The annual IAW events generates hundreds of articles, posts and blogs. As the sample below indicates, so far nothing dramatic has occurred this year.
However, there are some interesting trends to report. After years of pro-Palestinian activism in South Africa, the ruling party officially embraced the IAW. This is undoubtedly a success for Ran Greenstein, a former Israeli and a professor at Witts University in Johannesburg, who has led the BDS campaign.
Greenstein is not the only former Israeli faculty involved with BDS - a fact reported by IAM before. Ilan Pappe, formerly at Haifa University, has been a major figure in the BDS movement.
Even Israeli based scholars found "creative" ways to participate. For example, Anat Matar, a senior lecturer at TAU has conveniently scheduled a legitimate talk on modern philosophy during the IAW in England. She is also giving an unofficial talk on the Israel-Palestinian conflict "from an Israeli perspective," organized by a pro Palestinian group.
It is not difficult to imagine that Matar, one of the most radical faculty, will contribute to the perception of Israel as an apartheid state. As the chairperson of the Israeli Committee for the Palestinian Prisoners, Matar has campaigned tirelessly to change the statue of Palestinian security prisoners - in her opinion they should be classified as civilian protesters. In a book co-edited with Abeer Baker, Matar has accused the Israeli authorities of torture and other acts of wanton cruelty toward the Palestinian detainees.
Matar's artful scheduling is a prime example of the misuse of academic privileges by radical faculty as frequently reported by IAM.
News and events from within the School of Philosophy
05/03/14: Anat Matar at Wittgenstein Workshop
On March 5, 5-7pm in Arts 01.06, Anat Matar (University of Tel Aviv) will give a talk titled Language as Music, Language as Thought: Wittgenstein and the Linguistic Turn’.
Posted on | March 2, 2014 |
Thursday March 6th, 1pm to 2pm, ARTS 01:01, University of East Anglia
The School of Political, Social and International Studies is hosting an informal discussion with Dr. Anat Matar, a senior lecturer in philosophy at Tel Aviv University. Dr Matar works on the philosophy of the 20th century, with a special research interest in early analytic philosophy and post-structuralist philosophy. The focus of this discussion will be to give some insight into the Palestine/Israel conflict, from the perspective of an Israeli academic who has opposed Israeli policy for many years.
Anat has been active in Israeli human rights and civil society, e.g. in the refusal movement. She is Chair of the Israeli Action Committee for the Palestinian Prisoners. She co-edited a collection of essays written by prisoners, ex-prisoners, political activists and academics from across the political spectrum in a book published by Pluto Press in 2011: Threat: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel.
South African ruling party endorses Israeli Apartheid Week
ANC says it’s ‘unapologetic’ in view that ‘Palestinians are the victims and the oppressed in the conflict’
South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress, has officially endorsed “Israeli Apartheid Week,” a series of anti-Israel events taking place this month across the globe.
“The ANC is unequivocal in its support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination, and unapologetic in its view that the Palestinians are the victims and the oppressed in the conflict with Israel,” read a statement released Sunday by the party’s head of international relations, K. Obed Bapela.
“The ANC is proud to join the over 75 South African organizations, trade unions, civil society groups, schools, universities, religious communities, NGOs and other formations in participating in this year’s 10th international Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW),” the statement said.
The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said the ANC’s position on Apartheid Week was “unworthy of a response or otherwise any comment.”
According to a press release, the ANC’s stance on Israeli Apartheid Week “is in line with our long standing international positions.” The government in Pretoria, and ANC officials in general, have long been critical of Israeli policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians. In 2012 the ANC, which controls two thirds of the National Assembly, endorsed the anti-Israel Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement.
Last November, South African International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said she was losing sleep over the Palestinians’ plight and added that Pretoria would downgrade relations with Israel. Speaking to a Congress of South African Trade Unions international relations committee, she said it was Pretoria’s policy that “ministers of South Africa do not visit Israel currently.”
“We have agreed to slow down and curtail senior leadership contact with that regime until things begin to look better,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.
Israeli Apartheid Week, held between February 24 and March 2 in more than 200 cities from Porto Allegre, Brazil, to Osaka, Japan, is an annual major advocacy event of the BDS movement. It offers seminars on what is termed the Israeli occupation of Palestine and Israel’s “racist” practices toward the Palestinian people. It also holds public demonstrations.
According to IAW organizers, there has been “a sharp increase of literature and analysis that has sought to document and challenge Israeli apartheid, including reports issued by major international bodies and human rights organizations and findings published by political leaders, thinkers, academics, and activists.”
Officials in Israel’s Foreign Ministry said, though, that the week-long event has little impact and that the strength of the organizations running it has significantly decreased over the years.
Aron Dónzis contributed to this report
NYU students protest surreptitious Israel boycott conference on campus
By MAYA SHWAYDER
26 students and student leaders from the school's Democrat and Republican groups send protest letter to school president.
NEW YORK – The American Studies Association hosted a large pro-Boycott, Divest, Sanction at New York Universityfrom Friday night to Saturday evening, sparking a backlash from NYU students, who wrote a letter of protest to the school’s administration.
The letter, co-signed by 26 NYU students and student leaders from both the college Democrat and Republican groups, was hand delivered to NYU President John Sexton and to NYU faculty member and incoming ASA President Lisa Duggan.
The ASA-BDS event, which coincided with Israeli Apartheid Week in New York and was titled “Circuits of Influence: US,Israel and Palestine,” was not widely publicized and was closed to the press.
When a reporter from The Jerusalem Post tried to register as a civilian earlier in the week, she was told the conference was completely full. Flyers for the event cautioned: “Please do not post or circulate the flyer.
We are trying to avoid press, protesters and public attention.”
“We are immensely disappointed with both the nature of this event and how it has been met with complete silence from the NYU administration,” the letter said, citing the fact that invitations to the event were extremely selective and the event itself features only pro-BDS, anti-Israeli speakers.
The students condemned the fact that the event coincided – “almost to the minute” – with Shabbat, a move that the letter called “seemingly deliberate... to prevent the presentation of other views in this complex issue.”
“Our concern is that New York University, a global leader in education, is permitting the occurrence of an event that is antithetical to the principles that the global academic community stands for,” the letter said, “if anything, the university condones the event with the administration’s disconcerting silence... While the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is indeed complex and deserves intense debate, hosting events that unequivocally reject and refuse to acknowledge dissenting opinions is an appalling gesture of intolerance.”
Citing the rejection of the ASA boycott by the US congress, the New York State Senate and over 200 universities and university presidents, the letter said: “Holding this event will indubitably diminish NYU’s stature as a global leader. The event will only lead to more conflict, not resolution.
“We respectfully ask that the administration begin to take a serious look at the upcoming event this weekend and the policies and practices of the ASA,” it said, “while the ASA is simply one organization, their actions are undermining not only the prospects for NYU to be a hub of constructive dialogue on campus, but also undermining our faith in NYU’s claims to be a global leader and a force for academic integrity.”
NYU President John Sexton responded to the letter with a letter of his own, reiterating that the NYU administration stood firmly against academic boycotts and opposed the current ASA boycott. But, he wrote, "the invocation of academic freedom is not a one-way street. ...the same set of principles that gives rise to my opposition to the boycott also causes me to stand up for the rights of our faculty to pursue their scholarship. This is true even in those instances when the ideas being examined are unpopular, or controversial, or at odds with the University's own position on a matter."...And so, NYU shall go forward in accordance with the principles of academic freedom, both rejecting the boycott of Israeli academics and institutions of higher learning, and supporting the right of our faculty to pursue their scholarship and academic activity."
Lisa Duggan did not respond
What is Israeli Apartheid Week?
- By Jack Moore , Published: February 27, 2014 12:15 PM
The 10th annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is being celebrated in 87 cities across the world. But what is it? IBTimes UK details the nuts and bolts of the occasion below.
UK and US: 24 February - 2 March
Europe: 1 March - 8 March
Canada: 3 March - 11 March
Palestine: 8 March – 15 March
South Africa: 10 March - 16 March
Brazil: 24 March - 28 March
Israeli Apartheid Week began in Toronto, Canada in 2005.
IAW now takes place on prestigious university campuses such as Oxford, Cambridge and LSE in the UK and Harvard in the United States, as well as in 80 cities around the world.
It is a series of university lectures, events and protests, held in various cities across the world, about the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Occupied Territories.
According to the IAW organisation: "The aim of IAW is to educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system and to build Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns as part of a growing global BDS movement."
Israeli speakers such as professors Ilan Pappe and Avi Shlaim.
Respected authors Noam Chomsky and Ben White.
Palestinian student societies, such as Harvard University's Palestine Solidarity Committee and LSE's Palestine Society who caused controversy by building a mock "Israeli Apartheid Wall" in 2012.
What does IAW mean?
Author, freelance journalist and activist Ben White tweeted IBTimes UK what Israeli Apartheid Week meant to him in 140 characters.
The organisers of the week have said that the events held during IAW have "played an important role in raising awareness and disseminating information about Zionism, the Palestinian liberation struggle and its similarities with the indigenous sovereignty struggle in North America and the South African anti-Apartheid movement."
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has gained significant traction in recent months, with international companies boycotting construction projects in Israel and foreign banks rejecting money from Israeli banks. The IAW serves as an extension of the BDS movement.
The Israeli Defence?
British Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) believe that the week represents an "apartheid smear" and a lie that "damages the peace process".
A new publication released by BICOM details how Israel is not an apartheid state but offers "every citizen equal rights under the law".
It claims that Israeli Apartheid Week is an "anti-Semitic anti-Zionist campaign" and that Israel is "not a theocracy (rule by clerics) or a state exclusively for Jews, but a democracy".
In 2012, the Public Diplomacy Ministry of Israel sent the "Faces of Israel" mission to countries which host IAW; it comprised of 100 Israelis including "settlers, Arabs, artists, experts in national security, homosexuals, and immigrants from Ethiopia" in order to defend Israel against the week.
In 2008 Alan Baker, Israel's ambassador to Canada, criticised Israeli Apartheid Week when he called it "crude propagandism, pure hypocrisy and cynical manipulation of the student body."
In 2013, the University of Manitoba Students' Union (UMSU) in Winnipeg, Canada, became the first student government to ban Students Against Israeli Apartheid group from using student union spaces due to evidence that the group violated student union policies by "undermining the dignity and self-esteem of students on campus".
List of events: http://apartheidweek.org/events/
BICOM 'Apartheid Smear' Pamphlet