Australian Academic Boycott.

While the call for a boycott of Israeli academics in Australia is not a new one the following statement is an indication of the renewed vigour for such action in the wake of the Gaza attack. Ali Abunimah explains, in a recent article, that the time is ripe to pressure Israel to end the brutality of its occupation. In this Mission Statement  Australia joins other countries in an “unprecedented expression of support for boycott, divestment and sanctions from major trade unions in Italy, Canada and New Zealand”.

Mission statement: Australian Academic Boycott of Israel

We are an Australian campaign focused specifically on a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions.

We do so because we support the call made by Palestinian civil society to join the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. This was delineated by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI in the following statement:

In light of Israel’s persistent violations of international law and
* given that, since 1948, hundreds of UN resolutions have condemned Israel’s colonial and discriminatory policies as illegal and called for immediate, adequate and effective remedies
* given that all forms of international intervention and peace-making have until now failed to convince Israel to comply with humanitarian law, to respect fundamental human rights and to end its occupation and oppression of the people of Palestine
* in view of the fact that people of conscience in the international community have historically shouldered the moral responsibility to fight injustice, as exemplified in the struggle to abolish apartheid in South Africa through diverse forms of boycott, divestment and sanctions
We scholars, inspired by the wishes of Palestinian civil society call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world
* to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.
* We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel.
* We also invite conscientious Israelis to support this Call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace

Following the PACBI call and in concurrence with its fundamental objectives we believe that nonviolent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Palestinian and Arab lands and dismantling the Wall which separates Palestinians from their arable lands;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality;

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”

The principles guiding our campaign and the three goals outlined above are also points of unity for the British, Canadian, and US Campaigns for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. There can be no academic freedom in Israel/Palestine unless all academics are free and all students are free to pursue their academic desires.

If you are committed to these principles of unity, and wish to work on a campaign of boycotting academic and cultural institutions guided by this approach, please join our campaign.

Gaza is but the latest incident in a series of ongoing Israeli massacres, from Deir Yassin (1948) to Kafr Kassim (1956) to Jenin (2002) to the wars on Lebanon (from 1980s to 2006). All demonstrate a pattern of violence by a state that will not end its violations of international law and war crimes on its own, without international pressure. We must act now. As academics we wish to focus on campaigns in our universities and in institutions of higher education to advocate for compliance with the academic and cultural boycott, a movement that is growing internationally across all segments of global civil society.

This call for an academic and cultural boycott parallels the call in the non-academic world for divestment, boycott and sanctions by trade unions, churches and other civil society organizations in countries such as the United States, Canada, Italy, Ireland, Norway, the United Kingdom, Brazil, South Africa and New Zealand.


Since Israeli academic institutions (mostly state-controlled) and the vast majority of Israeli intellectuals and academics have either contributed directly to maintaining, defending or otherwise justifying the above forms of oppression, or have been complicit in them through their silence, we call upon our colleagues to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel’s occupation, colonization and system of apartheid, by applying the following:

1. Refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions;

2. Advocate a comprehensive boycott of Israeli institutions at the national and international levels, including suspension of all forms of funding and subsidies to these institutions;

3. Promote divestment and disinvestment from Israel by academic institutions;

4. Work toward the condemnation of Israeli policies by pressing for resolutions to be adopted by academic, professional and cultural associations and organizations;

5. Support Palestinian academic and cultural institutions directly without requiring them to partner with Israeli counterparts as an explicit or implicit condition for such support.

As educators and scholars of conscience in Australia, we fully support this call. We urge our colleagues, nationally, regionally, and internationally, to stand up against Israel’s ongoing attacks on the rights of Palestinians to education, land, and human dignity, and to support the nonviolent call for academic boycott, disinvestment, and sanctions.

Please email us with your full name and institutional affiliation if you fully endorse the Mission Statement of the Australian ACBI Campaign and authorize us to use your name publicly:

9 Responses to Australian Academic Boycott.

  1. raffegold says:

    This boycott is dangerous and idiotic. According to this boycott any Israeli academic should be refused invitations on the grounds that they are members of the state of Israel. Essentially this is a collective punishment against the Israeli Professors due to the government of Israel; so even those that did not vote for Kadima are being caught in this net of anti-Israel sentiment.
    What’s most surprising is that the academics of Israel are generally those that are most opposed to military action against the Palestinian population. Traditionally academics are generally anti-war and this sentiment has expanded throughout the last 40 years to include anti-globalization, anti-imperialism and in some cases anti-Western attitudes. The academic boycotts only harm the peace process. There are plenty of ways to initiate violence but only few ways to create peace and one of those ways is through the citizens debating the actions of the government. Academics are considered some of the most well educated individuals in the country and they are being banned from speaking their mind to foreign audiences. If this continues then their voices of debate and reason will be drowned out in all the accusations by the citizens and government of anti-Westernism.

    “If we are to look at Israeli society, it is within the academic community that we’ve had the most progressive pro-peace views and views that have come out in favor of seeing us as equals….If you want to punish any sector, this is the last one to approach.” — Al-Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh on academic boycotts of Israel

    Allow me to point out a few things:

    -llan Pappe was, until recently, posted at the university of Haifa, would this boycott have applied to him?

    -There were no calls of an academic boycott any oppressive regimes in Iran, Sudan, China, Yugoslavia, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Libya, Chad, Zimbabwe etc. Why is Israel singled out by the academics of the world for boycott?

    No good comes from academic boycotts. They will simply silence those Israeli’s that fight for peace and strengthen those who see their backs to the wall in a fight for their lives. No good comes from the gagging of academics. History has shown us that those that silence the academic world, through any methods or for any reason, have always plunged into an ignorant dark age. If you refuse to listen and refute the legitimacy of opposing arguments then I believe you are falling into a vortex of misinformation.

  2. Noor Hammad says:

    “Essentially this is a collective punishment against the Israeli Professors due to the government of Israel…”

    If this is the worst Israeli’s can expect from “collective punishment” they havent got much to worry about.

  3. raffegold says:


    You took a single line out of a 418 word argument and used that to attack an anti-boycott statement. To be honest it wasn’t a very good attack on my argument.

    Want to try that again?

  4. Rosalyn says:


    How about YOU go and review all of your posts on this discussion board which respond to my 1000-word posts, Belinda’s 1000-word posts and Noor’s as well (not to mention Mustafa and Lisa ….) You will note how on many, many occassion you focus on the most insignificant part of people’s posts and refuse to respond to the various parts you do not have will to address or perhaps the intellectual capacity. I think it is you who needs to try again.

    nd just for the record Noor’s post was a sound point – mild discomfort in Israel is nothing to lose sleep over

  5. Belinda says:

    I must hand it to you Raffe, you’re an immensely apt poster boy for Israel…that you’re even still posting is persistant to say the least. The only thought that entered my mind as i perused the bile you posted above, was that if an academic is an academic by your definition, then you are not, and will never be, an academic! So rather than advising others to “try again”,maybe you should just STOP trying!

    And Rosalyn is right, it is your immaturity in your responses, and your petulant victim complex, that leads others to treats your posts with contempt.

  6. Belinda says:

    Just as you seemed unable to comprehend the vast difference between humble resistance and the most corrupt, wealthy, well-oiled killing machine in the world, you seem unable, again, to understand the difference in relation to the term collective punishment. Collective punishment, Raffe, is the open air imprisonment of 1.5 million people, and the systematic destruction of a race. Not a few academics being censored. Whatever makes you think Israeli academics are great bastions of humanity and reason anyway? Are they not part of institutions that reside on stolen land? And you want Arabs to be thankful for their opposition to military action? By the laws of humanity, should any person on this planet have their land, heritage, and culture ripped from under them, and then be thankful that people believe there should be no military action against them? It’s tokenism at its worst, and only because they hold the position of power. If that’s what makes an academic, then my local grocer is an academic! Tut tut, once again, you’ve displayed your idiocy for all to see! The only good Israeli academic is one who refuses to populate the state of Israel, and goes back to where his racial, not religious, roots lie.

  7. raffegold says:


    If you feel that I have not satisfactorily responded to one of your, Belinda’s, Noor’s, Mustafa’s or Lisa’s arguments then please bring it to my attention and i’ll be more than happy to explain my position.

    I was not replying to Noor because of Israel’s ‘mild discomfort’ rather I was hoping for an answer that explain why he thought that academic boycotts were a positive step towards peace in the Middle East; because I believe that is where we are all trying to get to despite our difference of opinion.

  8. llwynn says:

    Hi everyone, thanks for your comments, but please can we keep this on the level of discussing ideas and the big issues at hand rather than letting it devolve into mocking personal attacks? They’re just not very productive and not good for thinking about the big picture.

    I myself have often disagreed with Raffe’s point of view, but I ardently admire the fact that he can engage in civil debate about contentious issues, and I think we should all strive to engage each other with the same level of courtesy.

    Let our arguments be fierce and our tone be respectful and our words be courteous.

    Thanks, Lisa

  9. Belinda says:

    Point taken Lisa, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the smug undertone in certain posts. Civility is often a smokescreen, and i for one, simply cannot mask my passion with sycophantic language. For this reason this will be my last post, and i’d appreciate it if it actually made it onto the blog, as i put a hell of a lot of time and effort into a post on another thread, outlining the reasons why this western notion of “peace” does not afford Arab blood any dignity, and it went missing!

    i will say this though…Raffe, if you had any interest whatsoever in formulating responses that address significant points in all our posts, you would have done so there and then. You were asked to on many an occasion. And you chose not to. So understand why it seems rather gilb to people such as Rosalyn and myself that you felt compelled to respond to Noor in such a fashion.

    And to quote a wise academic…”These days everything gets paraded as an opinion, but really, it’s just stupidity.”

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