Newsletter Archive:.
  January 2014  

Why the Boycott Movement Scares Israel

Scarlett Johansson ended her role as “Global Ambassador” for the charity Oxfam after facing mounting criticism over her lucrative endorsement deal with SodaStream, an Israeli company that operates a factory in an illegal colony in the occupied West Bank.

Rafeef Ziadah, a spokesperson with the BNC, a coalition of Palestinian civil society organizations that had called on Oxfam to dump Johansson, said: “Scarlett Johansson has abandoned her reputation as a progressive celebrity in exchange for the check that accompanies becoming the new face of Israeli apartheid. Just like the few artists who played Sun City during South African apartheid, Johansson will be remembered for having stood on the wrong side of history.”  Ziadah added: “This controversy has shined a light on the fact that SodaStream is at the heart of Israel’s system of occupation, colonization and apartheid. Retailers that stock SodaStream can no longer claim they are unaware of the role the company plays in Israeli violations of international law and consumers across the world will now see through SodaStream’s claims to be an ethical company.”


Germany conditions high-tech, science grants on excluding Israeli settlement entities

 The German government is conditioning continued grants to Israeli high-tech companies, as well as the renewal of a scientific cooperation agreement, on the inclusion of a territorial clause stating that Israeli entities located in the OPT will not be eligible for funding.


US Academic Associations Break the “Last Taboo” of Censuring Israel

 The annual convention of the 30,000-member strong Modern Language Association (MLA) passed a resolution earlier this month by a vote of 60-53 censuring Israel for “denials of entry to the West Bank by U.S. academics who have been invited to teach, confer, or do research at Palestinian universities.”

Columbia University to NY Legislature: Back Off!

 If passed, these proposed anti-boycott bills, “cynically misdescribed as protecting academic freedom,” will “threaten constitutionally protected academic speech and debate by punishing political speech and action by academics on matters of public concern.”



PACBI Editorial

Moving forward Together: PACBI Pauses to thank its Partners

The month of January has seen a burst of energy on the academic and cultural front of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement with worldwide and mainstream media attention.  BDS news has been covered in the Washington Post, Financial Times, Bloomberg, New York Times, CNN, and other media where BDS advocates have previously been ignored or censored.  The world is beginning to understand that Israel cannot be treated with exception while it continues to violate international law, and that criticism and resistance against Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid cannot be silenced.  We have indeed arrived at a tipping point where the taboo of standing up to the Israeli system of oppression is being shattered. 

 On the academic front, after four associations in the USA have now come out in support of academic boycott, these being the Association for Humanist Sociology (AHS), Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS), American Studies Association (ASA), and Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), the unfounded veneer of academic freedom that supporters of Israel have used to challenge boycotts is peeling away.  Scholars who have led the charge against BDS have been exposed for mixing academic privilege with academic freedom and using the idea of “academic freedom” with double standards to shutdown criticism of Israel.

 At PACBI, we want to reiterate to all our partners around the world our deepest respect and gratitude for all what they have done, sometimes at great personal cost, to further our struggle for freedom, justice and equality.  We remain surprised and humbled by what we have accomplished together in a relatively short time.  Together we move forward and learn from each other.


Ten things we’ve learned about opposition to academic boycott

 BDS shows no sign of slowing, so periodic assessment is a useful way to evaluate political moods and to highlight the spectacular inconsistencies of logic and ethics that define anti-boycott activism.



“Paths to Peace": Normalizing Israel’s Collective Punishment of Gaza!

 An NYU program that brings together Israeli and Palestinian students to study together for one semester is an act of normalization that violates the boycott guidelines issued by PACBI.


Arab American Studies Association (AASA) Supports ASA academic boycott of Israel

 AASA regards the American Studies Association’s endorsement as a commitment to expanding the possibilities of academic freedom and to breaking the silence in American academia on Israel.

  Risala in Arabic means mission, message or letter