Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.
PACBI has been following with great concern media reports in recent months about moves at AUC—under the banner of academic freedom-- to normalize relations with the Israeli academy. Such a course would be an undeserved reward to an academic establishment that continues to be complicit in the Israeli system of oppression and the regime of apartheid.
The UCU’s condemnation of the “apparent complicity of most of the Israeli academy,” its appeal to its members “to consider the moral and political implications of educational links with Israeli institutions,” and its decision to “greylist” -- a notch short of boycott -- the “colonising” Israeli college in the illegal settlement of Ariel are the strongest indicators to date that the Union has resolutely moved forward in the direction of gradually ending business-as-usual with Israeli universities.
This US government measure comes only days after Amnesty International termed the siege and imprisonment of a million and a half Palestinians in the Gaza Strip collective punishment that is causing the gravest humanitarian crisis to date; the decision was announced scarcely a few weeks after former US President Carter called the imprisonment of the entire Gaza population a terrible human rights crime and a brutal punishment and called for strong voices in Europe, the US, Israel and elsewhere to speak out and condemn this human rights tragedy.
Palestinians expect someone with your history, moral commitment and consistent support for the causes of justice -- from Algeria, to Vietnam, to Palestine -- to stand in solidarity with us against occupation and apartheid, not to help whitewash both, whether knowingly or not. Did you ever go to an Afrikaner film festival in apartheid South Africa? Why Israel, then?
Participating in a festival in Tel Aviv now can only be seen in the wider context of Israel’s celebrations of 60 years since its establishment over the ruins of another country, Palestine.
The creation of the state of Israel almost 60 years ago dispossessed and uprooted hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes and lands. With their peaceful lives ruined, society fragmented, possessions pillaged and hope for freedom and nationhood dashed, Palestinian refugees held on to their dream of return, and Palestinians everywhere nourished their aspiration for freedom, dignified living, and becoming whole again.
The BDS National Committee (BNC), comprising over 200 Palestinian civil society organizations and including all major Palestinian workers' unions, salutes the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) for their decision to support the international campaign for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the Israeli apartheid regime. This decision, the first of its kind at the national level of a union in North America, constitutes a major step forward in the global struggle for freedom and justice.
Yes, all prominent human rights organizations have recorded this terrible oppression by the Israeli military in occupied Palestine. Yes, these crimes and gross human rights violations are persistently committed by Israel, “the only democracy in the Middle East.”
Even at the level of censorship and cultural repression Israel, throughout its four decades of occupation, has done everything in its capacity to destroy or marginalize Palestinian identity, history and cultural heritage. This is real censorship of the 21st century!