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3 August 2014

Israeli universities deeply involved in Gaza massacre: Academic Boycott Now!

Israeli universities that have for decades played a key role in planning, implementing, justifying and whitewashing racist and colonial policies of the Israeli regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid, are once again exposing their complicity in Israel’s genocidal aggression against 1.8 million Palestinians in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip.

While international law experts still debate whether or not Israel’s crimes in Gaza constitute genocide, as defined by the UN, international figures who have accused Israel of committing acts of genocide include Spain’s top artists, a Brazilian official, US writer Naomi Wolf, Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, along with several world leaders. Former British and French leaders have called Israel’s carnage in Gaza a “massacre,” urging sanctions against it.
Virtually all Israeli academic institutions have by now issued official statements declaring support for the Israeli massacres in Gaza.  They have promised faculty and student reserve soldiers actively involved in the killing fields of Gaza various perks and privileges as rewards for their contribution to the state’s “security.” Israeli academics have not distinguished themselves from the rest of Jewish-Israeli society, where 95% have justified the bloody assault on the Palestinian people in Gaza, according to a recent poll.
Many academics around the world still do not realize how deeply involved Israeli universities are in the current bloodbath in Gaza. Technion prides itself of developing many of the weapon systems, particularly drone technologies, that are currently being employed by the Israeli forces in their aggression. Tel Aviv University (TAU) has not only designed tens of weapons used by the Israeli occupation forces. Its Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) also takes credit for the development of the so-called Dahiya Doctrine, or doctrine of disproportionate force, that is adopted by the Israeli army, and which calls for “the destruction of the national [civilian] infrastructure, and intense suffering among the [civilian] population,” as means of defeating an otherwise “impossible” to defeat non-statal resistance. This means that Tel Aviv University is directly responsible for the deliberate and premeditated commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza.  Moreover, TAU’s leading philosopher, Asa Kasher, has co-authored with an army general an “ethical” code of conduct for the Israeli army that justified killing a large number of civilians in the process of targeting resistance fighters.
Some academics may argue, though, that universities in many countries in the west are also involved in the development of weapons and military doctrines for their respective armed forces, but Israeli experts themselves have a decisive answer to this. Prominent TAUProfessor Avraham Katzir observed that the relationship between academic institutions and the army in Israel is far more organic and solid than in the west. He argues that “each one of us is both an Israeli citizen and working
in these [military] fields.” Academia and the army, writes Katzir, are “helping
one another–something which doesn’t happen [elsewhere]; I’ve been in theUS and Europe, and there there is a disconnect between the [academic] workshops and the army; they hate the army! [With us], I think that we succeed by virtue of the fact that we help one another so much.” Haim Russo, CEO of Israeli drone manufacturer Elbit, went further, crediting
academia with “standing behind this whole vast [military] industry."
In a new low, even by the already dismal Israeli academic institutions’ ethical standards, renowned Israeli academic Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University urged raping the wives, sisters and mothers of Palestinian militants to deter them.
In parallel to cheering and encouraging the Israeli army while it commits massacres in Gaza, Israeli universities have created a deeply militarized and intimidating environment on campus, joining the Israeli police and Shin Bet in clamping down on dissent by students and faculty peacefully protesting the war of aggression on Gaza.
In light of this added level of complicity by Israeli academic institutions in Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinian people, PACBI reiterates the need to intensify efforts to boycott all Israeli academic institutions, with the top priority being a halt to all funding and joint research with them that relate to the military domain.
In his support for the 2011 decision by the University of Johannesburg to sever its links with Ben Gurion University over its complicity in violations of human rights, Archbishop Desmond Tutu accused Israeli universities of maintaining “links to both the Israeli [army] and the arms industry” and of “structurally” supporting and facilitating the occupation. Tutu argues:
Israeli Universities are an intimate part of the Israeli regime, by active choice. While Palestinians are not able to access universities and schools, Israeli universities produce the research, technology, arguments and leaders for maintaining the occupation.”
This complicity has been laid bare more than ever in the current Israeli bloodbath in Gaza.

Posted on 03-08-2014

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