More global universities are boycotting institutions in Israel than ever before – either through academics’ choice or student pressure. So why are universities boycotting Israel? And is it justified?
Universities around the world are boycotting Israel’s institutions to show they do not side with Israel’s recent actions in the Israel-Palestine conflict, namely the killing of Palestinian protesters in Gaza.
More than 37 universities in Australia, including academics at the University of Sydney, have pledged to cease all official contact with Israeli universities until Israel agrees to comply with the principle of human rights and recognise Palestinians’ right to return to their homes they were expelled from during the 1948 war, reports Arab News.
Academics have said they will not cease all contact with fellow researchers, as the boycott is aimed at affecting institutions rather than individual relationships, according to The Australian.
More than 50 student groups at New York University (NYU) are putting on similar pressure for the institution to boycott universities in Israel as part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian human rights, reported Mondoweiss.
Students are also calling on NYU to boycott manufactured goods made in Israel or by Israel in Occupied Territories, boycott pro-Israel clubs, divest from companies and organizations who are complicit in Israel’s occupation and continue to recognize indigenous land and sovereignty.
“The unceasing military occupation and colonisation of Palestine by the Israeli state is a manifestation of both settler colonialism and structural racism, supported politically, financially, and militarily by the US,” says the BDS petition.
Israeli academic institutions are accused in the document of being complicit in the ‘occupation and colonization of Palestine’ and also providing military weapons and training while discriminating against Palestinian students and repressing voices that support Palestine.
Realize Israel and TorchPAC, two NYU student groups named as ‘pro-Israel’ clubs, will hold an Israel Peace Week 2018 to show the benefits of fostering strong US-Israel relationships, according to Campus Reform.
“Over these past few weeks, our community has repeatedly been singled out, targeted, and vilified on campus,” the groups wrote. “But this week we will come together to demonstrate the size, strength, and pride of our community.”
“We support peace, not violence. We support open dialogue, not boycotts. We support unity and inclusion, not division and exclusion.”
A representative from TorchPAC told Campus Reform the academic boycott deprives students of a well-rounded education and limits freedom of opinion.