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.
At a time when the international movement to isolate Israel is gaining ground in response to the escalation of Israel‘s apartheid policies, we at PACBI respectfully urge all diplomatic missions, particularly those based in Jerusalem, to refrain from supporting -- in any form -- Palestinian-Israeli encounters or joint projects that are not explicitly dedicated to ending Israel‘s illegal occupation and other forms of oppression.
Israel’s military occupation -- the longest in modern history -- is not an abstract notion to us. It manifests itself in wilful killings of civilians, particularly children; wanton demolition of homes and property; uprooting of more than a million trees; incessant theft of land and water resources; denial of freedom of movement to millions; and cutting up the occupied Palestinian territory into Bantustans, some entirely caged by walls, fences and hundreds of roadblocks.
Academic boycott has been advocated in the past as an effective tool in resisting injustice. In the 1920s, Mahatma Gandhi called for boycotting British-run academic institutions, to increase Indian self-reliance and also to protest the role of those institutions in maintaining British colonial domination over India. In the 1950s, the African National Congress (ANC) called for a comprehensive boycott of the entire South African academy, as a means to further isolate the apartheid regime. To their credit, British academics were among the very first to adopt the latter boycott.
Heartened by the growing international movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, Palestinian academics, trade unionists, professionals, and human rights activists will be eagerly following the deliberations of the Council when it convenes on May 30. The British academics’ initiative is particularly timely due to Israel’s escalation of its oppression of the Palestinian people.
Performing in Israel at this time is morally equivalent to performing in South Africa during the apartheid era. We all remember how leading Rolling Stones musicians played a prominent role in enforcing a cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa in the 1980’s, and participated in recording the timeless song, Sun City, which had a singular influence on raising public awareness about apartheid and its injustices. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights Prof.
The motion came in response to a statement made in August 2006 by over 120 Palestinian artists, filmmakers and cultural workers calling on artists and cultural institutions around the world to join a cultural boycott of Israel.
Visits to the OPT by international supporters and advocates of Palestinian rights have always been viewed by Palestinians as a source of encouragement and inspiration. These gestures of solidarity are very important to us; they help break down the walls of isolation imposed by Israel and the global centers of power, and also demonstrate to Israel and the world that the Palestinians are not alone in their struggle for freedom.
In May 2002, long before the Palestinian call for academic boycott of Israel was issued , and in support of the early British efforts to impose a moratorium on the European Union’s scientific association with Israel, Tanya Reinhart was a pioneer in laying the logical and political foundations for what later developed into an institutional academic boycott movement. In a letter refuting the anti-boycott arguments of her fellow Israeli academic, Baruch Kimmerling, Tanya wrote with her typical clarity and resoluteness :
“I have no doubt that you supported the South Africa boycott.