Updates from the palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC)
Call to support the first major student union in Quebec or Canada to back the international campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel
Montreal May 2008: Across the world grassroots movements struggling in opposition to Israeli apartheid are marking the 60th year of the Palestinian Nakba (”catastrophe”) – 60 years of dispossession, ethnic cleansing and exile for Palestinians resulting from the creation of the state of Israel.
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.
There is no reason to celebrate!
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.