Stop The Wall!
There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart
, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!

Mario Savio, Leader of the Student Anti-Vietnam War Movement Sproul Hall Steps, University of California, Berkeley, December 3, 1964

Click here for a detailed defense of the boycott and here for an article that helps to place the issue of academic freedom for Israelis in a broader perspective (see sections on embargoed nations under the Patriot Act).

Click here for a briefing paper on Tel Aviv University's extensive involvement in military research and development (R&D).

'Why the Academic Boycott is Necessary' - Text of a talk by Lawrence Davidson at the November 2006 conference of MESA (Middle East Studies Association) in the US

Click here for frequently asked questions and other information on the boycott and divestment movement.

Click here for article on the distinction between institutions and individuals.

Click here to access the Borderlands debate on the boycott (Scroll down to section entitled Debate)                       

Click here to access the ANC website, with details of various aspects of the South African boycott campaign


 

Key Articles

Questioning the Israeli Boycott
Ur Shlonsky
The Nation, 6 March 2003

Time to Apply South Africa Remedy to Israel

Mazin Qumsiyeh

New Haven Register, 27 July 2004

A Whiff of Hypocrisy

Steven Rose

The Guardian, 27 May 2004

Why the World Should Boycott Israel Academic Institutions
Tanya Reinhart
Le Monde, January 29, 2003


The Academic Boycott of Israel
Shahid Alam
Counterpunch, 31 July 2002


The Pseudo Boycott of
Israeli Universities

Monique Chemillier-Gendreau
Le Monde, February 14, 2003

Position Paper on the Cultural and Academic Boycott Adopted by the ANC May 1989

Since 1967 there has been a steady increase in the level of concern felt by growing numbers of people worldwide about the oppressive policies exercised by the Israeli government toward the Palestinian people. Unfortunately, this growing popular concern has not been translated into meaningful action on the part of the world’s governments and institutions. The advent of the Sharon government in 2000 represented a turning point, and with him and his aides proceeding to dismantle what is left of Palestinian society by ever more ruthless and murderous means, it has become clear that concrete measures have to be taken to halt the current programme of state terrorism, ethnic cleansing and cultural genocide.

Our governments and official institutions, including the European Union and the United Nations, are clearly unable or unwilling to intervene to stop the bloodshed and massive dislocation. It is therefore up to individuals and peace activists to take a stand.

The decision to boycott Israeli academic institutions is part of a broader boycott and divestment effort, which includes economic, cultural, and sport agendas. The academic boycott specifically is based on several premises. One is that, to date, "the vast majority of Israeli academics have been carrying on their business as usual for the past 35 years oblivious to what is happening to their Palestinian counterparts, not to mention to the Palestinian nation as a whole", just as Israeli society on the whole is content to sanction the apartheid policies of its government. A second, and related premise, is that we recognize the important, though often unnoted, fact that educational institutions and their teachers are principal tools in shaping the perceptions of whole generations as to their country’s relations with their neighbours and the world. If, in the midst of oppression, these institutions do not function to analyze and explain the world in a way that promotes justice and reasonable compromise, but rather acquiesce in aggressive colonialist practices, then others may legitimately boycott them.

Israeli academics have an important part to play not just in the process of redefining the conflict in rational and critical terms, but also by putting strong pressure on their government to rapidly end its inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people. We urge them to play their part not only because it is the moral and rational thing to do, but also because their society’s own insecurity stems from Israeli colonial oppression of the Palestinians. They should understand that, in the current context of official apartheid and gross violations of human rights, occasional expressions of sympathy on the part of a few Israeli academics and the odd parcel of food or books sent to a Palestinian family or university are simply not good enough. Anything short of forthright public condemnation of the crimes committed by one’s government and society against other human beings almost literally on one’s doorstep is nothing short of complicity.

"The boycott is a blunt weapon, it does not discriminate, and its efficacy depends on factors well beyond its remit. Many people, while sympathising with the boycott as a strategy, are concerned that it will alienate potential supporters of Palestinian self-determination. They also have tactical quarrels with the organisers. But it’s a tactic, not a strategy, and one of its by-products is an increased awareness of Israeli behaviour. The onus is not on its proponents to defend it but on its opponents to offer an alternative."

Diana Neslen, Jewish Socialist 47, Winter 2002/2003

Israeli society cannot continue to elect and support repressive governments that are openly motivated by a racist ideology and expect the rest of the world to carry on doing ‘business-as-usual’ with its citizens and institutions. The boycott is an expression of this fact. As importantly, it is a tactic also intended to give encouragement to Palestinian academics (largely ignored in the West) who continue to feel beleaguered and abandoned. It reassures them that many of us are not prepared to interact in any normal fashion with a society that endorses their continued persecution by its silence and complicity.

Above all, this campaign is meant to call public attention to the fact that the Israeli colonial project is unacceptable, non-negotiable, and immoral.


                  - Mona Baker and Lawrence Davidson



Some relevant quotes from Martin Luther King (the analogy with the current situation is obvious). The full text can be found at: http://almaz.com/nobel/peace/MLK-jail.html

 

" You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite right in calling, for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood."

 

"The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue."

 

"I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."