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Tel Aviv University
TAU's RACHEL GIORA (linguistics) leads the pack of "Israeli Academics" demanding that Princeton Boycott Israel

Statement of Three Israeli Academics

Dear members of the Princeton community,

We would like to express our support for your initiative to call upon Princeton University to divest all holdings in corporations doing significant business with Israel.  These days, when our country, Israel, is committing daily war crimes in the occupied territories, pressure from the international community is the best way to signal that even if the US power system and media are willing to back these crimes, the people of the world are not.

There are many Israelis who are deeply ashamed of the acts of our government, and many more who realize, with a sense of hopelessness, that the government is leading us all into a bloody and disastrous dead end. Many are doing their best to resist with the limited options that are open to us. Let us quote from a letter that fifty Israeli Jews, including ourselves, sent to the Ann Arbor city council, in November 2001, with the same call for divestment.

"The 'Israeli democracy', which you hear so much about, has absolutely no force when it comes to these three million Palestinian people, who have now lived under generations of Israeli military occupation. The Israeli military has nuclear weapons, countless helicopters, gunships and tanks, and billions of dollars each year from the United States government.  That overpowering Israeli arsenal now faces a completely helpless Palestinian civilian population, each person sealed into his village by tanks and barbed wire...

"Rest assured that Israeli and Palestinian opponents of occupation, who are working together against this most violent and racist military occupation will be heartened to know that you have given us a hearing in your City Council.  Please urgently consider divesting Ann Arbor from companies or funds which do business in Israel". You can imagine that a decision to join a boycott call against our own country and community is not an easy one.  No one signed this letter lightly.  But it was based on a deep consideration of one's moral principles.  Today, we appeal to you to divest from Israel, with an even stronger sense of urgency. The Israeli government has launched an all out military offensive against the Palestinians in the occupied territories, openly rejecting any possibility of a diplomatic solution. This military offensive is accompanied by rhetoric that reminds us of the most awful of regimes. The idea of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians, which only two years ago was barely whispered, has been openly discussed in the Israeli media for months. We attach to this letter a rare report from Reuters on this matter. As you can see there, the Arab world is taking this rhetoric very seriously, as we all should. We agree with writer Salem Jubran, who is quoted there as saying that "[The debate in Israel about ethnic cleansing] is a symbol of the deep political and moral crisis of the official establishment in Israel. The world must be careful".

  The worldwide Anti-Apartheid campaigns of boycott and divestment played a critical role in dismantling the former criminal apartheid regime in South Africa. You, in the divestment campaign in Princeton, may feel small and isolated. Allow us to remind you that the divestment movement against South Africa's apartheid started precisely in the same way, with small campus groups applying democratic pressure on their local authorities. At this moment of time, when the consequences of inaction may be extremely grave, we feel that it is the duty of each person or group to do what they can to raise a voice before, as Salem Jubran said, “all the Middle East will be a bloodbath”.

In solidarity,

Rachel Giora, Professor of Linguistics, Tel Aviv University

Ilan Pappe, Senior Lecturer in Political Science, Haifa University

Tanya Reinhart, Professor of Linguistics, Tel Aviv University

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End the Israeli Occupation -- DIVEST NOW!

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