SOAS Anti-Semitism Probe

07.01.21

Editorial Note

For many years now, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) University of London has tolerated radical elements within, allowing them to take over.

However, last month, after the court has ordered to reimburse tuition fees to a Jewish student who faced an antisemitic atmosphere, and with the adoption of the Working Definition of Antisemitism by the UK government, SOAS is now willing to deal with its problem. 

SOAS published a statement on 29 December 2020, declaring it “is extremely concerned about any allegations of anti-Semitism at our School. Diversity is key to the SOAS mission and we want all our students to feel welcome and supported in their studies. We have a robust student complaints and appeals process, but we cannot comment on any individual student case or the outcomes of any appeal. However, where we have established an independent panel as part of a complaints process, we would of course consider the findings of such a panel thoroughly and take appropriate action.”

SOAS found itself in the spotlight because it adopted the hegemonic neo-Marxist, critical scholarship in its classrooms.  This type of discourse includes many anti-West, anti-Jewish, and anti-Israel elements as hatred sprouts at SOAS for more than two decades. 

For example, SOAS recently enabled Palestinians to call for Israel’s elimination at the SOAS Center for Palestine Studies, in a conference titled “The Palestinian Right of Return: The 72nd Anniversary of UNGA Resolution 194”. For those who are not familiar, the “Right of Return” calls for millions of Palestinians to move to Israel. 

The neo-Marxist, critical scholarship is also embraced by some SOAS staff who are anti-Israel Jewish Israelis. In August 2020, IAM reported that the “SOAS Academic Board Manipulated by Pro-Palestinian Activists” discussing how the Hebrew University program teaching Hebrew to students from SOAS was terminated. Behind this move was Dr. Yair Wallach, the chair of the Jewish Studies at SOAS, and Dr. Tamar Drukker, a Hebrew lector who both succumbed to Palestinian pressure. Wallach tried to conceal his role in the termination, but the Academic Board meetings’ protocols revealed he provided the Board with false information. 

On Saturday, 7 March 2020, several Palestinian activist groups have hosted a workshop at SOAS.  The invitation was worded as a formal SOAS event, adding that “SOAS is a remarkable institution, uniquely combining language, disciplinary expertise and regional focus. We are distinctively positioned to analyze some of the most challenging issues facing the world today.” And it was “a student only event.” The invitation also stated that the workshop was designed to provide university-level students with knowledge on how to deal with the challenges facing student advocacy for Palestine and offer suggestions to overcome them. The workshop comes at one of the “most challenging times for advocacy on Palestine with repeated assaults on the BDS movement, the conflation of anti-semitism with criticism of Israeli governmental policy, the designation of NGOs working for Palestine on the government’s anti-extremism guide, and a number of attempted character assassinations against those prominent in student politics for Palestine.” Session one offered effective advocacy strategies for pro-Palestine activists.  Session two discussed BDS and looked at “why the BDS movement is an important and effective strategy for Palestinian rights campaigns. It also concentrates on different BDS strategies and tactics that can work effectively on campus.” Session Three was about anti-Semitism and looked “at the ‘new anti-semitism’ and how it has affected Palestine advocacy at large.”

Clearly, this conference was not much about Palestinian advocacy but rather about anti-Israel advocacy.

In 2015, “University of London SOAS favors academic boycott of Israel,” announcing that students and staff at SOAS voted for an academic boycott of Israel during a week-long referendum. 

As mentioned before, SOAS often embraces Israeli Jews who defame Israel. For example, a 2013 Ph.D. thesis, submitted by Elian Weizman (who obtained a position as a faculty member at SOAS) in Politics and International Studies, was titled “Hegemony, Law, Resistance: Struggles Against Zionism in the State of Israel.” She wrote: “In their struggles against Zionism, Israeli citizens, both Palestinians and Jews, paradoxically seek to challenge through the law the very laws that institutionalize the hegemony of the state’s ideology.” Weizman focused on “resisting Zionism,” and found people who utilized the law in their struggle to “overturn Zionism.” She examined “the different strategies of resistance to Zionism,” by like-minded Israelis.

As early as 2004, SOAS has held an international conference, “Resisting Israeli Apartheid: Strategies and Principles,” by the Boycott Israeli Goods Campaign, orchestrated by Betty Hunter, the general secretary of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK. In her talk, she discussed how “our campaign to isolate Israeli apartheid. Boycott and sanctions campaigning must be a priority for all our solidarity work.” Furthermore, “The Palestinian narrative is becoming known despite all the efforts of the pro Zionist lobby.” She argued that “we confidently assert that campaigning against Israeli policies does not equate with anti-semitism.” She also stated that “This conference is another significant step in making clear to Israel and its banker, the US, that Israel cannot and will not be allowed to continue its illegal occupation. The writing is on the wall, the Apartheid Wall, and the illegal occupation will fall. The boycott and sanctions campaign is an essential element in the movement to achieve this as quickly as possible.”

SOAS has been a hotbed for anti-Israel, anti-Jewish, and anti-West activism. The time has come for SOAS to acknowledge its long record. Hopefully, the new committee would lead the way.

https://www.soas.ac.uk/news/newsitem151095.html
SOAS statement  

29 December 2020

SOAS is extremely concerned about any allegations of anti-Semitism at our School. Diversity is key to the SOAS mission and we want all our students to feel welcome and supported in their studies. We have a robust student complaints and appeals process, but we cannot comment on any individual student case or the outcomes of any appeal. However, where we have established an independent panel as part of a complaints process, we would of course consider the findings of such a panel thoroughly and take appropriate action.

Jewish studies at SOAS

SOAS is the world’s leading institution for the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and its offering in Jewish studies is unique. Our Centre for Jewish Studies brings together a critical mass of scholars and we are also home to the world-renowned Jewish Music Institute.

We offer a wealth of opportunity to learn about Jewish culture and tradition, with more than a dozen modules running next year alone across the institution. We teach Hebrew at undergraduate and Master’s level, and from this year, students will be able to apply for the new pathway in Hebrew in our flagship BA Languages and Cultures, for which we have just recruited a new Lector in Hebrew.

We will be continuing to develop our offering in interdisciplinary Jewish Studies, with new opportunities opening up for collaboration across the institution as we transform our curricula and strengthen our international engagement.
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https://www.thejc.com/news/uk/panel-recommends-probe-into-toxic-antisemitic-environment-at-soas-1.510176

Panel recommends probe into claim of ‘toxic, antisemitic environment’ at Soas

Move comes as university pays out £15k to ex-student who says he was forced to withdraw from degree over atmosphere of Jew-hate
Mathilde Frot December 29, 2020 18:46

The School of Oriental and African Studies has agreed to pay £15,000 to a former student who withdrew from a course after alleging a “toxic, antisemitic environment on campus”. 

Soas reached a settlement with Noah Lewis after the former postgraduate student from Canada claimed a tuition fee refund, according to two charities which offered him legal assistance. 

Mr Lewis said he withdrew from his 2018/2019 master’s degree at the university, allegedly as a result of antisemitism on campus, which contributed to his increased anxiety, according to the UKLFI Charitable Trust and The Lawfare Project.

Mr Lewis appealed against the findings of an earlier investigation into his case, which recommended he be paid £500.

But a fresh panel has now recommended the establishment of a new probe because the first investigation explored specific instances but not Mr Lewis’ more general claims of a “toxic, antisemitic environment” at Soas.

Among various instances described by Mr Lewis were reports of racist daubings on campus and his claim that valid criticisms of Israel “often morph into attacks on the State of Israel and then further progress into blatant attacks on Jews in general.”

Jonathan Turner, executive director of UKLFI Charitable Trust, said: “The panel grasped the nettle and has set a benchmark of best practice which should be followed in other cases where there is prima facie evidence of an antisemitic environment. 

“We congratulate Noah Lewis on pursuing the complaint and hope that other students who experience antisemitism at universities will now be encouraged to object. Organisations such as ours are here to help.”

Brooke Goldstein, executive director of The Lawfare Project, said: “What happened to Noah Lewis should never be considered acceptable at a place of higher learning. 

“The Lawfare Project is glad to see that, with this settlement and continued investigation, Soas is working to right this wrong and ensure that its Jewish students and faculty members can feel safe and welcome on campus.”

A spokesperson for Soas said it was “extremely concerned about any allegations of antisemitism at our School. Diversity is key to the Soas mission and we want all our students to feel welcome and supported in their studies. 

“We have a robust student complaints and appeals process, but we cannot comment on any individual student case or the outcomes of any appeal. However, where we have established an independent panel as part of a complaints process, we would of course consider the findings of such a panel thoroughly and take appropriate action.”

The university features a Centre for Jewish Studies and a Jewish Music Institute, with opportunities to learn Hebrew and more than a dozen modules running next year about Jewish culture and tradition, the spokesperson added.

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https://www.soas.ac.uk/smei-cps/events/12dec2020-the-palestinian-right-of-return-the-72nd-anniversary-of-unga-resolution-194.html

The Palestinian Right of Return: The 72nd Anniversary of UNGA Resolution 194

IMG - CPS Poster 12 Dec 2020
Various Speakers

Date: 12 December 2020Time: 1:00 PM

Finishes: 12 December 2020Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Webinar

Register a place

The Centre for Palestine Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Arab-American Educational Foundation Center for Arab Studies, University of Houston and The Institute of Law, Birzeit University Cordially invite you to: The Palestinian Right of Return: The 72nd Anniversary of UNGA Resolution 194

Conference Programme:


Session I: 1:00pm-2:45pm


Opening remarks

  • Nimer Sultany, SOAS 
  • Karma Nabulsi, University of Oxford


Past and Present, Origins and Context

  • Abdel Razzaq Takriti, University of Houston, The Right of Return as Anti-Colonial Liberation 
  • Ussama Makdisi, Rice University, British policy, prevarication, and path to the Nakba
  • Anne Irfan, University of Oxford, Palestinian Refugees and the UNRWA Regime  
  • Moderator: Nimer Sultany, SOAS


Session II: 3:00pm-4:45pm


Between Law and Politics: Return and Continued Displacement

  • Ardi Imseis, Queen’s University, UNGA Resolution 194(III) and the Right of Return in International Law
  • Nimer Sultany, SOAS, Internal Colonialism and Internal Displacement  
  • Sahar Francis, Addameer, Ongoing  Displacement in Jerusalem
  • Gilbert Achcar, SOAS, The Right of Return between Fantasy and Reality  
  • Moderator: Reem Botmeh, The Institute of Law, Birzeit University


Session III: 5:00pm-6:45pm


Activism, Agency, Return

  • Mezna Qato, University of Cambridge, Chalkboard Palestine: Schooling, Education and Return 
  • Mayssoun Sukariah, King’s College London, The Right of Return and the pitfalls of Contrarian Research    
  • Rafeef Ziadah, SOAS, Organizing for the Right of Return
  • Akram Salhab, Migrants Organise (London), Countering the Erasure of the Nakba, Recentering Palestinian Rights
  • Moderator: Dina Matar, SOAS


Closing Remarks  6:45pm-7:00pm

Podcasts

Session 1The Palestinian Right of Return: The 72nd Anniversary of UNGA Resolution 194 – Session 1 

The Palestinian Right of Return: The 72nd Anniversary of UNGA Resolution 194 – Session 1

Session 2The Palestinian Right of Return: The 72nd Anniversary of UNGA Resolution 194 – Session 2 

The Palestinian Right of Return: The 72nd Anniversary of UNGA Resolution 194 – Session 2

Session 3The Palestinian Right of Return: The 72nd Anniversary of UNGA Resolution 194 – Session 3 

The Palestinian Right of Return: The 72nd Anniversary of UNGA Resolution 194 – Session 3

Registration

This webinar will take place online. Please register for each session at the links below.

Register here for Session 1

Register here for Session 2

Register here for Session 3

Contact email: ns30@soas.ac.uk

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https://themedialine.org/mideast-streets/us-and-palestine-shoot-to-kill-policies-and-transnational-resistance/

US and Palestine: Shoot to Kill Policies and Transnational Resistance

THE MEDIA LINE STAFF

09/12/2020

Date and time: Thursday, September 17, 2020, 6 to 7 pm British Summer Time (UTC+1)

Register here.

Shoot to Kill Policies and Transnational Resistance between the US and Palestine with human rights attorney and Assistant Professor Noura Erakat of Rutgers University and moderated by Dr. Rafeef Ziadah of SOAS University of London

Shoot to kill policies constitute extrajudicial assassinations and, yet, have been so deeply embedded in the structures of racial capitalism in the United States and Palestine/Israel as to be/appear normal today. While the contexts in Palestine and the United States are significantly distinct and cannot be collapsed into crude analogies, the framework of Black Palestinian solidarity helps to illuminate the co-constitutive nature of racism and colonialism. In this discussion, Noura Erakat will examine extrajudicial assassinations from the US to Palestine to help illuminate the anti-racist nature of the Palestinian struggle and the anti-colonial nature of the Black freedom struggle. The lecture will conclude by contextualizing the US law enforcement trainings in Israel within a broader scope of the militarization of US policing.

THE LECTURE SERIES

The Continuing the Conversations event series is designed to engage SOAS alumni but open to all. The event will include a talk for about 20 minutes and then a discussion regarding questions from the audience for about 20 minutes.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney and an Assistant Professor at Rutgers University, New Brunswick Department of Africana Studies. Her research interests include humanitarian law, refugee law, national security law, and critical race theory. Noura is the author of Justice for Some: Law As Politics in the Question of Palestine (Stanford University Press, 2019). She is a Co-Founding Editor of Jadaliyya e-zine and an Editorial Committee member of the Journal of Palestine Studies. She has served as Legal Counsel for a Congressional Subcommittee in the House of Representatives, as a Legal Advocate for the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Refugee and Residency Rights, and as the national grassroots organizer and legal advocate at the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. Noura is the coeditor of Aborted State? The UN Initiative and New Palestinian Junctures, an anthology related to the 2011and 2012 Palestine bids for statehood at the UN. More recently, Noura released a pedagogical project on the Gaza Strip and Palestine, which includes a short multimedia documentary, “Gaza In Context,” that rehabilitates Israel’s wars on Gaza within a settler-colonial framework. She is also the producer of the short video, “Black Palestinian Solidarity.” She is a frequent commentator, with recent appearances on CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and NPR, among others, and her writings have been widely published in the national media and academic journals.

Dr. Rafeef Ziadah is a lecturer in comparative politics of the Middle East. Her research interests are broadly concerned with the political economy of war and humanitarianism, racism and the security state, with a particular focus on the Middle East. Rafeef’s research has appeared in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space and Race and Class, among other venues. She is currently examining the impact of Gulf Cooperation Council military and commercial interventions following the 2011 Arab uprisings. Prior to joining the department as Lecturer, Rafeef was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the ‘Military Mobilities and Mobilizing Movements in the Middle East’ project with Professor Laleh Khalili. This ESRC funded project explored the politics of infrastructures, ports and transport in the Arabian Peninsula and culminated in the production of the website Sinews of War and Trade. Rafeef holds a Ph.D. in Politics from York University, Canada (2014). Before moving to SOAS, she worked as a researcher and campaign organizer with a number of refugee rights and anti-poverty NGOs.

EVENT ACCESS

Once you have registered for the event you will receive a link to access the event closer to the day.

If you would like to pre-submit a question, please email: events@soas.ac.uk

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https://www.facebook.com/events/soas-university-of-london/student-workshop-advocacy-for-palestine-on-campus/814302095716611/

SATURDAY, 7 MARCH 2020 FROM 13:00 UTC+02-18:30 UTC+02

Student Workshop: Advocacy for Palestine on Campus

SOAS University of London Details  SOAS University of London   Thornhaugh Street, London, United Kingdom  
  SOAS is a remarkable institution, uniquely combining language, disciplinary expertise and regional focus. We are distinctively positioned to analyse some of the most challenging issues facing the world today.
  SOAS University of London  

  Public · Hosted by EuroPal Forum, ‎KEY48 – مفتاح ٤٨‎ and 2 others  
Saturday, 7 March 2020 from 13:00 UTC+02-18:30 UTC+02 Where: SOAS University, London (room tbc) When: 7 March 2020 – 11:00-16:30 Background: This one-day workshop is designed to provide university-level students with a space in which the challenges facing student advocacy for Palestine, and suggestions to overcome such challenges, are openly discussed and interrogated.Through facilitating a forum in which students are exposed to expert trainers with unique insight on the dynamics of advocacy for Palestine, it is hoped students will be left feeling empowered, encouraged, and enlightened in their solidarity.This workshop is born out of necessity. It comes at one of the most challenging times for advocacy on Palestine with repeated assaults on the BDS movement, the conflation of anti-semitism with criticism of Israeli governmental policy, the designation of NGOs working for Palestine on the government’s anti-extremism guide, and a number of attempted character assassinations against those prominent in student politics for Palestine.These challenges, to name a few, have markedly exacerbated the efficacy of student politics on Palestine. To address some of these challenges and to empower the student movement, this workshop focuses on the following themes:Session One:Requirements for successful advocacy – This segment of the first session looks at the most effective advocacy strategies for pro-Palestine student work – this can include having clear, measurable goals and aims, extensive knowledge of who you are trying to reach, and focused messages and campaigns that connect with your target audience. It will also include things like planning, matching strategy to your target audience, and how to effectively utilise messages that resonate.Knowing your rights – This session is aimed at empowering students with the required knowledge of their rights while advocating for Palestine.Session Two:BDS – This session looks at why the BDS movement is an important and effective strategy for Palestinian rights campaigns. It also concentrates on different BDS strategies and tactics that can work effectively on campus.Session Three:Anti-Semitism – This session looks comprehensively at the ‘new anti-semitism’ and how it has affected Palestine advocacy at large, and what it means for pro-Palestine advocacy moving forwards.

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This is a student only event. To gain entry to this workshop, student ID is mandatory. The organiser reserves the right to reserve to refuse entry if it is thought that the ticket holder is either not behaving in an appropriate manner on arrival, or if it is believed the ticket holder is not a student.

Hosts

EuroPal ForumNon-governmental organisation (NGO)KEY48 – مفتاح ٤٨CommunitySOAS Palestine SocietyCommunity organisation  · College & UniversityWestminster Students For Palestine Society

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http://europalforum.org.uk/en/post/122

University of London SOAS favours academic boycott of Israel

28-02-2015 12:34 Source: Press TV

Students and staff at the SOAS school of the University of London have approved an academic boycott of Israel during a week-long referendum.

The vote yesterday, which was open to all students, academics, and management, ended with 73 percent voting for and 27 percent voting against the ‘Yes’ campaign to boycott Israel.

The voters were asked whether they agree with the School of Oriental and African Studies, commonly abbreviated as SOAS, joining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to impose an academic boycott on Israel based on the instructions of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

The BDS is a global campaign which uses economic and political pressure on Israel to comply with the goals of the movement — the end of Israeli occupation and colonisation of Palestinian land, full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and respect for the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

The PACBI says academic boycott of Israel is based on the fact that the academic institutions are massively complicit in Israel’s persistent denial of basic Palestinian rights, including academic freedom and the right to education.

The SOAS Students’ Union has also endorsed the BDS campaign since 2005. The union ratified a motion in October 2014, urging its leaders “to take the BDS campaign to the university” through a referendum.

Proposals for the academic boycott of Israel have been inspired by the historic academic boycotts of the Apartheid regime of South Africa that were an attempt to pressure the regime to end its abuse of the majority black inhabitants.

Suggestions for the boycott of Tel Aviv have also been made by academics and organisations in other countries including South Africa and Australia.

The goal of the boycotts is to isolate Israel in order to force a change in its oppressive and discriminatory policies towards the Palestinians.

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http://www.bricup.org.uk/documents/archive/BettyHunterpaper.doc

PAPERS FROM THE CONFERENCE HELD AT SOAS 

Resisting Israeli Apartheid: Strategies and Principles 

An International Conference on Palestine 

London, 5 December 2004

The Boycott Israeli Goods Campaign

Betty Hunter

General Secretary of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK

When the Palestinian people started the second Intifada in September 2000, the world was forced to look again at the sham of the ‘peace process’, a process which had allowed the human rights violations of the illegal occupation and the land grab to increase with impunity.  

International civil society had to ask, how can we support the Palestinian people in their struggle for justice, how can we support their resistance in a non-violent and democratic way? 

How can we challenge the myths perpetuated by the Israelis since 1948, to change the narrative, to inform the public of the facts of the occupation in the face of media bias and government duplicity? 

Solidarity movements across the world need to work to create a popular consciousness that what is happening to the Palestinian people at the hands of the illegal Israeli occupiers is the new apartheid -a new apartheid which must be ended. 

Our task is to isolate Israel and to make it a pariah state, by creating an awareness of the reality of the occupation for the Palestinians. 

This is why the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), with the support of many other organisations and prominent individuals, launched the Boycott Israeli Goods Campaign (BIG Campaign) in July 2001. We undertook this campaign on the understanding that we need to work on both boycott and sanctions and at different levels: the grassroots; civil institutions and organisations; the British parliamentary and the European levels. 

However, work at the British parliamentary and European levels will only be effective if we are successful at the grassroots. Politicians move only when electorally necessary and in Britain, apart from some honourable exceptions, we have politicians who are happy to collude and collaborate with the US and Israel in their flouting of international law. Institutions change only when their profits or interests are threatened. 

The popular boycott is the foundation of the boycott and sanctions movement and it is a tool by which we can explain to the public exactly what is happening to the Palestinians, to help rectify the glaring omissions and bias of our media. It gives ordinary people a means to show their disgust with Israeli policies. To simply ask a shop assistant or a manager where the herbs come from and refuse it if it comes from Israel is a political act of solidarity. 

All round Britain there are regular activities asking people to boycott Israeli goods. This is the main criteria for our boycott work – because it enables people in every town, large or small, to decide on the most appropriate focus for their actions.  

Our literature is aimed at both informing the shoppers about the situation in Palestine and how to raise the issue of boycott in their local areas. It is straightforward to explain that Israel has been imposing a boycott of Palestine for years with its military blockade as well as stealing Palestinian land, water and other resources (and all of this in addition to the daily killings, demolitions, closures and checkpoints) 

We protest against the sale of Israeli goods wherever we can; at Marks and Spencer, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, etc. Some protests are stalls with literature and placards, and some involve re-labelling goods with ‘boycott Israeli apartheid’ stickers. And yet others involve filling up trolleys with Israel goods and then demanding that the managers review their policy –this tactic can create a good platform for telling shoppers why Israeli goods should be boycotted. 

We have approached all the major stores to review their policies at national level but their reply is always ‘it is up to consumers’ –this is a challenge for us -if we can escalate the boycott to the level of the South African example at its height, then we can change store policy. We have also attended the AGMs of several companies in order to question their trade and support of Israel. 

While the immediate purpose of the boycott campaign is to inform public opinion (with which I believe we have had some success in Britain), in the medium term the boycott will have economic consequences. Also the more widespread the awareness and general disgust with Israel becomes, the harder it will become for institutions and governments to support Israel.  

When the general public is talking about boycotting Israeli goods, they begin to ask other questions:

  • Why is our government trading with this regime which ignores human rights and international law?
  • Why are we selling arms to an illegal occupier?
  • Why does Israel have favourable terms with the EU?

We use our postcard campaign aimed at MPs, Tony Blair and Jack Straw to give members of the public a highly visible and simple way to demand sanctions from the government. 

The European Union 

The European Union is Israel’s largest trading partner; it plays a vital role in the economic support of Israel. That is why a European wide campaign is essential and should be a strategic focus in the coming year. 

Israel benefits from the European Trade Association agreement despite the fact that this agreement demands from participants ‘respect for human rights and democracy’ and despite the fact that Israel persists in labelling goods from the illegal settlements as ‘made in Israel’.  

The European Parliament voted in 2002 to suspend this agreement but the European Commission and individual governments refuse to comply, thus breaking the Geneva Convention which states that a High Contracting Party may not facilitate a third-party violation – the violation being that Israel uses Occupied Territories as sovereign territory. We are working with MEPs across Europe to find effective ways of challenging Israeli privilege and that is a priority in the coming year. 

Across Europe the demand for sanctions and boycott is growing. There are different historical and cultural contexts which make the emphasis different from country to country but essentially this campaign is unifying and strengthening. 

From the European Social Forum we had a call to focus our solidarity work on sanctions and boycott. 

Multiplicity of Action 

The boycott campaign is also diversifying. It has been remarkable that ever since the first meetings, people have been inspired to take up the call in whatever way they can. So we have had actions on a cultural level (recently in London a prominent Israeli human rights lawyer called on artists to refrain from going to Israel unless they were at least also going to Palestine), on a sporting level, and of course on the academic level which you will hear about later.  

Much more needs to be done but we have reached the crucial point at which individuals and organisations are no longer intimidated into remaining silent but are looking for ways to actively oppose Israel’s racist policies.  

The Palestinian narrative is becoming known despite all the efforts of the pro Zionist lobby. The pre-conference publicity demonstrates the lengths to which they will go but we can see that this bullying tactic backfires –we confidently assert that campaigning against Israeli policies does not equate with anti-semitism. 

We need to look at ways in which the trade union movement can help, not only with divestment which you will discuss later but in refusing to handle Israeli goods. And students need to be informed and mobilised on this issue. 

In the coming months we will continue to expose the role of Caterpillar, a company which supplies killer bulldozers and other machines to destroy Palestinian lives and homes and which has plants and offices across the world. Caterpillar could become the Barclays Bank of our campaign to isolate Israeli apartheid. 

Boycott and sanctions campaigning must be a priority for all our solidarity work.  

We know that the Israeli government is afraid of sanctions. Financial stability relies on confidence. Financial fragility deters investment. When financial and commercial institutions begin to see that Israel is a bad risk, then they will look for safer havens for their money.  

Israeli economic fragility exists. The massive US bankrolling of £3 billion a year helps keep Israel in business. And even then, the Israeli war economy creates massive internal problems, with high unemployment and high poverty levels for the Israelis. 

This conference is another significant step in making clear to Israel and its banker, the US, that Israel cannot and will not be allowed to continue its illegal occupation. The writing is on the wall, the Apartheid Wall, and the illegal occupation will fall. The boycott and sanctions campaign is an essential element in the movement to achieve this as quickly as possible. And urgency is vital as the Israelis continue to destroy and steal Palestinian lives and land daily in their aim of preventing any possibility of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state.  

The public support for this campaign has grown to include the majority of the NGOs in Palestine and the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, and many Israeli activists including refusenik pilot Jonathon Shapiro, who at the European Social Forum called on Europe to help Israel by boycotting until the occupation ends and Palestinians have full human and democratic rights. 

Palestinians have the right to self determination –it is our responsibility to help them achieve that by declaring that international civil society will have nothing to do with those who occupy another people’s land and deny them human rights. By boycotting and isolating Israel. 

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