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 Sunaina Maira, author of Boycott!: The Academy and Justice for Palestine, member of the Steering Committee of USACBI Republished from: https://www.ucpress.edu/blog/34543/the-academy-and-the-boycott-divestment-and-sanctions-movement/ On December 6, 2017, Donald Trump shocked the international community by unilaterally declaring that the U.S. had anointed Jerusalem the capital of Israel, a city illegally occupied by Israel since the 1967 war. The status of […]Continue reading
Stand Against Apartheid Lawfare! Stand Against Apartheid Lawfare! Stand with the American Studies Association! #boycottracism! The Louis D. Brandeis Center is engaged in lawfare against members of the American Studies Association, against the association itself, and against the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (http://www.usacbi.org/). This lawfare takes the form of […]Continue reading
Dear Professor Dr. Peter-André Alt and Professor Dr. Gudrun Krämer: As members of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI), we write to protest the Freie Universtät’s recent decision to cancel Professor Lila Sharif’s lecture “Olive Insurrections: Palestinian Survival in a Vanishing Landscape.” This talk was scheduled to take place […]Continue reading
Book Culture’s statement distancing itself from politics and books related to justice in Palestine because of pressure from the rabbis at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue (SWFS), which bills itself as “a beacon of progressive Jewish thought”, is an appalling development for a bookstore whose mission is “to represent as widely as we can the diverse […]Continue reading
Photo: Dr Sunaina Maria of ASA lecturing on the nature of Zionist settler colonialism as a racist project at a conference on BDS: Strategic Actions for Justice. Her latest book, published by the University of California Press, is Boycott: The Academy and Justice for Palestine (2017) The movement for justice in Palestine and BDS campaigns around the country […]Continue reading
USACBI commends the important action of the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University as a critical example for academic departments in the United States and internationally by putting the academic boycott of Israel into practice. We also salute the tireless and ongoing campaigning of Students Against Israeli Apartheid at York (SAIA York) for Palestinian […]Continue reading
The new book by Sunaina Maira on the BDS campaign for Palestinian rights in the academy, “Boycott! The Academy and Justice for Palestine” is now available as an e-Book from the University of California Press. The print editions of the book are available for pre-order and will be published in January 2018. Sunaina Maira, Professor […]Continue reading
USACBI Note: This article by Irish Palestine solidarity activist Conor McCarthy focuses on a keynote address that USACBI OC member Steven Salaita delivered to a conference on academic freedom and the contemporary university in Dublin last September. But it also shows the intimate links between our organizing for BDS and the resistance of students and […]Continue reading