Open Letter

Palestinian Professors' Unions Urge International Hispanistas Association to Move Congress From Hebrew University

Palestinian professors' unions call on the International Association of Hispanistas to relocate its 2019 congress from Hebrew University, which is built in part on stolen Palestinian land in Israeli occupied East Jerusalem. 

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The Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) and The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) urge the Asociación Internacional de Hispanistas (AIH) to move its July 2019 congress from Hebrew University. Holding the conference in any complicit Israeli institution would implicate the association in Israel’s grave violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.

Significant parts of Hebrew University are built on stolen Palestinian land, including illegally seized private Palestinian property in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem.

Holding the AIH congress at Hebrew University whitewashes Israel’s decades-old military occupation and reinforces its unlawful claim of sovereignty over Jerusalem. The UN and the international community, with the notable exception of Trump’s xenophobic and anti-Palestinian administration, do not recognize Israeli sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem.

The AIH congress is sponsored by the Israeli government, which is actively working to rid Jerusalem of its indigenous Palestinian inhabitants, including through systematic home demolitions and forced expulsions. Hebrew University itself has taken legal action to evict Palestinian families and demolish their homes for the construction of campus facilities, in violation of international law.

The conference website lists Israeli hotel accommodations in occupied East Jerusalem and falsely presents prominent Palestinian places of worship in occupied East Jerusalem as part of Israel.

Hebrew University’s complicity is not limited to its location. The university maintains close ties with the Israeli authorities responsible for direct attacks on Palestinian education. Hebrew University provides special privileges to Israeli soldiers and security personnel and directly collaborates with the Israeli army.

The Israeli military has bombedraided and ransacked Palestinian universities and schools. Palestinian academics and students are forced to endure the indignities of Israeli military checkpoints and are often denied their basic freedom of movement and academic freedom.  

Israel regularly denies Palestinians permits to travel abroad to further their research or attend conferences. During the past academic year alone, Israel denied entry or refused visa renewals for dozens of international staff and faculty at Palestinian universities. This systematic attack on the Palestinian right to education is part of Israel’s policy of “scholasticide.”

In July, Hebrew University hosted a recruitment event for Shin Bet, Israel’s notorious secret police, which has been condemned by the UN Committee Against Torture for its frequent use of torture and other illegal interrogation tactics on Palestinian political prisoners and child detainees.

Last spring, Hebrew University held an event organized by several settlement institutions, including Kfar Etzion Field School in the illegal Israeli settlement of Gush Etzion, and a department of Ariel University, which is located in the illegal settlement of the same name.

We urge AIH to relocate its 2019 congress outside of Israel and occupied East Jerusalem until Israel respects Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law.

We call on AIH members to stand in solidarity with Palestinian academics and demand AIH relocate the congress. And to boycott the conference if it is held at any complicit Israeli institution.


Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE)

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

The Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) represents more than 6,000 Palestinian university staff at 13 institutions of higher education in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was initiated in 2004 to contribute to the struggle for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality. PACBI advocates for the boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, given their deep and persistent complicity in Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law.


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