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.
As the UN, the EU and the international community by and large have failed the Palestinian people for decades, we address civil society organizations to take whatever steps, however small, to show their support for Palestine and rejection of Israeli genocidal war crimes. The experience of South Africa shows that the collective action of ordinary people who did not buy South African products, did not watch South African sports and did not have any relationship with South African academic and cultural institutions, was able to pressurize governments to isolate apartheid South Africa.
Since the beginning of its current invasion of Gaza, and under the pretence of freeing a captured soldier, Israel has violated basic principles of international law and committed war crimes, as documented by Amnesty International, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, and other human rights bodies. These crimes and the resulting tragic death toll among Palestinian civilians are not surprising, given Israel’s long record of dehumanizing Palestinians and its collective punishment against them.
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.
We see in such a stand a clear message to all academics all over the world to take their role in opposing oppression and denouncing all acts committed against international law.
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.
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.
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?
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)  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.