Creating new perspectives since 2009

City University of New York graduates endorse academic boycott of Israel

April 16, 2016 at 12:52 pm

The Doctoral Students’ Council (DSC) at the City University of New York (CUNY) overwhelmingly endorsed the academic boycott of Israel on Friday.

The resolution, which calls for a boycott of “Israeli academic institutions for as long as the Israeli state continues to violate Palestinian rights under international law”, was passed with 42 votes in favour, 19 opposed, and 9 abstentions. (The full text of the resolution is below.)

The resolution was backed by graduate students and faculty “from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds”, and endorsed by the Graduate Centre’s Adjunct Project, Postcolonial Studies Group, Middle Eastern Studies Organization, and Critical Palestine Studies Association.

The endorsed resolution calls for solidarity with Palestinian institutions, academics, and students who have been denied their academic and other freedoms by Israel, and also calls for solidarity with the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapters in the CUNY system “that have faced ongoing repression from the CUNY administration and local government.”

Resolution Endorsing the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

WHEREAS settler colonialism and structural racism work across the world, including in the United States, to disenfranchise, dispossess, and inflict violence upon specific groups of people for the benefit of others;

WHEREAS the unceasing military occupation and colonization of Palestine by the Israeli state is a manifestation of both settler colonialism and structural racism, supported politically, financially, and militarily by the US;

WHEREAS the Israeli state systematically violates Palestinians’ rights under international law, including the right to education;

WHEREAS the Israeli state specifically violates Palestinians’ right to education by damaging Palestinian universities, colleges, and schools in military offensives; raiding students at those institutions and forcing the institutions to temporarily close for military or other reasons; restricting Palestinians’ movement to such an extent that it impedes their ability to attend and teach classes; and preventing students from traveling abroad to study or present research;

WHEREAS Israeli academic institutions, like U.S. academic institutions, are deeply embedded in state practices and receive extensive state funding;

WHEREAS Israeli academic institutions are complicit in the occupation and colonization of Palestine and the state’s violence against Palestinians by developing military hardware, weapons, drones, and surveillance technologies; offering military training courses and posts for high-ranking military officers; declaring, via their leaders and other surrogates, their support for Israeli military offensives; discriminating against Palestinian students; and repressing voices in support of Palestinians and their struggle for self-determination;

WHEREAS Palestinian civil society, including the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors, the General Union of Palestinian Teachers, and the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, has issued a global call for the academic and cultural boycott of the Israeli state, as part of the larger boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, as long as it violates Palestinian human and environmental rights anchored in international law;

WHEREAS dozens of academic bodies around the world, including the Association for Asian American Studies, the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, the Critical Ethnic Studies Association, the African Literature Association, the American Studies Association, the graduate student worker union of the University of California, and, most recently, the American Anthropological Association and the National Women’s Studies Association, have endorsed or recommended the boycott of Israeli academic institutions, and more, including the Modern Language Association and the Middle Eastern Studies Association, are considering doing so, altogether making the issue of academic boycott a central one of the academic profession;

WHEREAS the Israeli state commands extraordinarily more power both on the ground and internationally than do the Palestinians, as shown, in just one example, by the effort of New York State legislators to suspend Students for Justice in Palestine at the City University of New York (CUNY);

WHEREAS the Doctoral Students’ Council (DSC) has passed resolutions in support of justice and social change throughout its existence, from condemning the Vietnam War to, this academic year alone, supporting students repressed by the state at both CUNY and Jawaharlal Nehru University in India; and

WHEREAS the DSC understands that the boycott of Israeli academic institutions is expressly not the boycott of individual Israeli students or scholars, nor does it prohibit collaboration between DSC representatives and Israeli students and scholars, but that it is constitutionally protected free speech in support of the Palestinian call for solidarity to end the occupation and colonization of Palestine;

Be it RESOLVED that the DSC will endorse the Palestinian call to boycott Israeli academic institutions for as long as the Israeli state continues to violate Palestinian rights under international law; and

Be it further RESOLVED that the DSC supports the efforts of Students for Justice in Palestine at CUNY and all others engaged in the struggle to end the occupation and colonization of Palestine.