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Dozens of Cambridge academics condemn Israel’s attack on Gaza

More than 50 academics at the University of Cambridge have signed a statement condemning Israel’s recent attack on Gaza, and urging a lifting of the blockade and “justice for the Palestinian people”.

Signatories to the statement, published Sunday, include experts from a variety of disciplines. The motivation, according to the professors, is “a responsibility – whether as practitioners of our various subjects, as employees of this University, as academics, or just as human beings – to speak out against the recent actions and posture of the Israeli state”.

The statement highlights the death and destruction caused by Israel’s “bombardment”, including hundreds of child fatalities and “entire families” wiped out – atrocities that “occur against the background of decades of Israeli occupation and illegal expansion”.

The Cambridge-based scholars tackle the “disingenuous” accusation of “singling Israel out”, noting the “unmistakeable asymmetry of power between the two sides”, and going on to say:

As many have persuasively argued over the last few weeks, it is Israel that singles itself out: through its claims to moral impeccability, its celebrated status as a democracy, through its receipt of massive support from the US and other nations, and through its abuse of the memory of the holocaust in order to deflect criticism and to discredit the Palestinian struggle – on this point, we wish to express our solidarity with the more than 300 holocaust survivors and their descendants who have recently called on the world to take action to stop Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians.

The statement concludes with the academics adding their “voices to those of the Palestinian resistance in appealing for an immediate lifting of the blockade on Gaza”. But “beyond this most urgent demand”, the signatories also urge:

the realisation of a more far-reaching justice for the Palestinian people, including the displaced refugees, and at the same time the realisation of a situation in which the inhabitants of historic Palestine, whatever their ethnicity, religion, or culture, whether they now live as Palestinians or as Israelis, are able to coexist under conditions of meaningful freedom and equality – equality of civic status, of respect, and of access to land and resources.

They also express solidarity with students and lecturers “inside and outside of Israel” who are victimised “for speaking out on this issue”, and the statement ends with a link to the support website for Palestinian-American academic Steven Salaita.

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