Updates from the palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC)
Tel-Aviv’s “White City” is now one of five Israeli locations named in the World Heritage List under the auspices of UNESCO. It is known that UNESCO aims to preserve ancient buildings and protect them as part of human heritage, but that should apply to all cultures.
There is no reason to celebrate! Israel at 60 is a state that is still denying Palestinian refugees their UN-sanctioned rights, simply because they are "non-Jews." It is still illegally occupying Palestinian and other Arab lands, in violation of numerous UN resolutions. It is still persistently and grossly breaching international law and infringing fundamental human rights with impunity afforded to it through munificent US and European economic, diplomatic and political support. It is still treating its own Palestinian citizens with institutionalized discrimination.
The International Committee, which includes representatives of PNGO, AIC, and other key Arab and international civil society networks, decided as far back as July that any group that wishes to take part in the Forum must first endorse the Reference Document as a necessary condition of participation. This Reference Document articulates the consensus principles agreed upon by the diverse international groups organizing the Forum, and projects an alternative vision for justice and peace based on international law and universal human rights.
On April 18, 1996, when Israel still occupied southern Lebanon, Shimon Peres was Prime Minister. He was in the midst of an election campaign, so he took a decision to do something to change his "dovish" image because doves are not respected in Israel. He launched "Operation Grapes of Wrath" causing 400,000 Lebanese to flee their homes, with almost 800 of them fleeing to a UN base in Qana, South Lebanon.
On April 18 the Israeli army shelled the UN shelter in Qana, killing 102 civilians, mainly women, children and the elderly. Many more were injured.
PACBI and its partners wish to express their gratitude to all the artists and arts groups that withdrew from the festival after learning the truth about the organizing group’s political program. In particular, we thank Jamil as-Sayeh, Ilham Madfa’i, DAM and Asayel. We also thank everyone who helped spread the word and raise awareness about the event and its sponsors.
The discrepancy in the political language used by the organizers in their Arabic webpage and the main English page was only an indicator of a deeper deception.
According to the widely accepted boycott criteria advocated by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), the event falls under the category of normalization projects and violates the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), endorsed by over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations, trade unions, political parties, and grassroots movements, for the following reasons:
We shall continue to pursue other avenues to make our case heard in the academic community in the UK, and shall not be deterred by the cancellation of the invitation extended to us by the UCU. While we do not have the resources of the Israel lobby in the UK, we do think that fair-minded British academics will be willing to listen to our case and give it thoughtful consideration.