We believe that this brave and honest stand taken by the NATFHE will further support the Palestinians in their rightful struggle towards achieving a just and lasting peace in the holy land. A peace that can only be realized through ending the occupation and that can offer stability, justice, and hope for the Palestinians in their independent state, in accordance with international law and legitimacy.

he barrier was the first stop on a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories for Waters, who had been criticized by some fans for planning to play a concert in the Jewish state. "It's a horrific edifice, this thing," Waters told reporters as he stood beside a section of the barrier in Bethlehem. "I've seen pictures of it, I've heard a lot about it but without being here you can't imagine how extraordinarily oppressive it is and how sad it is to see these people coming through these little holes," he added. "It's craziness."

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. And in the absence of a sizeable and meaningful denunciation of Israeli clampdowns on Palestinian education, what other mechanisms are there to awaken the pro-dialogue, pro-peace camp?

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 [1] 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.

If the urge to boycott is irresistible, why not boycott academics in Sudan, where a government-supported militia rapes and murders blacks? Why not boycott academics in Saudi Arabia, where no Jew or Christian is allowed to become a citizen? Why not boycott academics in Iran, where courts throw Jews into jail on trumped-up espionage charges? For that matter, why not boycott academics in all countries that have adopted Islamic law (sharia), which discriminates against women and makes it a capital offence for Muslims to renounce Islam?

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. This is where international civil society plays a crucial role, particularly in the absence of any pressure from world powers to end injustice.

Israeli academic institutions are implicated in the various forms of oppression exercised against the Palestinians. Israeli research institutes, think tanks, and academic departments have historically granted legitimacy to the work of academics who advocate ethnic cleansing, apartheid, denial of refugee rights, and other discriminatory policies against the Palestinians, whether in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), inside Israel, or in exile.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) [1] views with concern your participation in this conference held at the Hebrew University. At a time when the international movement to isolate Israel is gaining ground in response to Israel’s flagrant infringement of Palestinian human and political rights, we urge you to reflect upon the ethical implication of your accepting an invitation to take part in a conference at an Israeli university.