218 sign call for a Swedish academic boycott of Israel

The following press release announcing a broad Swedish call for the Academic Boycott of Israel, was created by the KTH action group for boycott:

Press release 2 October 2011

Swedish universities must not participate in research or any other type of cooperation with Israeli academic institutions. The Swedish government should act for the cessation of EU’s research support to Israel, which will inevitably strengthen the continued occupation of Palestine. This is what 218 Swedish persons demand in a Call for academic boycott of Israel. Twelve of the signatories are professors, while 14 are associate professors, 23 senior lecturers or researchers and 70 are students.

The boycott is not aimed at individuals but against institutions. So far no Israeli academic institution has dissociated itself from Israel’s apartheid policy or the discrimination of Palestinians in Israel. Therefore all collaboration with Israeli academic institutions should be stopped, the signatories say.

The initiative to the Call was taken by the Action group for boycott of Israel at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm. The group demands that KTH shall cancel its ongoing agreement with Technion, the leading Israeli technical university. Technion has close collaboration with the Israeli military forces. As an example it may be mentioned that Technion is developing new types of drones for the destruction of Palestinian houses (used to kill thousands of people). Researchers of Technion act as advisors to Israel’s military and the university collaborates closely with Israel’s biggest weapons producer Elbit.

The demand for academic boycott is getting worldwide support. The biggest student union in Europe – the united union of London’s 20 universities and colleges, comprising 120,000 students – has decided to support boycott. In Norway 100 prominent persons have signed an appeal to the same end. Other examples are the staff association of McGill University in Montreal, the student union in Uppsala and the student union of Berkeley. The University of Johannesburg has broken its cooperation with the Ben Gurion University.

Within European Union countries a network for academic and cultural boycott was formed last year. See its website www.epacbi.eu.

For further information you may visit the website of the KTH action group http://www.psabi.net/ or contact the persons below.

Dick Urban Vestbro, Professor Emeritus, +46706559483

Lina Suleiman, PhD, researcher, +46704231157

Jan-Erik Gustafsson, Assoc Prof, +4687907359

 

The Call with signatories is attached. It is sent to Swedish academic institutions, the National Swedish Agency for Higher Education, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, media and to international solidarity organization.

Call for a Swedish academic boycott of Israel

The state of Israel occupies the Palestinian territories, denies basic human rights to Palestinians and refuses to comply with UN resolutions, including the ones stating that Palestinian refugees have the right to return. Israel subjects the Palestinian population to daily harassment and forces them to abandon more and more areas. The situation has rightly been compared to apartheid South Africa.

Israeli academic institutions are deeply complicit in Israel’s occupation of Palestine. They cooperate closely with the security-military establishment. They offer advice to military intelligence and assist in developing weapon technologies for the Occupation forces. So far, none of the Israeli academic institutions have dissociated themselves from the occupation regime, or condemned the entrenched system of discrimination of Palestinians.

Despite Israel’s refusal to comply with international law it is not met with sanctions. It is therefore imperative that ordinary people take up the challenge and put pressure on Israel. Palestinian academics have repeatedly called upon their colleagues abroad to boycott Israeli academic institutions in order to end the occupation and the oppression. We, the signatory of this call, want to respond positively to their call.

We do not want to end dialogue, but we want to show that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is unacceptable. The future for both Palestinians and Israelis depends on ending the occupation and on securing justice and equality. We believe that this will not happen without external pressure. Moreover, teachers, scientists and students in Israel oppose the occupation. These groups are in need of international support.

The academic boycott is aimed at the isolation of Israeli universities and other teaching and research institutions in order to challenge their complicity in maintaining the Israeli occupation and other violations of international law. An academic boycott targets institutional links between Israeli universities and Swedish partners in the form of university pairing, exchanges, joint programs and research initiatives. It is not a ban on individual Israeli academics, regardless of their opinions.

We ask employees and students at Swedish universities and research institutions to join our call. At the same time, we call for cooperation with and support for organizations and individuals in Israel, including research workers and students who are working to end the occupation and the denial of human rights for the Palestinians.

  • Refuse participation in academic cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli universities;
  • Refrain from attending or co-sponsoring conferences and other academic activities held at Israeli universities;
  • Suspend all forms of funding, subsidies and scholarships to Israeli universities;
  • Promote divestment from Israel by academic institutions;
  • The Swedish government must act to stop European Union research collaboration with Israel;
  • Foster initiatives that directly support Palestinian educational institutions and ensure opportunities for Palestinian students and faculty.

 

 

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