From November 28 to December 1, 2012 the World Social Forum Free Palestine will be held in Porto Alegre (Brazil). This is a historic event that brings together Palestinian groups (including the BNC, PACBI, Herak Shababi, amongst others) together with solidarity, human rights and social justice movements and organizations from across the globe to develop and debate ideas, share experiences, network, and plan strategies and campaigns to advance solidarity with the struggle for Palestinian liberation. (For more information and the full call for the WSF Free Palestine, see: http://wsfpalestine.net/ and www.facebook.com/WSFPalestine )
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel calls on academics, students and artists around the world to mobilize in support of the WSF Free Palestine. By expanding and strengthening academic and cultural boycott campaigns and strategies amongst a broader audience across the globe, we wish to build a new generation of Palestine solidarity.
We ask you to join the effort by organizing delegations to the event and developing ideas for discussions and strategies. This can include organizing academic and cultural boycott campaigns, discussing the role of the academy with regards to Palestine, enhancing anti-colonial studies, promoting right to education campaigns, and developing other areas drawing on your own experiences to share and build upon with the global solidarity community.
The potential scope of the WSF Free Palestine is tremendous: together we can build relations and coordination mechanisms among Palestinian and international academics, artists and student movements (including academic and cultural boycott campaigns, campus divestments, and twinnings of universities). We can promote participation in specific global action days around BDS activities (including the Israeli Apartheid Week, and days of solidarity with the Palestinian people), and in international forums related to Palestine (including major academic conferences). And we can organize forums/conferences that promote anti-colonial studies and fight against the normalization of Israeli studies within the international academy.
Please join PACBI in the WSF Free Palestine and contact us at email@example.com that you can be part of the mobilizing process!
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel was launched in Ramallah in April 2004 by a group of Palestinian academics and intellectuals to join the growing international boycott movement. The Campaign built on the Palestinian call for a comprehensive economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel issued in August 2002 and a statement made by Palestinian academics and intellectuals in the occupied territories and in the Diaspora calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions in October 2003.
Over the past eight years, and inspired by the integral role that Israeli academic institutions play in developing the knowledge and technology behind Israeli occupation, colonization and apartheid, and planning and justifying Israel’s worst crimes, academic boycott campaigns have spread to campuses across the world:
- Setting a worldwide precedent for the academic boycott of Israel, the University of Johannesburg severed ties with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University in 2011, following a campaign backed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and over 400 South African academics.
- Campaigns against EU-funded collaboration with private Israeli companies and Israeli universities have sprung up at campuses across Europe in response to a call from Palestinian academics and civil society.
- Academic unions in the UK and Canada have voted to support various academic boycott campaign initiatives. There are also active academic boycott campaigns in India, the US, South Africa, Ireland, Chile, Brazil, Pakistan, and in many European countries.
Israel is rapidly losing support around the world and has recently been voted again as one of the most negatively viewed countries in the world. Israel’s attempts to whitewash its system of colonization, occupation and apartheid using culture is increasingly thwarted by a highly visible cultural boycott:
- Scores of artists — especially musicians and filmmakers — and writers have refused to perform in Israel or cancelled scheduled performances following pressure from the BDS movement including Bono, Snoop Dogg, Jean Luc Godard, Elvis Costello, Gil Scott Heron, Carlos Santana, Devendra Banhart, Faithless, the Pixies, Cassandra Wilson, Cat Power, Zakir Hussain.
- Many artists and other cultural figures now speak publicly of their support for BDS: Roger Waters, Alice Walker, Naomi Klein, John Berger, Judith Butler, Etienne Balibar, Ken Loach, Arundhati Roy, Angela Davis, Sarah Schulman, among others.
- Israeli artists who accept funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are required to sign a contract committing them to be part of Israel’s cultural public relations offensive. Protests and campaigns against state-backed performances — such as those by the Batsheva dance company, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Habima theater, and the Jerusalem Quartet — are now commonplace in Europe and North America, forcing some cultural venues to defend or retract their decision to host representatives of Israel and persuading others not to invite state-backed Israeli artists at all.
The level of success of the WSF Free Palestine is dependent on having representation from as many academics, students and cultural workers as possible to reflect the diverse nature of the Palestine solidarity movement and to be able to share the vast and diverse knowledge and experience it has accumulated. We therefore call upon you to join us in Porto Alegre, Brazil, to spread the word regarding WSF amongst colleagues, and to help organize a delegation or meeting. Let’s work together to bring freedom, justice and equality to Palestine.