Open Letter

Open Letter to the Foreign Affairs Minister Frans Timmermans,and The Dutch House of Representatives

We address you as a group of employees, faculty members, PhD students and researchers of the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), in The Hague. The ISS is an educational, research and policy institution, part of Erasmus University Rotterdam.  We belong to very diverse disciplinary backgrounds, but we all equally share social justice as a major inspiration of our work.


Mr. Mark Rutte (Prime Minister)

Minister van Algemene Zaken,

Postbus 20001,

2500 EA Den Haag


Foreign Affairs Minister Frans Timmermans,

and The Dutch House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer)



The staff of International Institute of Social Studies


Date: 31 July 2014


Dear Prime Minister Rutte,

Foreign Affair Minister Timmermans, and

Members of the Cabinet and House of Representatives


We address you as a group of employees, faculty members, PhD students and researchers of the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), in The Hague. The ISS is an educational, research and policy institution, part of Erasmus University Rotterdam.  We belong to very diverse disciplinary backgrounds, but we all equally share social justice as a major inspiration of our work. As teachers and researchers, administrators, managers, students, policy analysts and practitioners, we take social justice as our political position towards the world around us.


In that world, the State of Israel is taking a particularly dire political stand. Today, the Israeli government and military are yet again engaged in a war against Palestinians in Gaza, the third since 2008. According to a number of international human rights organizations, Israel has been committing numerous war crimes against the civilian Palestinian population on all Palestinian territories, and especially during its wars against Gaza. Recently, the UN Human Rights Council has launched its own investigation into allegations of war crimes against Gazan civilians. All allegations and evidence collected by the international and national human rights and humanitarian organization are freely available via internet, so we will not list them here. 


Rather, we write to you with the request to step up your criticism ofthe Israeli policy of occupation and wars against the Palestinian people. We urge you to take a further step and employ means that are officially and internationally recognized as legitimate, non-violent practices that any state can use against another state that has ignored all other calls to change its behaviour – boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.


Between 19 48 and today, the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council, and the UN Human Rights Council (since its creation in 2006)  have adopted a large number of Resolutions regarding Israel and Palestine. In the first decades following the establishment of the State of Israel, the majority of the Resolutions were concerned with Palestinian refugees expelled from their land by the Israeli military after 1948. Security Council Resolution 242, adopted in 1967, following the six-day war, confirmed the 'inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war’. Since the early 1970s, resolutions have repeatedly demanded 'a full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories’, and have addressed 'Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories’ (as the titles of the Resolutions indicate). In addition, as the UN Resolution 1869 of January 2009 testifies, Gaza is besieged by Israel, to the extent that even 'food, fuel and medical supplies’ are not allowed in.


So far none of these UN Resolutions have been respected by Israel’s Government. To the contrary, the occupation of the West Bank and annexation of East-Jerusalem have only deepened and the blockade on Gaza has been in place since 2007.


In calling for the Dutch Government to take measures of boycott, divestment and sanctions against the State of Israel we are following a number of institutions around the world that have already severed their ties with the State of Israel. We also stress that The Dutch Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV), at page 39 of its report Between Words and Deeds: Prospects for a Sustainable Peace in the Middle East, published in April 2013, suggests, among other things, that Israel’s actions in the occupied Palestinian territories 'give cause to freeze or even restrict’ the bilateral relations between the Netherlands and Israel, 'particularly at an economic and military level’.


The example of the anti-apartheid struggles in South Africa shows that offending governments do not easily change their ways unless put under intense diplomatic pressure. It took decades of struggle to achieve the abolition of apartheid. What helped in this struggle was the work of countless numbers of individuals, organizations and institutions across the world, and in the Netherlands, that acted in solidarity with the oppressed. Equally important were the actions of world governments, including the Dutch Government, that took a stand against the oppressors. We therefore ask the Dutch Government to officially implement boycott, divestment and sanctions against the State of Israel.




Prince Claus Chairholders:



Mansoob Murshed, Prince Claus Chairholder

Amina Mama, Prince Claus Chairholder

Alcinda Honwana, Prince Claus Chairholder

Rema Hammami, Prince Claus Chairholder

Patricia Almeida Ashley, Prince Claus Chairholder

Stella Quimbo, Prince Claus Chairholder

Aylin Kuntay, Prince Claus Chairholder





ISS staff:




Fulgencio Lucas Muti, PhD Researcher

Stefania Donzelli, PhD Researcher

Mohsen Yazdanpanah, PhD Researcher

Silke Heumann, Assistant Professor

Ben Radley, PhD Researcher

Hermine Engel, PhD Researcher

Zemzem Shigute Shuka, PhD Researcher

Tamara Soukotta, PhD Researcher

Mindi Schneider, Assistant Professor

John Cameron, Associate Professor

SiuSue Mark, PhD Researcher

Kristen Cheney, Assistant Professor

Bram Buscher, Associate Professor

Zelalem Yilma Debebe, PhD Researcher

Wendy Harcourt, Associate Professor

Christina Sathyamala, PhD Researcher

Irene van Staveren, Professor

Kenji Kimura, PhD Researcher

Alan Fowler, Professor Emeritus,

Fasil Taye, PhD Researcher

Loes Keysers, Assistant Professor

Mahmoud Meskoub, Assistant Professor

Amrita Chhachhi, Assistant Professor

Anderson Macedo de Jesus, PhD Researcher

Jun Borras, Associate Professor

Cynthia Embido Bejeno, PhD Researcher

Benedict Mckay, PhD Researcher

Jim Bjorkman,Professor Emeritus

Nahda Shehada, Assistant Professor

Lorenzo Pellegrini, Associate Professor

Michela Marcatelli, PhD Researcher

Almas Mahmud, Academic Writing Skills Unit

Sara Salem, PhD Researcher

Murat Arsel, Associate Professor

Des Gasper, Professor

Stasja Koot, Post-Doc Researcher

Karim Kniou, Assistant Professor 
Ashwani Saith, Professor Emeritus

Rafaela de Quadros Rigoni,  PhD researcher

Linda McPhee, Assistant Professor

Clara Mi Young Park, PhD Researcher

Paula Bownas, Development and ChangeJournal Editor

Eri Ikeda, PhD Researcher

Lubna Sharwani, Office Manager/Secretary Board of Examiners

Jeff Handmaker, Assistant Professor

Dita Dirks, Secretary PhD Program

Roy Huijsmans, Assistant Professor

Alberto Alonso-Fradejas, PhD Researcher

Martin Doornbos, Professor Emeritus

Lenka Sobotova, PhD Researcher

Angélica María Ocampo, PhD Researcher

Andrew M. Fischer, Associate Professor

Alonso Ramirez Cover, PhD Researcher

Shyamika Jayasundara-Smits, Research Associate

Blas Regnault, PhD Researcher

Wicky Meynen, Assistant Professor, Retired

Salena Tramel, PhD Researcher

Rachel Kurian, Assistant Professor

Annet van Geen, Research Program Administrator

Rekopantswe Mate, PhD Researcher 
Yunan Xu, PhD Researcher

Eunjung Koo, PhD Researcher

Kannokkarn Kai Tevapitak, PhD Researcher

Zhen Lu, PhD Researcher

Rosalba Icaza Garza, Assistant Professor

Cevahir Ozguler, PhD Researcher

Sharmini Bisessar-Selvarajah, Research Program Administrator

Lupe Nunez Garcia, Library Assistant

Bridget O'Laughlin, Associate Professor, Retired

Marc Wuyts, Professor Emeritus

Juan Parra Heredia, PhD Researcher

Larissa Barbosa da Costa, PhD Researcher

Liu Juan, Post-doc Researcher

Omar Barghouti, Research Fellow

Berhane Ghebretnsaie, Project Officer

Kim Chi Tran, PhD Researcher

Helen Hintjens, Assistant Professor

Eric Ross, Associate Professor, Retired

Duygu Avci, PhD Researcher

Ben White, Professor Emeritus

Cristóbal Kay, Professor Emeritus

Karin Arts, Professor

Josee Haanappel, MA Program Administrator

Paulina Trejo Mendez, PhD Researcher

Sylvia I. Bergh, Assistant Professor

Kees Biekart, Associate Professor

Muhammad Badiuzzaman, PhD Researcher

Dubravka Zarkov, Associate Professor



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