Irish academics join boycott of Israeli academic institutions
Here’s some heartening news, reaffirming that the boycott of Israel – the world’s only surviving apartheid state – is gaining ever greater momentum.
In response to the call from Palestinian civil society for an institutional academic boycott of Israel, we pledge not to engage in any professional association with Israeli academic, research and state institutions and with those representing these institutions, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.
The signatories are from Irish higher education institutions and include many well-known figures, such as Seamus Deane, Ailbhe Smyth, Luke Gibbons, Ronit Lentin, Joe Cleary, Kieran Allen, Kathleen Lynch, Tadhg Foley, Terrence McDonough and Helena Sheehan.
The pledge was announced at the launch of Academics for Palestine, which took place in the Irish capital, Dublin, on 20 February (see video below).
Conor McCarthy, lecturer in English at the National University of Ireland Maynooth welcomed the initiative, saying that
the recent endorsement of the boycott campaign by the 5,000-member American Studies Association in the US, along with positive moves by the Modern Language Association and the controversy over Scarlett Johansson, showed that BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] is now very much part of a mainstream international debate.
Speaking at the launch Ghada Karmi of Exeter University in the UK, said
Israel’s well-documented repression of Palestinian academic life and victimization of Palestinian teachers and students is a scandal to be denounced by all those who claim to care about academic freedom.
Also speaking at the launch, Israeli professor and film-maker Haim Bresheeth said the initiative represents “civic action of citizens and academics who take up their responsibility”.
“Boycott does work,” Bresheeth added.