They are involved in developing weapon systems and military doctrines deployed in Israel’s recent war crimes in Lebanon and Gaza, justifying the ongoing colonization of Palestinian land, rationalizing gradual ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestinians, providing moral justification for extra-judicial killings, systematically discriminating against “non-Jewish” students, and other implicit and explicit violations of human rights and international law.
To end this complicity in Israel’s violations of international law, Palestinian civil society has called for an academic boycott of complicit Israeli academic institutions. Refusing to normalize oppression, many academic associations, student governments and unions as well as thousands of international academics now support the academic boycott of Israel.
Why boycott Israeli universities?
Tel Aviv University, for example, has developed tens of weapon systems and the “Dahiya doctrine” of disproportionate force employed by the Israeli military in committing war crimes against Palestinian and Lebanese civilians.
The University of Johannesburg in 2011 severed links with Ben Gurion University over its complicity in Israel's human rights violations, including the theft of Palestinian water.
A Human Rights Watch study reveals institutionalized racial discrimination against Palestinians throughout Israel’s education system, including universities.
Universities constitute an organic part of Israel’s military establishment and its role in denying Palestinian rights.
- Technion develops military drone technologies and remote-controlled weaponized bulldozers used to demolish Palestinian homes.
- Tel Aviv University was responsible for developing the "Dayhiya doctrine", which calls for disproportionate force against civilian infrastructure and which was implemented by the Israeli occupation forces in their massacres of Palestinians in Gaza.
- Graduates of the Hebrew University’s Talpiot military program, sponsored by the Israeli Air Force and army, pursue higher education while serving in the army, utilizing their expertise to further military research and development.
Israeli universities make up a key part of the ideological infrastructure of the Israeli colonial regime and produce knowledge that contributes to the subjugation of the Palestinian people.
In partnership with Elbit, a leading Israeli weapons manufacturer, Technion has played a leading role in the construction and surveillance of Israel’s wall, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004.
Israeli universities often directly participate in Israel's colonisation of Palestinian land. Hebrew University, for instance, has participated in the confiscation of Palestinian land in occupied East Jerusalem. Some of the university’s student accommodation is located in an illegal Israeli settlement.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has condemned Israeli universities’ disciplinary measures against Palestinian students protesting on social media their universities’ unabashed support for Israel's 2014 Gaza massacre.
A Human Rights Watch study documents institutionalized discrimination against Palestinians in Israeli universities and segregated school system.
A top Israeli education official once called Bedouin Palestinian citizens of Israel "blood-thirsty Bedouins who commit polygamy, have 30 children and continue to expand their illegal settlements, taking over state land."
Racial incitement against Palestinians has become mainstream in Israeli universities. Extremist anti-Arab and Islamophobic speech by Israeli academics, like one who advocates for deterring Palestinian militants by raping their sisters and mothers, almost never triggers disciplinary measures.
Israel’s relentless and deliberate attack on Palestinian education, which some have recently termed scholasticide, goes back to the 1948 Nakba, when Israel plundered and/or destroyed tens of thousands of Palestinian books.
During the first Palestinian Intifada (1987-1993), Israel shut down all Palestinian universities, some for several years, all 1,194 Palestinian schools and eventually kindergartens, prompting Palestinians to build an “illegal network” of underground schools.
In its assault on Gaza in 2014, Israel targeted at least 153 schools, including 90 run by the UN, and the largest university, according to UNICEF.
Israeli universities have not only remained silent, but in many cases have directly supported or justified the state’s ongoing suppression of Palestinian education.
Given the decades-long complicity of Israeli universities in the denial of Palestinian rights, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) in 2004 issued its call for a boycott of all Israeli academic institutions.
In harmony with the internationally-accepted definition of academic freedom, PACBI’s guidelines set out how the boycott should be applied to Israeli institutions, not individuals. They specifically call for:
Refusing any form of academic and cultural cooperation with Israeli institutions;
Advocating a comprehensive boycott of Israeli institutions nationally and internationally;
Promoting divestment from Israel by international academic institutions;
Working toward institutional condemnation of Israeli policies;
Supporting Palestinian academic and cultural institutions directly without requiring them to partner with Israeli counterparts.
University of Johannesburg cuts ties with Ben-Gurion University
Associations & unions join the academic boycott
The Teachers Union of Ireland, Federation of Francophone Students in Belgium (FEF), the National Union of Students (NUS) in the UK, the graduate student workers unions at New York University and University of Massachusetts Amherst, among others, have endorsed the academic boycott of Israel.
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is here to support your campaigning or answer any questions, just get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spread the word!
Ideas for action
Sign a declaration in support of the academic boycott
Find out more and show your support
Organize for an association or union to support the academic boycott
Research links with Israeli universities and arms companies
Start an academic boycott campaign on your campus
Spread the word on your campus
Invite a speaker or organize a debate or teach-in
Campaign against Israel's involvement in international programs
Build direct solidarity with Palestinian universities
Academic Boycott guidelines - a summary
PACBI urges a boycott and work for the cancellation of all forms of cooperation with Israeli academic institutions, including events, activities, agreements, or projects with them. PACBI also urges a boycott of propaganda initiatives that promote Israel or whitewash its violations of international law. The academic boycott is a boycott of complicit Israeli academic institutions not individuals. This boycott should continue until Israeli academic institutions recognize the rights of the Palestinian people as set out in the BDS call and end all forms of complicity in Israel’s violations of international law.