Updates from the palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC)
In 2004, your divestment overture gave us hope that, despite Israel’s ever expanding, land-grabbing colonies, its indiscriminate killings, its wanton home demolitions and uprooting of one million trees and its monstrous colonial Wall, we were not alone; that there are people of conscience who put principles ahead of interest and ethics before profit. Aside from hope, your initiative sent a firm message to our oppressors that they cannot continue to trample on our human and political rights with impunity, that they shall be held accountable for their crimes.
But the significance of the academic boycott against Israel adopted by the largest British academic union cannot be viewed in legalistic terms. Its moral weight should not be underestimated. The NATFHE vote proved once again that boycotting Israeli academic institutions due to their complicity in maintaining Israel’s special form of apartheid against the Palestinians remains prominent on the agenda of western progressives and human rights activists.
The circle this argument fails to close is that without the freedom of Palestinian education the prospect of any genuine dialogue on the long-term solution to the conflict cannot materialise.
As Palestinians commemorate the 39th anniversary of Israel's June 1967 occupation of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip, Palestinian civil society  expresses its deep appreciation of CUPE's courageous and principled solidarity stand. While CUPE leads the way, it is not alone.
Mainstream Israeli and international media are reporting that Israel is launching a major public relations campaign highlighting its key place in the international arts scene. Your visit, and regardless of your intentions, will be viewed by Palestinians as contributing to the deceptive image of Israel as a "normal" state, thereby legitimizing its racism and colonial oppression.
This is a significant accomplishment considering the campaign of intimidation and bullying waged against proponents of the NATFHE academic boycott initiative by Israeli networks and powerful Zionist lobbies in the United Kingdom and the United States. At this stage of the international boycott movement, Palestinian boycott advocates, including PACBI, aim first and foremost to keep alive an open and principled debate on the need for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it fully complies with international law and universal human rights.
Indeed, as in the struggle against apartheid South Africa, we have learned that colonial and racist regimes do not voluntarily give up their oppressive control; they must be compelled to do so.