Wading through the flood’s of bad news this week coming from Palestine, there were two major pieces of news that gave pause and reason for hope, and have the potential to tip the scale as we know it. This week, two very serious academic institutions: the American Studies Association (ASA) and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), declared their support for the Palestinian call for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions, or BDS.
Based on the model used to end Apartheid in South Africa, in July 2005, Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) put forward the following statement:
We, Palestinian academics and intellectuals, call upon our colleagues in the international community to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel’s occupation, colonization and system of apartheid. Read more
In a democratic election that engaged the largest number of members in the organization’s history, 66.05% of ASA voters endorsed the resolution, while 30.5% of voters voted no.
It is resolved that the American Studies Association (ASA) endorses and will honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. It is also resolved that the ASA supports the protected rights of students and scholars everywhere to engage in research and public speaking about Israel-Palestine and in support of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.
And the Indigenous Studies NAISA’s governing body announced in a
“Declaration of Support for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions. As the elected council of an international community of Indigenous and allied non-Indigenous scholars, students, and public intellectuals who have studied and resisted the colonization and domination of Indigenous lands via settler state structures throughout the world, we strongly protest the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and the legal structures of the Israeli state that systematically discriminate against Palestinians and other Indigenous peoples.
This recognition is particularly significant because it aligns the indigenous people of the Americas, with those of the Arab world to stand together in a powerful act of solidarity.
As a Palestinian commentator Yousef Munayyer wrote, regarding the expected and considerable backlash by the establishment: “Years from now, we will look back at moments, such as the American Studies Association’s decision, just as we can look back today on the 1979 argument against fighting South African apartheid. And we’ll remember who chose to be on the right side of history.” Boycott a sting to Israeli apartheid
Boycotts are the weapons of the dispossessed; they are pleas for global solidarity from people who have few other forms of power. They are peaceful attempts to disrupt business as usual by setting up a global picket-line and by asking us not to cross that picket line. The ASA National Council has heeded Palestinians’ call for an academic boycott, and ASA members have been asked to give their endorsement.
The boycott movement has clearly defined goals of ending the occupation, ending discrimination against Palestinians with Israeli citizenship and ending forced exile and ongoing expulsion of Palestinians from their homes. All three of these place profound restrictions on Palestinian academic life.
Meanwhile while in South Africa this week, the so-called President of the Palestinian Authority (whose term expired in January 2009) Abbas, perhaps missing the irony took a stand against BDS. By doing so he has exposed himself as the antithesis of being in touch with (reality!) or the grassroots. The global grassroots movement have lost all hope in a political solution and will not wait around for him and his ilk to come around. He and his PA cronies have revealed their true allegiance, to the demands of international donors and Israel than to those of Palestinians.
BDS is a growing global grassroots movement that unites Palestinians and their supporters across the world.
BE IT RESOLVED that every massacre, and each barbaric, cruel turning up of the notch of occupation – only strengthens our power, our numbers and our resolve. Just as in South Africa, BDS is the only and best hope to end the tyranny of the zionist occupation – AND strangle hold on US academia and institutions worldwide, and is simply unstoppable.