USACBI was founded in 2009, in the midst of the Israeli war on Gaza, to show solidarity with the Palestinian people, including Palestinian scholars and students, in their struggle to end apartheid and occupation. USACBI is a national US-based campaign. It focuses on mobilizing support for the academic and cultural boycott, and on organizing US academics to end the collusion of the US academy with Israel’s military occupation and systemic anti-Palestinian racism. USACBI does so by inviting academics--scholars as well as students--to endorse the boycott as a first step toward showing public solidarity and building a national boycott movement, in tandem with the larger BDS movement. The campaign is inspired in large part by the movement opposing apartheid in South Africa through similar strategies of boycott, divestment, and sanctions.
USACBI’s academic boycott work is guided by principles established by the Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) in 2004. Those principles hold that Israeli academic institutions are “a key part of the ideological and institutional scaffolding of Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid against the Palestinian people.” The goal of the boycott is to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands during and since 1967, end Israeli institutionalized racism inside the 1948 boundaries of Israel, and achieve the return of the Palestinian refugees to their lands and homes. USACBI’s academic boycott work is also in line with principles established by the Palestinian Council for Higher Education. These call for “non-cooperation in the scientific and technical fields between Palestinian and Israeli universities.”
It is important to note that USACBI adheres to PACBI guidelines in promoting the boycott of Israeli institutions, not individuals:
Israeli institutions are complicit, directly and indirectly, with the Israeli state’s ongoing illegal occupation, apartheid policies, and violations of international human rights law. Israeli academic institutions engage in racial discrimination and repression of Palestinian students and activities. Israel also systematically denies Palestinian academics and students freedom of movement, so that they are not able to freely travel for study, conferences, and research, even within Palestine. (See Reports and Resources.) The academic boycott is thus a challenge to the degraded academic freedom of Palestinians.In ending the lockdown on critical discussion about Palestine-Israel, this movement aims to enlarge academic freedom for all.
Israeli Universities play a significant role in the legitimization, as well as de-legitimization, of the key state and cultural institutions in Israel that are crucial to the normalization and extension of state violence and discrimination. By withholding complicity with these institutional projects, the academic boycott is a tool that academics can use to take a principled stance against occupation and apartheid. To this end, USACBI encourages “academics, academic associations/unions, and academic — as well as other — institutions around the world, where possible and as relevant, to boycott and/or work towards the cancellation or annulment of events, activities, agreements, or projects involving Israeli academic institutions or that otherwise promote the normalization of Israel in the global academy, whitewash Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian rights, or violate the BDS guidelines.”
Members of USACBI have organized and participated in successful campaigns that led to the adoption of academic boycott resolutions by the Association of Asian American Studies (AAAS), the American Studies Association (ASA), the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), and the Critical Ethnic Studies Association (CESA), among others. It has also helped in organizing around resolutions endorsed by the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Ethnic Studies Department, and the United Auto Workers Local 2865, the University of California’s Student Workers Association.
USACBI works in solidarity with international academic boycott organizations. These include the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP), AURDIP, the Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (InCACBI), Faculty for Palestine Canada, the Belgian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, and the Lebanese Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel. USACBI also collaborates with Students for Justice in Palestine chapters and other student activists working on academic boycott and divestment campaigns. It has created a pamphlet to assist students in understanding and engaging in academic boycott organizing.
As well, Faculty for Justice in Palestine (FJP) chapters are emerging to support the work of USACBI and SJP chapters. Chapters have already been formed at UC Davis, University of Hawai'i Manoa, University of Florida, and Purdue University.
Academic Boycott Archives
By Steven Salaita August 21, 2017 Beirut has regained some of its pre-war glitter. Every month, it seems, a glossy magazine publishes a travelogue raving about the city’s restaurants, clubs, and beautiful citizens, inevitably followed by a barrage of indignant comments about how the writer visited all the wrong places. As in the past, what Beirut lacks in […]Continue reading
Sunday, August 20, 2017 1:00 pm Listen to an interview on Pacifica station, KPFK Public Radio with David Lloyd (photo), Distinguished Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside, and a founding member of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, and with Eli Unger-Sargon, an Israeli-American writer/director/filmmaker of People […]Continue reading
By Richard Falk 08/18/2017 I suggest that Zionists fond of smearing critics of Israel as ‘anti-Semites’ take a sobering look at the VICE news clip of the white nationalist torch march through the campus of the University of Virginia the night before the lethal riot in Charlottesville. In this central regard, anti-Semitism, and its links […]Continue reading
By Nada Elia August 18, 2017 The signs were already all over the walls: hatred will be returning in force to campuses across the country this academic year, and will be packaged as “free speech.” The alt-right rally at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville may be seen as a defining moment for many, but any […]Continue reading
International scientists and academics say it is colleagues’ “moral duty” to boycott conference in Jerusalem
A group of Palestinian, Israeli, and international scientists and academics has called on colleagues to cancel their participation in a forthcoming conference in Israel, to show their solidarity with Palestinians living under occupation. The Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS), has scheduled its 2017 Congress for 10-14 September. But the venue – the International Convention Centre in Jerusalem – has […]Continue reading
By David Lloyd August 15, 2017 Politicians from Senators Marco Rubio and Orrin Hatch to Chuck Schumer and Ron Wyden have been outspoken in their condemnation of Saturday’s Unite the Right March in Charlottesville and the vicious acts of terror it spawned. Criticizing Donald Trump for his reluctant and temporizing comments, they condemn the hate and […]Continue reading
To Be an Antiracist Today One Must be Anti-Zionist: USACBI Statement on Trumpism, White Supremacy, and Zionism
The U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) stands in solidarity with movements resisting Trump’s authoritarian, racist, misogynist, neoliberal, and violently imperial policies. Like many on the left, we have been disturbed by the hardening reaction and ongoing rightward shift of the U.S. state. We are concerned by the deepening […]Continue reading
Reprinted from Palestine Legal: On Friday, in a partial victory for the American Studies Association (ASA), a district court in Washington D.C. dismissed plaintiffs’ ultra vires claim that the ASA operated beyond its corporate charter by passing an academic boycott resolution in 2013. The court held: The boycott resolution was, therefore, enacted for “academic […]Continue reading