Over 120 Irish academics vow to boycott Israel

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More than 120 Irish academics have signed a pledge to boycott Israeli institutions until Palestinian rights are respected, Academics for Palestine said in a press release.

It added in a Friday statement that the number is expected to increase as more lecturers learn about the growing campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel – a campaign led by Palestinians and gaining global support.

“In response to the call from Palestinian civil society for an 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 text of the boycott pledge reads.

“The conflict in Palestine has now reached its ‘South African moment’ – the point at which Israeli apartheid has been recognized as such by the international community,” said Professor Haim Bresheeth, a noted London-based film-maker and academician.

Bresheeth and Ghada Karmi, a Palestinian doctor of medicine, scholar and lecturer at the University of Exeter, will be in Belfast and Dublin next week to help launch a new Irish campaign to support the academic-boycott pledge, Academics for Palestine declared.

“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,” she said.

Conor McCarthy, lecturer in English in NUI Maynooth and a long-time campaigner for Palestinian rights, also welcomed the initiative.

“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 is now very much part of a mainstream international debate,” McCarthy said.

Nearly a year ago the Teachers Union of Ireland, which represents lecturers at institutes of technology across the State, became one of the first academic unions in the world to endorse the boycott against the Israeli regime.

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