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
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
USACBI unconditionally condemns and calls for the repeal of President Trump’s recent Executive Order (EO) which bans citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States and places an indefinite moratorium on refugees from Syria. The Order is of a piece with the Trump administration’s blatant hostility towards immigrants from Latin America and with […]Continue reading
This special Periscope online issue of Social Text Journal was co-edited by Sunaina Maira, of the Steering Collective of USACBI, and Neferti X. Tadiar, of USACBI’s Advisory Board. The full issue is available here: http://socialtextjournal.org/periscope_topic/the-academic-boycott-movement/ As Maira and Tadiar note, “This periscope brings together political analyses of the academic boycott as a global movement, from different […]Continue reading
NYRB letter: Public intellectuals declare that “settlement boycott” is not sufficient to defend Palestinian rights
The following statement by over 100 public intellectuals, writers, scholars and artists was published in the most recent issue of the New York Review of Books. The letter comes in response to For an Economic Boycott and Political Nonrecognition of the Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Territories from the October 13, 2016 issue of the NYRB. […]Continue reading
Scholar and writer Viet Thanh Nguyen, 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner and associate professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, has endorsed BDS and the cultural and academic boycott of Israel in support of Palestinian rights. “Always remember, never forget. These powerful words compel us to think […]Continue reading
The US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel salutes Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions for a campaign that has sparked debate and galvanized awareness within the anthropology discipline and broader academic community about Palestine, BDS, and the responsibility of academics in the United States to respect the global boycott […]Continue reading
The Palestinian-led movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel is facing significant repression internationally and from the Israeli state: from criminalization in France, attempts to pass anti-BDS laws in US state legislatures, to the de facto travel ban imposed upon Palestinian BDS leader and human rights advocate Omar Barghouti. At this time of repression […]Continue reading
Palestine Legal statement on lawsuit against American Studies Association + Academic Letter of Support for ASA
Palestine Legal issued the following statement in response to a lawsuit announced today against the American Studies Association (ASA) for adopting an academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions: “The ASA’s academic boycott resolution is aimed at challenging U.S. support for a system that denies academic freedom to Palestinian students and scholars. As such, […]Continue reading