the Google offices until the main campus opens on Roosevelt Island in 2017. Among those handing out flyers and talking to workers and students from the Google building as well as Chelsea residents were several Cornell University students outraged at the Partnership’s violation of Cornell’s own rules for consulting staff and faculty over such business deals.

What’s more, Cornell, its partners, and the media have failed to report that Technion is complicit in Israel’s violations of international law and the rights of Palestinians, specifically by designing military weapons and developing technologies that are used to drive Palestinians off their land, suppress demonstrations for their rights, and carry out attacks against people in Lebanon, Gaza, and elsewhere. For these reasons, Technion is directly implicated in war crimes.  Furthermore, Technion practices institutional discrimination against Palestinian students by severely restricting their freedom of speech and assembly, and rewarding Jewish students who, unlike most Palestinians, perform compulsory military service in Israel. This is in direct contrast to Cornell University’s founding values of universalism and inclusion embodied in the university’s motto “any person any study.”

NYACT has also denounced the callous disregard for the health, safety and housing needs of Roosevelt Island residents. As construction begins for the eventual permanent Partnership site on the Island, homes are being torn down, and patients are being kicked out of the City hospital system’s Coler-Goldwater long-term care facilities. New Yorkers with serious disabilities and life-threatening medical conditions are being displaced by the City in deference to the Partnership. NYACT has attended several Roosevelt Island community meetings to forge an alliance with residents, patients and healthcare workers whose lives are being disrupted or even jeopardized by Cornell and Technion.
         
NYACT and supporters will host a regular leafleting vigil every other Tuesday starting January 29th, from 5-7pm, at the Google offices,
111 Eighth Ave (at 15th St), New York City
For more information:
www.NYACT.net
NYACT@riseup.net
New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership (NYACT)

Friday, January 18, 2013

No to Technion in NYC Action!

From our member group New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership.

Join us on the first day of Cornell NYC Tech classes to leaflet and gather signatures.



When: Monday, January 21, 4-6pm
Where: 111 Eighth Ave (at 15th St), NYC

Classes are to be held in donated temporary space at the Google offices until the main campus opens on Roosevelt Island in 2017.  NYACT will be distributing information outside the Google offices about The Technion’s involvement in developing remote controlled bulldozers, stealth drones, and protection systems for battle tanks used by Israel to destroy Palestinian houses and olive groves, assassinate Palestinian civilians, and rain terror from above in Gaza, as well as The Technion’s ongoing collaborations with major surveillance and weapons manufacturers.

Say No to Technion in NYC!

Support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS)

Sign the petition here: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/no-to-technion-in-nyc.html

For more information go to www.NYACT.net or email NYACT@riseup.net.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

25 Organizations Urge Architectural Firms of Proposed CornellNYC Tech Campus to Drop Project

From our member group New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership

NEW YORK, New York, October 16, 2012- 25 organizations, including several representing the architecture community as well as students at Cornell and other universities, academic scholars, human and civil rights advocates in the United States and abroad, and Roosevelt Island residents, have called on two architectural firms that were granted contracts by the New York City Economic Development Corporation to begin designing CornellNYC Tech to drop the project. The applied science and technology campus, to be run jointly by Cornell University and The Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, is scheduled to be built on Roosevelt Island starting next year. 


The letters, sponsored by New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership, urge Morphosis Architects, Inc. and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP to reconsider their involvement on the basis of Cornell’s partnership with the Technion, citing the latter’s record of complicity in Israeli violations of international law and human rights. As the letters state, the Technion is “an Israeli university that is strongly implicated in the oppression and subjugation of the Palestinian people.”


The Technion, like many Israeli educational institutions, provides the research and development as well as strategic planning for Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian lands. The letters go on to explain, with numerous examples, how the Technion is not just linked to the occupation but deeply complicit with it, working hand-in-hand with the Israel Defense Forces. The Israeli occupation has consistently been condemned by the United Nations and human rights organizations for its persistent breaches of international law and human rights.

The letter’s 25 signatories implore Morphosis Architects and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to heed the fact that Cornell’s partnership with the Technion serves only to exacerbate the contemporary manifestation of racism, neocolonialism, and apartheid in Israel/Palestine. They ask these architectural firms to join the contemporary struggle against Israeli apartheid and ethnic cleansing, by reconsidering and ultimately declining participation in the CornellNYC Tech project.

About New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership (NYACT)
NYACT is an ad-hoc coalition of New York-based students, academics, activists, writers, and concerned individuals who are working together to oppose the collaboration of Cornell University with The Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. Founding members include activists from the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) and Cornell University Students for Justice in Palestine, both of which continue to collaborate with NYACT. NYACT works within a wider framework of support that includes additional NYC-based groups as well as groups across the US, Canada, Palestine/Israel, South Africa, India, and Europe.  Notably, along with Palestine solidarity groups and grassroots and labor activists, several key Jewish groups support the NYACT campaign.

Read letters and see signatures here.

Contact:
Name of Media Contact: Dr. Terri Ginsberg
Company Name: New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership (NYACT)
Contact E-mail: nyact@riseup.net
Website URL: http://againstcornelltechnion.wordpress.com

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Palestinian Academics Condemn Cornell University's Collaboration with Technion

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott (PACBI) of Israel has issued a statement condemning Cornell University's collaboration with Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. Cornell and Technion are building a multi-billion dollar science and technology campus together on Roosevelt Island in New York. Technion, like other Israeli academic institutions, is complicit in Israel's continuing occupation and violations of Palestinian human rights and international law. Joining US Campaign member groups US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) and Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), PACBI is urging residents of New York, US civil society, and people of conscience to mobilize against the Cornell-Technion partnership. Sign and share Cornell SJP's petition opposing Cornell's shameful collaboration with Technion and check out USACBI's resources page on the Cornell-Technion partnership! 


PACBI | March 4, 2012
An Appeal for Action: End Cornell University Collaboration with Technion

The Palestinian academic community was deeply disturbed by the recently revealed plan of collaboration between Cornell University and Technion - Israel Institute of Technology.  The two institutions have won a multi-billion-dollar competition held by the City of New York to establish “a 2 million square foot engineering and applied sciences university campus” on Roosevelt Island, NY [1].  Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Cornell University have petitioned the City of New York and Cornell University to end this collaboration with an Israeli institution that is "directly implicated in war crimes [2]."  Similarly, the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) has launched an appeal calling on students and faculty to put pressure on their university to withdraw from this troubling partnership [3].
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) would like to join these groups in deploring the collaboration between US higher institutions of learning and Israeli Academic institutions complicit in Israel’s violations of international law and the rights of Palestinians.  In view of our focus this year on academic boycott, we call on US civil society to bring the injustices of this venture to light.  In the first instance, all New York City residents should, rightfully, be outraged that their tax dollars are being apportioned in the service of such an endeavor, and we appeal to them to pressure the City of New York administration to end this collaboration.  Moreover, we ask students, staff, and faculty at institutions around the country, including student groups such as SJP, as well as workers, labor unions, and other civil society organizations in New York City, to mobilize against the administration of Cornell University to end its partnership with Technion.  More importantly, we call on people of conscience to mobilize on the issue of the Cornell-Technion partnership, and academic boycott more broadly, through street protests, educational venues, media presence and other such mobilizations.
Technion Complicity
Technion's record of complicity in Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian rights is too long to reproduce here, but here are some highlights:
-    It has a partnership with Elbit Systems, which is one of Israel’s largest private weapons manufacturers.  Elbit manufactured the drones that Israel used in its crimes against civilians in Lebanon 2006 and Gaza 2008-09. This partnership has played a leading role not only in the construction and surveillance of the apartheid wall in Palestine, but also along the U.S.-Mexico border through its subsidiary, Kollsman.

-    Technion trains its engineering students to work with companies dealing “directly in the development of complex weapons in the process of researching their academic theses” [4].  In one example with Elbit Systems, the reward has been the funding of research grants in upwards of half a million dollars to Technion’s students conducting research [5].

-    One of the institute’s most notorious projects resulted in the development of a remote-control function on the Caterpillar’s 'D9’ bulldozer “used by the Israeli army to demolish Palestinian houses and farms and the development of a method for detecting underground tunnels, specifically developed in order to assist the Israeli army in its continued siege on the Gaza Strip” [6]

-    Technion has deep relations with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, one of Israel’s largest government-sponsored weapons manufacturers famous for its “advanced hybrid armor protection system” used in Israel’s Merkava tanks [7]. The institute has developed an “MBA program tailored specifically for Rafael managers” which further solidifies its relationship between academia and Israel’s military-industrial complex [8].

-    Technion rewards its students who perform their compulsory military service.  It also granted Israeli army reservists who participated in the Israeli massacre of Gaza in 2008-2009 “academic benefits in addition to the usual benefits for reservists” [9].
Why Academic Boycott?
In 2004, Palestinian civil society called for an academic boycott in the spirit of the South African anti-apartheid movement.  In our statement, we have maintained that a boycott of Israeli academic institutions is necessary due to the complicity of these institutions in the system of oppression that has denied Palestinians their basic rights guaranteed by international law.


In our 2004 call we stated that the academic boycott
is in line with the authoritative call by the Palestinian Council for Higher Education (CHE) for "non-cooperation in the scientific and technical fields between Palestinian and Israeli universities." Academic institutions in particular are part of the ideological and institutional scaffolding of the Zionist settler-colonial project in Palestine, and as such are deeply implicated in maintaining the structures of domination and oppression over the Palestinian people. Since its founding, the Israeli academy has cast its lot with the hegemonic political-military establishment in Israel, and notwithstanding the efforts of a handful of principled academics, is deeply implicated in supporting and perpetuating the status quo. [10]
While it is common to think of universities as ivory towers separate from society, this view ignores the deep roots of the academy in society, and in shaping our knowledge of the world.  Universities influence political power, shape future generations, and structure the moral and ideological underpinnings of our societies.  In the case of Israel, the academy gives the state a veneer of being liberal, tolerant, and just.  This is an image that serves to combat and whitewash the state’s ongoing occupation, colonialism and apartheid.
Why Israeli Institutions?
In response to a call for academic boycott of Israel, one might respond that US academic institutions collaborate with other academic institutions around the world, as well as with their own government that is involved in human rights abuses, war and occupation.  This argument is often used as a red herring to distract activists, and as an attempt to delegitimize the movement.  However, it is critical for us to recognize this as a legitimate concern when it comes from truly conscientious activists and observers, and from people who are invested in advancing ethical forms of resistance against all kinds of oppression.
The above argument can be broken into three parts.  First, we must recognize the voice of Palestinians who suffer under Israel’s intricate multi-tiered system of oppression.  In this sense, an important element is the call by an overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society for an international boycott of Israel that is embodied in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.  In the 70s and 80s, no ethically minded person would have screamed that the anti-apartheid movement was hypocritical for asking for the boycott of South Africa and not, say, Israel, the U.S. or the Soviet Union.  Thus, it rings hollow and suspicious when people question Palestinians and international solidarity activists for applying the boycott to Israel but not other places.  The BDS movement is explicit in its solidarity with oppressed people around the world fighting against all forms of oppression.  It similarly calls on others to stand with Palestinians in their time of resistance.
Second, we are keenly aware that US academic institutions partner with other foreign academic institutions.  To the extent that these foreign institutions are complicit in their governments’ abuses of international law and human rights, in ways similar to the complicity of Israeli academic institutions, then we also condemn such partnerships.  We doubt, however, that there are, as of yet, any joint ventures within US borders between Saudi Arabian academic institutions, for example, and a US institution.  It is no coincidence that Israeli institutions enjoy greater access to US academic networks, including the funding that these networks enable.  This is what makes the tactic of boycott crucial, effective, and urgent when applied to Israel.  We also stress again that Israel’s atrocious violations of international law remain violations even if there are other countries that commit the same.
This leads to our third argument, where it should not be denied that academic institutions in the US collaborate with their own government, arguably the world's leading and most violent violator of human rights, if we take Iraq and Afghanistan as case studies.  We believe these partnerships should end, and a campaign against Cornell-Technion should strive to raise awareness on US academic complicity, inviting various sectors of local communities to share their experiences and build mutual solidarities.  However, this should not prevent a serious and legitimate call to boycott collaborations with Israeli institutions.  The herculean task of disengaging US academia from the US military industrial complex should not deter or demobilize activists from a call to boycott Israel and its complicit institutions.  Did any morally conscientious person call on US academia to boycott its government before boycotting the apartheid South African regime?  Could American university administrations, morally speaking, argue against the boycott of apartheid South Africa, simply because their own institutions were developing technology for the US government?  We hardly think so.  We cannot defer the rights of people around the world as we wait for the US superpower to clean its house.  However, we must also not hold back from our collective struggles against the abuses of the US government.
In this way, we, at PACBI, along with our coalition partners in Palestinian civil society wish to express our solidarity with oppressed segments of US civil society, and ask that you hear our call and put pressure on your academic institutions and city councils to boycott apartheid Israel.  This is what we ask for in our struggle for freedom, justice and equality.

Notes:
[1] http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/new-york-host-israels-top-drone-lab
[2] http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/in-opposition-to-cornell-universitys/
[3] http://www.usacbi.org/2011/12/open-letter-to-cornell-university-dont-collaborate-with-apartheid/
[4] Uri Yacobi Keller, The Economy of the Occupation: A Socioeconomic Bulletin. (Jerusalem: Alternative Information Center, 2009), 10. http://usacbi.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/economy_of_the_occupation_23-24.pdf.
[5] ibid, 10-11
[6] ibid, 9
[7] “Structures of Oppression: Why McGill and Concordia Universities Must Sever their Links with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology,” 4. http://www.tadamon.ca/wp-content/uploads/Technion-English.pdf
[8] Ibid., 3-4
[9] Keller, 12-13 (see link above)
[10] http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1108

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Two US Delegations Endorse BDS and Call for Action in the US

The Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel has been endorsed by two US delegations recently returned from fact finding missions to occupied Palestine and Israel.

US Campaign member group US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) organized a delegation of five distinguished scholars for a trip to Palestine and Israel in January. The delegation, composed of professors working at US universities, witnessed firsthand how Israel routinely denies the academic freedom of Palestinian scholars and students. According to a press release issued by USACBI, the delegation noted:

… Israel has consistently closed Palestinian universities under security pretexts and restrictions on freedom of movement mean that it is often very difficult for students to attend universities; international and Palestinian scholars living abroad are denied visas for faculty appointments in the occupied territories.  Furthermore, some 80 students from Birzeit University are held in Israeli prisons and detention centers, 10 of whom are currently being held without charge or trial. The delegation also reported that Israel thwarts Palestinian research capacities by restricting imports of equipment necessary for teaching basic science and engineering. It is all but impossible for Gaza students to attend West Bank universities, or for scholars from Ramallah, Gaza City, and East Jerusalem to meet in the same room.

While the primary focus of the trip was on educational discrimination, the delegation also had the opportunity to visit the 5,000 person Aida Refugee Camp near Bethlehem, as well as hear testimony from Palestinian families living in Sheikh Jarrah who were forcibly evicted from their homes in East Jerusalem by the Israeli military. After witnessing how the "subordination, humiliation, and suspicion" of the occupation regulates the daily lives of Palestinians, as well as numerous violations of Palestinian civil and legal rights, the delegates urged their academic colleagues to support the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. In a brief statement included in USACBI's press release, the delegates stated:

We believe that the perpetuation of the international travesty of colonial occupation in a post-colonial world must be brought to an end.  For it ultimately threatens the rights, dignity and security of everyone who believes in self-determination, equal justice and human rights.
Read USACBI's full press release here. 

LGBTIQ Activists Call for an End to US Aid to Israel and Endorse BDS

A diverse group of academics, artists, and cultural workers from the LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, interest, and queer) community also traveled to Palestine/Israel in January. Upon their return to the US, the delegation released an open letter and petition emphatically endorsing BDS and calling on the queer community and its allies to "stand in solidarity with queer and other Palestinians and progressive Israelis who are working to end the occupation; oppose the state of Israel's practice of pinkwashing; and support efforts on the part of Palestinians to achieve full self-determination including building an international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement."

In their open letter, the delegates strongly reject Israel's practice of pinkwashing -- using the issue of gay rights to deflect attention away from the daily violations of Palestinian human rights:

Key to Israel's pinkwashing campaign is the manipulative and false labeling of Israeli culture as gay-friendly and Palestinian culture as homophobic. It is our view that comparisons of this sort are both inaccurate - homophobia and transphobia are to be found throughout Palestinian and Israeli society - and that this is beside the point: Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine cannot be somehow justified or excused by its purportedly tolerant treatment of some sectors of its own population. We stand in solidarity with Palestinian queer organizations like Al Qaws and Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (PQBDS) whose work continues to impact queer Palestinians and all Palestinians.

… We urge LGBTIQ individuals and communities to resist replicating the practice of pinkwashing that insists on elevating the sexual freedom of Palestinian people over their economic, environmental, social, and psychological freedom. Like the Palestinian activists we met, we view heterosexism and sexism as colonial projects and, therefore, see both as interrelated and interconnected regimes that must end.

As queer activists in the US, they condemn US complicity in maintaining the occupation and call for an end to US aid to Israel and support for the BDS movement in the US:

We name the complicity of the United States in this human rights catastrophe and call on our government to end its participation in an unjust regime that places it and us on the wrong side of peace and justice.

We support efforts on the part of Palestinians to achieve full self-determination, such as building an international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement which calls for the fulfillment of three fundamental demands:

The end of the Occupation and the dismantling of the Wall
  (jidar).
The right of return for displaced Palestinians.
The recognition and restoration of the equal rights of citizenship for Israeli     citizens of Palestinian descent.

We call upon all of our academic and activist colleagues in the US and elsewhere to join us by supporting all Palestinian efforts that center these three demands and by working to end US financial support, at $8.2 million daily, for the Israeli state and its occupation.
Read the open letter in full and sign the petition here 


 Testimonials from the Delegates Published on The Feminist Wire


Darnell L. Moore, who traveled to Palestine as part of the LGBTIQ delegation and is an editorial collective member of The Feminist Wire (TFW), solicited reflections and commentaries from US-based scholars, activists and cultural workers about their experiences in Palestine. Those writings have been collected and published online at TFW Forum on Palestine. Several participants from the USACBI and LGBTIQ delegations contributed moving and thoughtful pieces to the forum, including powerful commentaries from Neferti X.M. Tadiar and Jasbir K. Puar. Tadiar calls upon us to "forge new relations beyond the province of interests and inherited forms of social belonging to which we might have become tethered and, for those of us not already called, to feel the suffering and aspirations of Palestinians as also our own," in  "Why the Question of Palestine is a Feminist Concern." Puar's piece, "The Golden Handcuffs of Gay Rights: How Pinkwashing Distorts Both LGBTIQ and Anti-Occupation Activism," offers insightful analysis of Israel's pinkwashing agenda, homonationalism and the radical impact of Palestinian Queers for BDS (PQBDS) on Palestinian society. She argues that by "foregrounding the Occupation as its primary site of struggle, PQBDS is slowly, strategically and carefully insisting upon and creating systemic and thorough changes in the terms of Palestinian society itself. "










Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Palestinians Hold Third National BDS Conference

Last month, the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank hosted the Third National Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Conference. The Conference centered on BDS as a means of nonviolent popular resistance and addressed some key issues currently confronting the movement, both locally and internationally. Below is the Conference Report, published by the Palestinian BDS National Committee.



Report: Third National BDS Conference, Hebron, December 17

Posted January 9th, 2012 by Conference team



On 17 December 2011, Palestinians gathered in the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank for the Third National Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions  (BDS) Conference. The event took place against the backdrop of continuous Israeli violations of Palestinian rights, and a growing resistance against injustice worldwide as demonstrated by the Arab revolutions and the occupy movements.  Just minutes away from the conference venue, 500 Jewish settlers live under escort of the Israeli military in a colonial enclave in the middle of old Hebron, terrorizing local Palestinian residents on a daily basis, with the stated intent of driving them from their homes. Hebron is also an important commercial center in Palestine, and thus was a fitting venue to hold the national BDS conference, after it was held in Nablus and Ramallah in previous years.
The day started early with about 500 Palestinians from all corners of the West Bank, as well as 48 Palestinians representing a diverse sector of civil society including trade unions, student and women groups, academics, cultural workers and NGOs, all uniting under the banner of BDS.
There was also a visible international presence as well as that of Israeli partners who have responded to the 2005 BDS call.  Notable was the absence of representation from Gaza, under an Israeli imposed siege, and refugees outside historic Palestinian, although their contribution to the movement was acknowledged.
The conference was an opportunity to take stock of the movement’s achievements worldwide, and to develop strategies to face the challenges ahead. The BDS movement witnessed impressive growth in 2011. Achievements include the withdrawal of German company Deutsche Bahn from construction of the A1 train line connecting Jerusalem to Tel Aviv; the forced closure of settlement company Ahava’s London flagship store and the loss of a $10 bn contract by French company Alstom in Saudi Arabia as a result of its role in the construction of the illegal Jerusalem Light Rail in occupied Jerusalem. 2011 was also the year when Israel’s foremost agricultural export company and a major BDS target - Agrexco - went bankrupt thanks in part to a sustained Europe-wide campaign.
The movement has now visibly spread beyond its traditional base of Palestine solidarity groups. The call for a military embargo of Israel received an enthusiastic response in Brazil and South Korea while in Australia, a nationwide debate involving government politicians and national media outlets ensued following the adoption of the movement’s principles by Marrickville Council in Sydney. A number of well-known artists have cancelled their scheduled performances in Israeli venues following appeals from BDS activists. Over a hundred Swiss artists vowed to boycott performances in Israel. Similarly, over 200 Swedish academics pledged to implement an academic boycott of Israel. The campaign for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel (ACBI) has undoubtedly been one of the most visible, and successful campaigns this past year.
Governments and corporations are yet to end complicity with Israel’s policies of occupation, colonization and apartheid, as is clear from Israel’s continued violations of international law. Nevertheless, the costs for Israel are now undeniable, as BDS is proving to be the most effective tool to challenge Israel’s impunity. Governments and corporations can now expect strong and principled opposition from a truly global movement. Israel and its supporters in turn have recognized BDS as a “strategic threat” that could become an “existential threat”, yet unable to mount effective opposition to the movement.
The opening session of the conference covered these exciting developments. Dr. Wael Abu Yousef, representing the Coalition of National and Islamic forces, said that despite internal political divisions between the political parties, BDS is an unshakable point of consensus among them. Omar Barghouti, a founding member of the BDS movement, emphasized that while the movement is inspired by  the South African anti-apartheid struggle and other struggles for national liberation around the world, it is foremost a Palestinian movement, rooted in decades of nonviolent popular resistance to Zionism.
Michael Deas, the BNC coordinator in Europe, and Adam Horowitz, co-editor of popular blog Mondoweiss, spoke in the first panel about developments of the campaign in Europe and the US. There was much interest in the numerous successes the BDS movement has achieved, in addition to an element of surprise about the movement’s wide reach and successes. Questions asked by the audience reflected these sentiments. There was consensus amongst participants that these victories should be widely publicized as to promote awareness amongst Palestinian civil society about the strength and victories of the BDS movement.
The second panel addressed the possibilities for implementing a boycott of Israel locally and in the Arab world. Rania Elias, member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), said Israeli and international actors have been major players promoting Palestinian normalization with Israel, which runs counter to Palestinian aspirations and universal opposition to normalization within Palestinian civil society. The audience voiced their opposition to normalization, and demanded that the Palestinian Authority takes a strong stance to end all forms of normalization, and to hold those involved accountable.
Palestinian economist Ibrahim Shikaki provided a detailed critique of the current state of the Palestinian economy, dangerously developing to become subjugated to Israel in the long-term. He warned against attempts to replace a national resistance discourse with that of economic development.
In his analysis of Israeli dominance of the Palestinian consumer market, Salah Haniyyeh of the Economic Monitor noted that the Palestinian Authority lacks procurement legislation within its own government institutions to favor Palestinian and Arab products over Israeli ones. He also lamented the perception of Israeli products as being superior to Palestinian ones, calling on organized efforts to promote local produce.  Hanniyeh considered shortsighted the idea that the economic boycott of Israel should be halted for the risk it could pose to livelihoods of some families and instead emphasized the need for proactive strategies to protect workers while forwarding the national cause. Omar Assaf, representative of the Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS (PTUC-BDS), in turn condemned the existing Oslo framework as a major obstacle for social justice as it served to legitimize Israel’s security aspirations and economic dominance. The establishment in 2011 of PTUC-BDS represents a positive development in the consolidation of the workers’ efforts to isolate Israel, Assaf stated.
The hall awakened during the Q & A session with loud cheers in support of a number of enthusiastic interventions. There were suggestions for the development of a united front against normalization. Some expressed unhappiness about the role of foreign donors in turning Palestinians into consumers instead of promoting true economic independence. The loudest cheers however were reserved for the urgent need to bring the struggle back to the people, BDS being one such avenue, contrasting it to the role of the peace process in removing Palestinian popular agency.
Following lunch, participants split into groups for workshops on aspects of BDS relevant to the local context (students and youth, women’s organizations, civil society institutions, formal labor, and popular committees against the wall and settlements and international work). Each session agreed recommendations that were then presented to the conference at the end. Recommendations varied from strengthening the culture of boycott through awareness raising campaigns to developing mechanisms to actively oppose all levels of normalization.
It was evident throughout the day that there is huge enthusiasm and energy among all those attending to contribute more actively to the global BDS movement, and activate the boycott within their respective organizations and institutions.



SEE ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Palestinian Students Call on their European Peers to Boycott Israeli Apartheid

The Palestinian Students' Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel has written an open letter calling on their European peers to intensify boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns against Israel on university campuses.

An Open Letter from Palestinian Students to Their Peers in Europe: “Time Now to Boycott Israeli Apartheid on University Campuses”

Besieged Gaza, Occupied Palestine

21.10.2011

We Palestinian students of the Gaza Strip wish to send a message to all European student groups in solidarity with the Palestinians to do all they can to increase Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel this academic year.

We also reiterate our support for the recent call by Palestinian Civil Society, of which we are a signatory, to end all collaborative research between European Universities and Israeli universities. [1] Research centers in Israeli academic institutions are actively involved in fueling Israel's huge weapons industry and tools of its military occupation and siege. It is this apparatus of violence that makes studying in Gaza so difficult, not to mention the daily toils and tragedy of Israeli apartheid policies. We, therefore, call for an end to this compliance on all campuses with those directly complicit in the war crimes and colonial subjugation of us the Palestinian people in Gaza, the West Bank,‘48 Palestine and throughout the Diaspora.

These are crucial times as we youth in Gaza are seeing glimpses of the kinds of mass international movement that we are certain will one day bring us the liberation, justice and equality expected by others but denied to us for so long. Each university that boycotts, divests and sanctions from Israel's apartheid regime is standing on the right side of history, just as students played a huge role in boycotting South Africa’s ugly and similarly racist apartheid regime until it fell in 1994.

Yet apartheid against Palestinians since then has only become more entrenched. In response, our call for boycott from over 170 organisations from Palestinian civil society in 2005 [2] has been a lightning rod for others who can relate to our plight. When endorsing the successful boycott and ending of ties between the University of Johannesburg and Ben Gurion University (BGU) this year, the first of its kind, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said:

“While Palestinians are not able to access universities and schools, Israeli universities produce the research, technology, arguments and leaders for maintaining the occupation. BGU is no exception. By maintaining links to both the Israeli Defence Forces and the arms industry, BGU structurally supports and facilitates the Israeli occupation.” [3]

There was no negotiating with such oppression based on race - there was only one word: BOYCOTT. Just as students around the world were banning Barclays bank from campuses for their investment in South African Apartheid in the 1980s, this year we call on you to take similar steps to end Israel’s systematic brutality. To say, "We will no longer be complicit!", in the decades of ethnic cleansing, military occupation, medieval blockade that has lead to so much tragedy and broken dreams for our youth and students.

Our spirits have been raised by the BDS efforts so far in European Universities, exemplified by Kings College where students and academics have begun a campaign against the research collaboration between their university and Ahava, the cosmetics company based in an illegal settlement. Such long term campaigns are what is required, the cutting edge of international resistance. We ask you to do whatever it takes to isolate and hold Israel to account until it abides by international law and accepts basic premises of human rights and equality for all, including us Palestinians.

This year it is in your hands to see that the tide finally turns across the campuses in Western countries that most enable the Israeli regime's crimes against us to continue. We hope you put BDS at the forefront of your campaigns and join together for the Israeli Apartheid Week [4],, the pinnacle of action across universities worldwide. And while the walls around us stop us from meeting in person, we have many students and youth happy to participate in skype conferences and other collaborations. We give you all our solidarity and send you our dearest wishes to do us proud this year.

[1] http://www.bdsmovement.net/2011/dont-collaborate-with-apartheid-8202#.Tp-H9Vv9oY1

[2] http://www.bdsmovement.net/bdsintro#.Tp-L81v9oY0

[3] http://www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk/articles/africa/1556-israeli-ties-a-chance-to-do-the-right-thing

[4] http://apartheidweek.org/

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"Visit an Israeli University ... They are the Real Zionists"

In the wake of the University of Johannesburg's decision earlier this spring to sever ties with Ben Gurion University (BGU)--a landmark victory in the global campaign for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel--the president of BGU debunks the claim by BDS critics that Israeli universities are a haven for the most progressive discussion about Israeli apartheid and Zionism.  

BGU president Rivka Carmi brags:
Among the nearly 5,000 full-time senior academics currently working in this country - and who are responsible for one of the highest rates of scientific publication in the world - less than 10 (10 people, not 10%) openly support the BDS movement.
All the university presidents and senior administrators actively denounce any such support, in Israel and around the world. ... 
Don’t let headlines and advertisements lead you astray. Visit an Israeli university. Meet with the amazing students and faculty members who embody the pioneering spirit that created and built this wonderful country. They are the real Zionists" ...
Rivka's boasting affirms the noble decision of the University of Johannesburg and the ongoing campaign for the academic boycott of Israel.

Click here to read Carmi's full article in the Jerusalem Post.

Click here for FAQs on academic boycott, and other forms of BDS.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

St. Louis boycott victory makes the Jerusalem Post

Below is an excerpt from Greer Fay Cashman's April 19 piece in the Jerusalem Post, "A Private Moment With God," which mentions Anna Baltzer, our National Organizer based in St. Louis, and an activist with the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Campaign...

The Palestinian influence on university campuses seems to be gaining in strength. Marvin Casey, the head choreographer of a recently launched hip-hop dance troupe called Tribe 13 - which is made up of new immigrants, is sponsored by the Jewish Agency, performs for visiting groups in Israel and acts as a group of cultural ambassadors abroad - has had some setbacks due to the influence of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, which in March of this year pressured Washington University to revoke its invitation to the group.

More recently, the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, which welcomed the decision, announced its second annual Commemoration of the Nakba (catastrophe), which will take place on May 14, with proceeds from the event earmarked for the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund. The Palestinian Campaign is aided by Anna Baltzer, a Jewish-American Columbia graduate, former Fulbright scholar, and granddaughter of Holocaust refugees. Baltzer is an award-winning lecturer, author and activist for Palestinian human rights. She worked as a volunteer with the International Women’s Peace Service in the West Bank and supported Palestinian-led nonviolent resistance to what she perceives as Israel’s occupation.

FULL ARTICLE HERE...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Campus BDS Heating Up This Spring!

By Anna Baltzer, National Organizer

This spring, the weather is not all that's heating up! April has brought a burst of U.S. campus boycott and divestment (BDS) initiatives following inspiring actions around the country on the BDS Day of Action, held on the annual Palestinian Land Day. Active campaigns in California, Arizona, Indiana and beyond are becoming a force to be reckoned with.

We are thrilled to welcome and support many of these campus groups as new members of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation!

Here are some of the exciting ongoing initiatives:

 At the University of California at San Diego, the UCSD Associated Students are voting tomorrow night on a resolution to divest fromNorthrop-Grumman and General Electric because they profit from violent conflict, including in Israel/Palestine. Click here to read the resolution and send endorsements to rzuabi@gmail.com.



Above: Students' wall on the UA campus. Click to enlarge.

 No Mas Muertes at theUniversity of Arizona (UA) recently issued this call for campus boycott and divestment from national targets Caterpillar andMotorola, due to their involvement in racist policies against Latina/o migrant communities and indigenous peoples in Arizona, Palestine and around the world.

 The statement coincided with the launch of a national "Mock Wall" Movement protesting U.S. support for Israeli occupation and discriminatory U.S. immigration policies, with students at six universities around the country constructing walls on their campuses to raise awareness about the destruction wrought by the walls in Palestine and on the U.S. border.

 At Earlham College in Indiana, students launched this BDS resolution to divest their campus from CaterpillarMotorola and Hewlett-Packard, which profit from Israeli occupation and violations of Palestinian rights. The students put together this terrific video


Northrop-Grumman, Caterpillar and Motorola are also three of the five companies targeted in a national campaign initiated by Jewish Voice for Peace (a member of the US Campaign) to compel financial giant TIAA-CREF to divest from Israeli occupation.

Campuses are fertile ground for this growing campaign. Check out the comprehensive new campaign 
web site and resources here!

Don’t forget to check our 
"BDS on Campus" resources here, including ahandbook by veteran activists to guide students through campus divestment campaigns.

Whether your group is on a campus or not, we invite you to 
join our coalition too, by clicking here. We are more excited than ever to support diverse groups working around the country for corporate accountability and an end to U.S. supportfor Israeli occupation and apartheid.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Boycott Debate: No Longer Taboo in Progressive Pro-Israel Circles

Here's a detailed analysis of current boycott discourse from more than one angle. It discusses one of our member groups, Jewish Voice for Peace, whose director, Rebecca Vilkomerson, recently spoke on a panel devoted to the boycott-divestment-sanctions (BDS) movement, at the annual conference of J-Street, which generally opposes BDS.


Dov Waxman and Mairav Zonszein
March 29, 2011

TO BOYCOTT or not to boycott? That is the question that growing numbers of American Jews on the left wing of the pro-Israel community have reluctantly and uneasily begun to ask themselves in recent months. After initially categorically rejecting the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (or BDS, as it has become known)—a movement launched in 2005 by a coalition of Palestinian civil society groups that's now a global campaign—progressive pro-Israel groups and individuals are now starting to reconsider and revise their position. They are not—at least not yet—embracing BDS, but they are for the first time giving it serious consideration and debating it merits.

The clearest sign yet of this new willingness to discuss what was previously off-limits occurred during a recent conference organized by J Street, the self-described "pro-Israel, pro-peace" lobby group. Holding its second annual conference in the cavernous Washington Convention Center (also the site of the yearly conference of AIPAC, J Street's much larger and richer rival), J Street included a panel session entitled "Who is Afraid of the BDS?" Among the speakers was Rebecca Vilkomerson, the director of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), an organization that advocates the boycott of companies that profit from the Israeli occupation and has been labeled by the Anti-Defamation League as one of the top ten anti-Israel groups in the United States. Her inclusion was noteworthy in itself, but what made the panel even more remarkable was the fact that it was conducted in a calm, reasonable manner, free of diatribes and invectives. In other words, it was completely different from the way in which discussions of BDS usually take place in the American-Jewish community. Instead of assailing the legitimacy of BDS in principle, the discussion focused on the efficacy of BDS—can it help promote an end to the Israeli occupation and a two-state solution? The large audience that packed the room (people were even queuing outside to get in) listened calmly and intently and asked the panel earnest questions.

To hold a rational and civil debate on a topic that until now has been hugely inflammatory for American Jews and Israelis is quite an achievement for J Street. Even more commendable is the fact that it took place despite fierce criticism of J Street for including JVP—an organization that is shunned and vilified by the mainstream American-Jewish community— in its program. Contrary to the accusations of its critics, by allowing BDS to be debated at its conference, J Street did not embrace these controversial tactics (it continues to oppose BDS). Rather, J Street has asserted that BDS is a subject that cannot and should not be ignored by the American-Jewish community. By upholding the values of freedom of speech and inclusive dialogue, J Street is insisting that grappling with the pros and cons of BDS does not in itself delegitimize Israel or deem one to be an anti-Zionist. As such, J Street is helping to break the BDS taboo in the American-Jewish community in general and among progressive pro-Israel activists in particular.

ARTICLE CONTINUES...

Monday, December 28, 2009

U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel has more than 500 endorsers!

A press release from US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation member group USACBI: December 27, 2009 marks the one-year anniversary of the beginning of “Operation Cast Lead,” Israel’s 22-day assault on the captive population of Gaza, which killed 1400 people, one third of them children, and injured more than 5300. During this war on an impoverished, mostly refugee population, Israel targeted civilians, using internationally-proscribed white phosphorous bombs, deprived them of power, water and other essentials, and sought to destroy the infrastructure of Palestinian civil society, including hospitals, administrative buildings and UN facilities. It targeted with peculiar consistency educational institutions of all kinds: the Islamic University of Gaza, the Ministry of Education, the American International School, at least ten UNRWA schools, one of which was sheltering internally displaced Palestinian civilians with nowhere to flee, and tens of other schools and educational facilities. While world leaders have tragically failed to come to Gaza’s help, civilians everywhere are rallying to show their solidarity with the Palestinian people, with anniversary vigils taking place this week in New York, Washington DC, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, and many more cities and towns in the US and world-wide. The United States Campaign for an Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel was formed in the immediate aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, bringing together educators of conscience who were unable to stand by and watch in silence Israel’s indiscriminate assault on the Gaza Strip and its educational institutions. Today, over 500 US-based academics, authors, artists, musicians, poets, and other arts professionals have endorsed our call. Our academic endorsers include postcolonial critics and transnational feminists Chandra Talpade Mohanty and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Indigenous scholars J. Kēhaulani Kauanui and Andrea Smith, philosopher Judith Butler , Black studies scholars Cedric Robinson, Fred Moten, evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers, and intellectual historian Joseph Massad. “Cultural workers” who have endorsed our call include well known author Barbara Ehrenreich, Electronic Intifada founder Ali Abunimah, poets Adrienne Rich and Lisa Suhair Majjaj, ISM co-founder and documentary film-maker Adam Shapiro, Jordan Flaherty of Left Turn Magazine, and Adrienne Maree Brown, of the Ruckus Society. Among the 34 organizations supporting our mission are and the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, the Green Party, Code Pink, INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, Artists Against Apartheid, and Teachers Against the Occupation. The Advisory Board of the United States Campaign for an Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) has grown to include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Hamid Dabashi, Lawrence Davidson, Bill Fletcher Jr., Glen Ford, Mark Gonzales, Marilyn Hacker, Edward Herman, Annemarie Jacir, J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Robin Kelley, Ilan Pappe, James Petras, Vijay Prashad, Andrenne Rich, Michel Shehadeh, and Lisa Taraki. Israeli academics, listed among the organization’s International Endorsers, have also joined us, including Emmanuel Farjoun, Hebrew University; Rachel Giora, Tel Aviv University; Anat Matar, Tel Aviv University; Kobi Snitz, Technion; and Ilan Pappe now at Exeter. The USACBI Mission Statement calls for a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions in support of an appeal by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. Individual Israelis are not targeted by the boycott. Specifically, supporters are asked to: (1) Refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions that do not vocally oppose Israeli state policies against Palestine; (2) Advocate a comprehensive boycott of Israeli institutions at the national and international levels, including suspension of all forms of funding and subsidies to these institutions; (3) Promote divestment and disinvestment from Israel by international academic institutions; (4) Work toward the condemnation of Israeli policies by pressing for resolutions to be adopted by academic, professional and cultural associations and organizations; (5) Support Palestinian academic and cultural institutions directly without requiring them to partner with Israeli counterparts as an explicit or implicit condition for such support. This boycott, modeled upon the global BDS movement that put an end to South African apartheid, is to continue until Israel meets its obligation to recognize 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. Internet Addresses: United States Campaign for an Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) Homepage and Mission Statement: http://usacbi.org Endorsers: http://usacbi.wordpress.com/endorsers/ Advisory Board Members: http://usacbi.wordpress.com/advisory-board/ Face Book: http://www.facebook.com/groups.php?id=542646326&gv=12#/group.php?gid=62141897558 --------- BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions): Bridging the gap between speaking out against apartheid, and actually taking steps to end it. www.usacbi.org

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Omar Barghouti on Academic and Cultural Boycott

Omar Barghouti, who spoke at the US Campaign's 8th Annual National Organizers' Conference in Chicago, IL in September of this year, spoke in November at the University of Minnesota on the topic of academic boycott. The principle of academic and cultural boycott was endorsed by the US Campaign at its 8th National Conference: Thanks to Palestine Video for the link.