Saturday, 13 November 2010

A new common European platform for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel (EPACBI)

In Europe pro-Israel and anti-Israel groups operate differently.  Pro-Israel groups operate on a national basis: if a nasty anti-Israel boycott campaign is run in Belgium or in France, pro-Israel groups in other European countries will not be interested.  Whereas anti-Israel groups operate at (1) national level, (2) intra-European level and/or at (3) international level.  A good example of this is the Russell Tribunal on Palestine which was initiated by a well respected Belgian, Pierre Galand, and has attracted people from all over the world.  The "Tribunal" was launched in Belgium without a single Jewish Belgian voice denouncing it (the reason being that they want exposure and it is better to keep a low profile - don't mention the problem and it will go away).  The Kangaroo court then went to Barcelona and there were a few local protests.  It is now having a session in London - a few UK blogs have objected (Harry's Place and Jewish Chronicle HERE, HERE and HERE), but nobody in France or Germany let alone in Belgium will be interested enough relay these protests. The Tribunal is scheduled to have session in South Africa and the U.S. (it will not end there) giving it a distinctively international imprint. Although this initiative may not amount to much, the cumulative effect of countless such Europe-wide initiatives should not be ignored. Many of these campaigns are funded by European governments and the European Union and there never seems to be any lack of funds to carry them out.

Paris Declaration of a European Platform for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (EPACBI)

French Mediapart gives the name of the organisers :

AKULBI : Akademisk og Kulturell Boikott av staten Israel (Norway)
AURDIP : Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine (France)
BAB : Berlin Academic Boycott (Germany)
BRICUP : British Committee for Universities for Palestine (England)
CUNCAP : Comissió Universitària Catalana per Palestina (Catalonia)
ICACBI : Italian Campaign for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel (Italy)
PACBI : Palestinian campaign for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel (Palestine)
PSABI : Action Group at KTH for Boycott of Israel (Sweden)
Belgian and Dutch delegations were present at the launch of EPACBI (their website in 11 European languages ...).

"This declaration announces the establishment of a common European platform for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. The national, regional and local organisations and movements adhering to this platform:

• Accept and promote the boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions and divestment from companies that contribute to Israel’s grave violations of international law and human rights;
• Support the call of Palestinian civil society for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and accept the guidelines on its implementation issued by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) through the Palestine Boycott National Committee (BNC).
• Agree to develop and strengthen the boycott until the Palestinian people secure a resolution of their current injustices in compliance with international law and internationally acknowledged human rights.

Europe, through both its individual states and its principal integrating institutions, plays a key role in the maintenance of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.
This support has been maintained despite Israel’s repeated and well-documented violations of the human rights of Palestinians living as citizens of Israel, under Israeli occupation or as refugees. In so doing Europe’s institutions ignore and negate the principles of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms which underpin their foundational statements. It therefore falls to European civil society to act to secure their compliance with these principles.

Boycott, divestment and sanctions is a non-violent and moral strategy for achieving change where the decades long programme of ‘building bridges’ to the oppressor has manifestly failed. The academic and cultural boycott is especially apposite, given the complicity of Israeli academic and cultural institutions in the gross curtailment of Palestinian academic and cultural freedoms through their direct and indirect support
of government policy. The important contribution of BDS, including academic and cultural boycott, to the ending of South African apartheid demonstrates the potential effectiveness of this approach.

We urge all European academics, professionals and cultural practitioners to consult their consciences and reconsider any links they have, or are contemplating, with Israeli institutions in their fields. We urge those who wish to achieve justice in the Middle East and to promote respect for international law around the world to form local, regional and national structures for the promotion of this boycott. We will assist and advise in the formation of such organisations in order to achieve a continent-wide coordination of academic and cultural boycott activities.
Paris 26 September 2010"

Poster from a Belgian extreme anti-Israel blog based in Charleroi, supported by ... Pierre Galand.

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