PACBI Mourns Iain Banks
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) mourns the passing of renowned Scottish author Iain Banks, who personified in his life the meaning of commitment to justice. Two months before his death, Banks announced his ill heath and simultaneously reiterated his unflinching support for the global and Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement , particularly the cultural boycott against Israel. Aside from giving inspiration to writers the world over, this position underlined Iain Banks’ moral distinction.
After Israel’s bloody attack on the Freedom Flotilla in 2010, Iain Banks was among the first international figures to endorse the boycott of Israel, urging  writers, artists and academics to “convince Israel of its moral degradation and ethical isolation, preferably by simply having nothing to do with this outlaw state.” Banks was joined by leading authors from around the world, including the late Stephane Hessel, a holocaust survivor himself, Naomi Klein, Henning Mankell and Alice Walker, all of whom had reached the same conclusion that only through effective pressure, not “constructive engagement,” can they contribute to the struggle to end Israel’s occupation, colonization and apartheid against the Palestinian people. As Iain Banks writes, “The problem is that constructive engagement and reasoned argument demonstrably have not worked, and the relatively crude weapon of boycott is pretty much all that’s left.”
Banks expected the inevitable backlash from Israel and its influential lobby groups around the world when he advocated for BDS. He made a lucid distinction between the state of Israel and Jews around the world, arguing that they are never “synonymous,” and that a boycott against Israel, due to its decades-long crime and flouting of international law, should never be conflated with racism against people of the Jewish faith.
We find Iain Banks’ words most fitting to recall here :
"The BDS campaign for justice for the Palestinian people is one I would hope any decent, open-minded person would support. Gentile or Jew, conservative or leftist, no matter who you are or how you see yourself, these people are our people, and collectively we have turned our backs on their suffering for far too long."
We will miss you, Iain Banks.