Newsletter Archive:.
  October 2014  

Junot Díaz, Chuck D, Boots Riley, others Call for Boycotting Israel

 Leading U.S. intellectuals, writers, and hip hop artists have recently added their voices in support of the Palestinian civil society call for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel in protest of Israel's systematic abuses of Palestinian human rights and violations of international law.

This week, New York Times best-selling author Junot Díaz, who received a Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and won the prestigious MacArthur ”Genius Grant,” endorsed the United States Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI).

In a statement to USACBI, Díaz said, ”If there exists a moral arc to the universe, then Palestine will eventually be free. But that promised day will never arrive unless we, the justice-minded peoples of our world, fight to end the cruel blight of the Israeli occupation. Our political, religious and economic leaders have always been awesome at leading our world into conflict, only we the people alone with little else but our courage and our solidarities and our invincible hope can lead our world into peace.” Díaz now becomes one of the most visible and decorated American writers to support the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.

Hip hop superstar Chuck D, of the groundbreaking group Public Enemy, also recently signaled his endorsement of USACBI. In July, he joined a number of prominent global activists, including Angela Davis and Roger Waters, appearing in a video titled ”Standing Up for Palestinian Rights.” Additionally, another star from the orbit of politically progressive African American music, Boots Riley, has endorsed the academic and cultural boycott call. Riley's band The Coup is known for lyrics linking the oppression of African Americans and Palestinians, as in the song ”The Shipment.”

The endorsements of the academic and cultural boycott call by prominent African American artists and activists comes at an important moment of Black/Palestinian solidarity in the U.S. This past weekend, Palestinians and allies marched alongside thousands of activists from across the country, including radical theologian and activist Cornel West, to protest the killing of Mike Brown and stand against police brutality.


American Historical Association Members Call for Academic Boycott of Israel

 Petition calls on AHA members to: End collaboration with Israeli academic institutions; abstain from publishing work in academic journals based in Israel; refuse to collaborate with Israeli academic institutions or persons acting as representatives of such institutions, until international law is respected.


World Music Institute (NY) asked to Drop Idan Raichel Gig

 Raichel, a “cultural ambassador” of Israel, has strong ties to the Israeli military, supports the right-wing US organization Thank Israeli Soldiers, and entertained the army before, during, and after its August 2014 massacre in Gaza, which killed over 2100 Palestinians, including 500 children.

Over 500 Middle East Studies Scholars Endorse Academic Boycott of Israel

 “We call on our colleagues in to boycott Israeli academic institutions, and we pledge not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions, not to teach at or to attend conferences and other events at such institutions, and not to publish in academic journals based in Israel.”


PACBI Editorial 

Israel's Universities: A Pillar of Occupation and Apartheid

 Contrary to perceptions about the ”liberal” nature of the Israeli academy, the truth is that Israeli institutions of higher learning are deeply entwined in Israel's regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid against the indigenous Palestinian people.

It is no surprise that virtually every Israeli academic institution came out in support of the Israeli military during the summer onslaught on Gaza, and universities promised faculty and student reserve soldiers actively involved in the massacre in Gaza various perks and privileges as rewards for their contribution to the state's ”security.” The list of complicity is too long to recount here.

Prominent TAU Professor Avraham Katzir, for instance, observes that the relationship between academic institutions and the army in Israel is far more organic and entrenched than in the west. He argues that ”each one of us is both an Israeli citizen and working in these [military] fields.” Academia and the army, writes Katzir, are ”helping one another–something which doesn't happen [elsewhere]; I've been in the US and Europe, and there, there is a disconnect between the [academic] workshops and the army; they hate the army! [With us], I think that we succeed by virtue of the fact that we help one another so much.”

Haim Russo, CEO of Israeli drone manufacturer Elbit, went further, crediting academia with ”standing behind this whole vast [military] industry."

On the flip side, the Israeli government relies on academia (and culture) to whitewash its crimes and project itself as a bastion of liberalism and a kind of western outpost in the Middle East – culture and academia are employed, in this context, to rebrand Israel. Academia and culture are to Israel what sports was to South Africa, and this is why it is such a crucial aspect of the overall BDS movement; BDS against Israel, after all, did not start with sports, but rather, with academia and culture. The symbolic and material significance of Israeli academia and culture in maintaining Israel's regime of oppression cannot be overstated.


Palestinian students call for Barclays Bank boycott over Elbit investment

Barclays investment in Elbit, whose ”drones kill us, our children, our parents, our brothers, sisters and friends,” prompts Palestinian students to call on fellow students to boycott Barclays.



Indian BDS activists Reject Israel Participation in IIT Rendezvous 2014

 We appeal to students, teachers and citizens of conscience to join us in protesting against the involvement of the Israeli Embassy in the IIT fest. Israel's policies cannot be whitewashed with ”culture”….


Cambridge academics: we have a ’responsibility’ to ’speak out’ against Israel

 Cambridge academics have criticised Israel’s bombardment of Palestine, campaigning for ’an immediate lifting of the blockade on Gaza’ and appealing for ’a more far-reaching justice for the Palestinian people’.

  Risala in Arabic means mission, message or letter