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Boycott Calls Against Israel
The BDS Movement in the Wake of the Gaza Operation

Editorial Note

Even before the fighting in Gaza dies down, a powerful backlash against Israel has begun.  IAM will provide periodical updates on the new wave of anti-Israel activities on campuses.

The National Executive Council of Britain’s National Union of Student representing some 7 million students passed a new resolution. It condemns Israel’s “criminal assault on Gaza” and pledges to increase pressure on companies doing business with Israel. The resolution promises to “provide information and resources to support student unions and student organizations campaigning for boycott and divestment of companies identified as supporting Israel materially, economically, militarily, and/or as helping maintain the illegal Israeli settlements.”

A group of more than one hundred Middle East academics and libertarians called for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.  The group, said to represent “senior and tenured scholars and librarians, all of whom have deep knowledge of the Middle East,” have pledged “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”.  Among the signatories are leading Middle East experts from Arab origin and a number of former Israelis.


Middle East scholars, librarians call for boycott of Israeli academic institutions

In an unprecedented expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people, and especially at this time with the Palestinians in Gaza, a group of over 100 prominent scholars and librarians of the Middle East have called for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions (see full list below).

As reasons for their action, scholars cited the siege of Gaza and “the occupation and dispossession in East Jerusalem, the Naqab (Negev), and the West Bank; the construction of walls and fences around the Palestinian population, the curtailment of Palestinian freedom of movement and education, and the house demolitions”. They added that these violations have “long histories and no apparent end in sight”.

The group of senior and tenured scholars and librarians, all of whom have deep knowledge of the Middle East, have pledged “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”.

This action comes on the heels of recent academic boycott resolutions by a number of academic associations, including the American Studies Association (ASA) and, most recently, the Critical Ethnic Studies Association (CESA), and African Literature Association (ALA).

Scholars have taken their lead from the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE), which is one of many Palestinian civil society organizations that have called for the comprehensive implementation of boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) of Israel. They call on the boycott of complicit Israeli academic institutions “until such time as these institutions end their complicity in violating Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law, and respect the full rights of Palestinians by calling on Israel to:

1. End its siege of Gaza, its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967, and dismantle the settlements and the walls;

2. Recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and the stateless Negev Bedouins to full equality; and

3. Respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.


Saleh Abdel Jawad, Associate Professor of Political Science, Birzeit University

Nahla Abdo , Professor, Anthropology and Sociology Department, Carleton University

Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies/Race and Resistance Studies, San Francisco State University

Osama Abi-Mershed, Associate Professor, Department of History, Director, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University

Nadia Abu El-Haj, Professor of Anthropology, Barnard College – Columbia University

Lila Abu-Lughod, Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science, Columbia University

Gilbert Achcar, Professor of Development Studies and International Relations, SOAS, University of London

Fida Adely, Associate Professor, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

Nadje Al-Ali, Professor of Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London

Fadwa Allabadi, Associate Professor, Insan Center for Gender Studies, Al-Quds University

Lori Allen, Lecturer, Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge

Gil Anidjar, Professor, Departments of Religion and Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS), Columbia University

Sinan Antoon, Associate Professor, New York University

Talal Asad, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, CUNY

Kamran Asdar Ali, Associate Professor, Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin

Barbara Aswad, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Wayne State University, and Past President of the Middle East Studies Association of North America

Cemil Aydin, Associate Professor of History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Kathryn Babayan, Associate Professor, Director of the Center of Armenian Studies, University of Michigan

Mohammed Bamyeh, Professor of Sociology, University of Pittsburgh

Asef Bayat, Catherine and Bruce Bastian Professor of Global and Transnational Studies and Professor of Sociology and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Joel Beinin, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History and Professor of Middle East History, Stanford University

George Bisharat, Professor, UC Hastings College of the Law

Marilyn Booth, Iraq Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Edinburgh

Glenn Bowman, Reader in Social Anthropology, Director of Research, School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, Canterbury

Haim Bresheeth, Senior Teaching Fellow, Centre for Media Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies

Michaelle Browers, Associate Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Wake Forest University

Louise Cainkar, Associate Professor of Sociology, Marquette University

John Collins, Professor of Global Studies, St. Lawrence University

Miriam Cooke, Braxton Craven Professor of Arab Cultures, Duke University

Hamid Dabashi, Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

Omar Dahi, Associate Professor of Economics, Hampshire College

Linda T. Darling, Professor of History, University of Arizona

Rochelle Davis, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Georgetown University

Lara Deeb, Professor of Anthropology, Scripps College

Omnia El Shakry, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of California, Davis

Samera Esmeir, Associate Professor, Department of Rhetoric, University of California-Berkeley

John L. Esposito, University Professor & Founding Director, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University

Khaled Fahmy, Professor of History, American University in Cairo

Richard Falk, Milbank Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University

James C. Faris, Professor Emeritus, Anthropology; Director Emeritus, University of Connecticut Program in Middle East Languages and Area Studies

Mona Fawaz, Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, American University of Beirut

Ilana Feldman, Associate Professor, Anthropology, History and International Affairs, George Washington University

Nancy Gallagher, Research Professor, Department of History, University of California, Santa Barbara

Honaida Ghanim, General Director, The Palestinian Forum for Israeli Studies (MADAR)

Farha Ghannam, Associate Professor, Anthropology, Swarthmore College

Amal Ghazal, Associate Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History, Dalhousie University

Irene L. Gendzier, Professor Emeritus, Political Science, Boston University

George Giacaman, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Cultural Studies, Birzeit University

Yvonne Haddad, Professor of History of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations

Sherine Hafez, Associate Professor, Women’s Studies and Middle East & Islamic Studies, University of California, Riverside

Elaine Hagopian, Prof. Emerita of Sociology, Simmons College

Samira Haj, Professor of History, CUNY-GC/CSI

Sondra Hale, Research Professor/Professor Emerita, Departments of Anthropology and Gender Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

Wael B. Hallaq, Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University

Rema Hammami, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Birzeit University

Juliane Hammer, Associate Professor, Religious Studies Department, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Sari Hanafi, Professor of Sociology, American University of Beirut

Jens Hanssen, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean History, Dpts. of History and Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto

Mona Harb, Associate Professor, Urban Studies and Politics, American University of Beirut

Barbara Harlow, Louann and Larry Temple Centennial Professor of English Literature, University of Texas at Austin

Frances S. Hasso, Associate Professor in Women’s Studies and Sociology and director, International Comparative Studies Program, Duke University

Charles Hirschkind, Associate Professor, Anthropology, UC Berkeley

Islah Jad, Associate Professor, Women’s Studies Institute, Bir Zeit University

Manal A. Jamal, Associate Professor of Political Science, James Madison University

Suad Joseph, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Women’s Studies, University of California – Davis

Rhoda Kanaaneh, Adjunct Associate Professor, Middle East Instiute, Columbia University

Vangelis Kechriotis, Associate Professor of History, Boğazici University

Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies and Professor of History, Columbia University

Tarif Khalidi, 

Sheykh Zayed, Chair of Arabic and Islamic Studies, American University of Beirut

Laleh Khalili, Professor of Middle East Politics, SOAS, University of London

Ronit Lentin, Associate Professor, Sociology, Trinity College Dublin

Mark LeVine, Professor of Modern Middle Eastern Hitory, UC Irvine

Yosefa Loshitzky, Professorial Research Associate, School of Oriental and African Studies

Nur Masalha, Professor of Religion and Politics, St Mary’s University College, University of London

Brinkley Messick, Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University

Laurence Michalak, Emeritus Vice Chair, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of California/Berkeley

Timothy Mitchell, Professor, Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, Columbia University

Amira Mittermaier, Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies and Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto

Karma Nabulsi, University Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, Fellow in Politics, St Edmund Hall

Eiji Nagasawa, Professor, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, The University of Tokyo

Isis Nusair, Associate Professor of International Studies and Women’s Studies, Denison University

Roger Owen, A.J. Meyer Em. Professor of Middle East History, Harvard University

Ilan Pappe, Professor of History, Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies, University of Exeter

Laila Parsons, Associate Professor, Department of History and Classical Studies, Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University

Gabriel Piterberg, Professor of Middle East History, UCLA

Shira Robinson, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History, George Washington University

Adam Sabra, Professor of History and King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud Chair in Islamic Studies,

University of California

George Saliba, Professor of Arabic and Islamic Science Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University

Ihab Saloul, Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies, University of Amsterdam

Nisreen Salti, Associate professor of Economics, American University of Beirut

Aseel Sawalha, Associate Professor, Anthropology, Fordham University

Rosemary Sayigh, Visiting Professor at the Center for Arab and Middle East Studies, American University of Beirut

Kirsten Scheid, Associate Professor of Anthropology, American University of Beirut

Paul Sedra, Associate Professor of Middle East History, Simon Fraser University

May Seikaly, Associate Professor of Modern Middle East History, Wayne State University

Elyse Semerdjian, Associate Professor of History, Whitman College

Anton Shammas, Professor of Middle Eastern Studies and Comparative Literature, University of Michigan

Stephen Sheehi, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Chair of Middle East Studies, College of William and Mary

Todd Shepard, Associate Professor, History, John Hopkins University

Magid Shihade, Birzeit University

Lisa Taraki, Associate Professor of Sociology, Birzeit University

Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, Professor of History, Historical Studies & Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto

Judith E. Tucker, Professor of History, Georgetown University

Lisa Wedeen, Mary R. Morton Professor of Political Science and the College, The University of Chicago

Jessica Winegar, Associate Professor, Anthropology, Northwestern University

Institutional Affiliations are for identification purposes only



Britain’s National Union of Students condemns Israel, calls for boycott

The governing body of the union representing seven million students in the UK has voted to tighten the boycott noose around the criminal state of Israel.

Members of the NUS National Executive Council shortly after they voted to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israeli oppression of the Palestinians

Members of the NUS National Executive Council shortly after they voted to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israeli oppression of the Palestinians

On 4 August the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nation Union of Students(NUS) passed a motion in solidarity with Palestine, and for an arms embargo against Israel, the Electronic Intifadareported.

The NEC motion condemned Israel’s criminal assault on and blockade of the Gaza Strip.

It also called on union members to boycott “corporations complicit in financing and aiding Israel’s military, including G4S andHewlett Packard.”

The NUS already has a policy supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS), but the new motion resolves to “provide information and resources to support student unions and student organizations campaigning for boycott and divestment of companies identified as supporting Israel materially, economically, militarily, and/or as helping maintain the illegal Israeli settlements.”

Here is a copy of the full resolution:

Motion and amendment: condemn the collective punishment and killing in Gaza

To be discussed and voted on at the NUS NEC on Monday 4 August 2014.

NEC Believes:

1.As of writing around 170 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli bombings of the Gaza strip as part of its Operation “Protective Edge,” the vast majority are civilians, and Israel has warned of more attacks to come.

2.Many of the Palestinians deaths have come from Israel’s deliberate bombing of their homes, which has been condemned as illegal by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. On Saturday 13 of July 21 people were killed when Israel bombed the home of a Palestinian police chief. Others targeted have included special needs care homes, parks and charities.

3.These latest attacks are in the context of the populations of the Gaza Strip being subject to a blockade described by the Director of UNRWA Operations as a “Medieval siege” and as a “prison camp” by Prime Minister David Cameron.

4.Israel’s blockade has been described as “collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law” by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

5.Due to long-standing effects of the blockade and the recent assault, medical and electricity supplies have run critically low in Gaza, further worsening the humanitarian crisis.

6.Israel has vowed to ignore international pressure and to continue escalating, while the Palestinian government has called on the international community to take “serious measures” to end Israel’s violations.

7.A series of mass demonstrations has taken place across the UK against Israeli attacks, including over 10,000 in London.

NEC Resolves:

1.To condemn Israel’s attacks on Gaza and to support calls for an immediate ceasefire.

2.To condemn the blockade of Gaza and support campaigns for it to be lifted in accordance with international law.

3.To continue to support existing NUS policy on companies like Veolia or Eden Springs which have been identified as being complicit in human rights abuses in Israel/Palestine.

Add amendment:

1.Within two weeks of launching Operation “Protective Edge,” the Israeli army has killed over 630 Palestinians, injured over 3800 and displaced over 118,000 with over 80 percent of deaths being civilians.

2.The Israeli army stands accused of using illegal weapons including white phosphorus bombs and DIME (Dense Inert Metal Explosive) weapons on one of the most densely-populated regions of the world, and with targets consisting mainly of civilians.

3.This disregard for human rights and international law stands consistent with Israel’s conduct during previous assaults on Gaza, including 2008/09’s “Cast Lead” and 2012’s “Pillar of Defense.”

4.That extensive funding and military aid to Israel from Western countries helps perpetuate Israel’s abuses relieves the financial pressure of warfare; the UK government also facilitates heavy arms trading and co-operation with Israel, marking their complicity in this and previous massacres.

5.That with leading Israeli politicians calling for effective genocide, ethnic cleansing of, and war crimes against Palestinians, appealing to their political establishment on a purely moral basis would be naïve.

6.That with the British government unwilling to even condemn Israel for this assault, it is now incumbent upon the public and civil institutions to exert economic and political pressure to convince Israel to abide by international law.

7.That since the launch of the assault other countries have taken substantive action, such as Chile having suspended trade talks with Israel.

8.There is precedent for economic leverage against Israeli crimes, with a further 12 EU countries recently following the UK’s earlier move in issuing explicit warnings to investors against doing business with Israeli settlements due to their contravention of international law.

9.NUS has previously affirmed active opposition to companies complicit in human rights abuses in Israel/Palestine as negatively impacting on chances for a sustainable and just settlement.

10.NUS Black Students’ Campaign, NUS London and NUS Scotland have voted to support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against companies and products supporting Israeli aggression and occupation.

Add Resolves:

1.To call on the British government to condemn Israel’s current assault on Gaza, cease aid and funding to Israel, impose an arms embargo against Israel, and to demand a ceasefire brokered between legitimate Israeli and Palestinian representatives.

2.To issue a call to our membership to boycott companies and corporations complicit in financing and aiding Israel’s military, including G4S and Hewlett Packard.

3.To provide information and resources to support student unions and student organizations campaigning for boycott and divestment of companies identified as supporting Israel materially, economically, militarily, and/or as helping maintain the illegal Israeli settlements.

4.To conduct an internal audit of NUS services, products and departments to ensure they do not, as far as is practical, employ or work with companies identified as facilitating Israel’s military capacity, human rights abuses or illegal settlement activity, and actively work to cut ties with those that do.

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