Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.
Shortly after the University of Johannesburg resuscitated an apartheid-era agreement with Ben Gurion University of Israel (BGU) in late 2009, colleagues at UJ who disagreed with this development sought an audience with an academic who was key to the envisioned joint water research project.
He responded by writing: "I am afraid I may not be helpful in this instance since I do not hold any particular view on the Israeli-Palestinian matter. My involvement is purely on a research basis as I am engaged in this project based on the expertise in water research at Ben Gurion University.
My visit to your university in Tucson earlier this month filled me with utmost joy and reverence, especially for the youth who are engaged in one of the most important struggles of our time—the right to education.
March 2011 was marked by major successes for the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, especially on the academic and cultural boycott front. There is much cause to celebrate, take stock of and continue to creatively and affectively mobilise around, based on the three basic and just demands of the BDS campaign. We hail BDS victories, knowing full well that they are the result of remarkable efforts by people of conscience around the world working tirelessly to support Palestinian human rights.
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), representing a wide spectrum in the Palestinian academy, salutes our South African colleagues at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) for their principled support for the cause of justice in Palestine by upholding the 29 September 2010 UJ Senate resolution to sever its links with BGU . The UJ press release notes that:
Palestinians everywhere were jubilant when two of the most tyrannical regimes in the Arab world were overthrown by youth-initiated people’s revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. Palestinian civil society has enthusiastically stood with both revolutions' demands for full freedom, rights, dignity, social justice, sustainable development, and emancipation from Western economic and political hegemony.
If 2010 witnessed an exceptional growth of the global BDS movement, especially in the cultural and consumer products fields, one of the main challenges facing the movement in 2011 will be to start putting into effect concrete boycott measures against Israeli universities and to further spread the artists’ boycott of Israel.
With world renowned artists, bands and writers refusing to perform, exhibit or speak in Israel, cultural boycott took off in 2010, especially following Israel’s bloody attack on the Freedom Flotilla.