BNC Statement

Palestinians salute the inspiring student uprising worldwide against Israel’s Gaza genocide and settler-colonial apartheid

Students and faculty across the world - from the US to Australia, from the UK to France - are rising up in what is rapidly escalating to a global mobilization focusing on Israel’s Western-enabled genocide against 2.3 million Palestinians in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip and, crucially, on the complicity of institutions in it. It is an urgent wave of defiance and determination of a new generation that refuses a world of unhinged brutality, impunity, racism and oppression, whether targeting Palestinians or oppressed communities everywhere. 

This is not a performative movement that settles for symbolic gestures or empty sloganeering. It has strategic demands, most importantly ending the complicity of academic institutions in Israel’s genocide and its 76-year-old regime of settler colonialism and apartheid by divesting from companies that enable this regime.

Building on months, years and decades of student organizing, the current tide of campus encampments and occupations is unsettling the Western-dominated world order in which Israel’s live-streamed genocide is normalized and its Palestinian victims and survivors severely dehumanized. While governments are directly complicit or are too timid to take the necessary action to stop Israel’s ongoing attempt to eliminate Palestinians and to uphold international law, students are shouting to the world that we have to end it now and are starting with effective and strategic demands targeting their own institutions’ complicity. 

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the broadest Palestinian coalition leading the global BDS movement, salutes all those standing strong, facing repression as they are building a powerful uprising against business-as-usual, racist apathy, and utter complicity. Their selfless determination seeking to rid their campuses of ties to Israel’s regime of apartheid and genocide against millions of Palestinians, in the face of shameful repression by university administrations and police, gives us hope. 

Two decades after the Palestinian-led anti-apartheid movement launched the 2004 PACBI call for the academic and cultural boycott and, a year after, called for comprehensive boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, student groups worldwide, supported in many cases by faculty and labor unions, are mainstreaming the Palestinian demand  for divestment, for academic boycotts, for ending all state, corporate and institutional complicity in Israel’s 76-year-old regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid. The chant, “Disclose, Divest, We will not stop, We will not rest,” has gone viral globally. 

They follow the footsteps of the historic protest movements that have marked the heydays of the South African anti-apartheid movement in the 80s and the anti-war protests in the 60s, among others. 

During its almost seven-month-long live-streamed genocide in Gaza, Israel has dramatically exacerbated its longstanding policy of scholasticide, the systematic destruction of Palestinian education, or killing of learning. Every single university in Gaza has been bombed, 548 schools have been destroyed or damaged, teachers and professors targeted with assassination. 

While we stand steadfast and have long since learned to study on the rubble of our schools and give underground classes, we take inspiration and hope from the global uprising of students and faculty that challenge the complicity of their institutions. They embody the spirit of the words of the late Rev Desmond Tutu:

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.

We call on students and faculty across the globe to continue to mobilize, join in and grow this unprecedented campus mobilization for Palestinian liberation. Organize protests, encampments, sit-ins, walkouts, occupations, teach-ins, donor strikes, and other forms of peaceful disruption of business-as-usual to demand concrete action to immediately end Israel’s Gaza genocide and all forms of complicity. 

As part of or in support of campus protests:

  • Demand your university disclose its investments and divest from all corporations complicit in Israel’s genocide and underlying regime of apartheid, as was done in the struggle against apartheid South Africa.

  • Push for academic boycotts, campaigning for universities, departments and programs to cut all institutional ties with complicit Israeli universities and institutions, as they are a pillar in the settler-colonial regime.

  • Campaign for motions within student government and federations, faculty unions and academic associations supporting the Palestinian BDS movement and specifically the PACBI call for a boycott of complicit Israeli academic institutions.  

  • Make your campus, or your student or faculty organization, an apartheid-free zone, excluding from contracts, at the very least, all complicit Israeli and international corporations on the BDS list, the AFSC Investigate list, or in the UN database

Join and strengthen the global campus-based Palestine solidarity protests, and let Palestinians and those students and faculty facing the harshest repression know that they are not alone. 

Wherever you are, your mobilization is crucial! 

This is a moment of struggle for our shared humanity, in Palestine and everywhere. 



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