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160 academics urge EU to ban Israeli universities complicit in Tel Aviv crimes

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Palestinian protester returns a teargas canister toward Israeli forces in the town of Beita, near the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, on July 16 2021. (Photo by AFP)

One hundred and sixty academics from 21 countries demand that the European Union exclude all Israeli academic institutions complicit in the regime’s violation of international law and the rights of Palestinians from the EU’s taxpayer-funded research programs.

This is according to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa quoting a press statement issued by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on Friday.

The academics include the past and current recipients of some of the most prestigious EU research funding programs, including the European Research Council and the Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellowship.

Israel’s latest round of violence, the statement said, was part of its “decades-long campaign of repression” against “Palestinians who are an occupied, stateless people under a settler-colonial and apartheid regime.”

The statement commended an existing policy of the EU which bans the allocation of research funds to Israeli entities located in the occupied territories.

The European Commission recently announced that research and innovation activities funded by the union must comply with ethical principles and be in conformity with international law. This, however, has not been the case on several occasions.

The EU should extend “the prohibition of European research funds to include Israeli institutions complicit in Israel's violations of Palestinian human rights, regardless of where they are situated,” the statement read.

It also pointed to evidence on “the relationship between Israeli academic institutions and the systematic state practices of settler colonialism, and the crimes of apartheid and persecution.”

There has been an “emerging consensus among some of the most prominent human rights organizations,” the statement added, and war crimes perpetrated by Israel are characteristic of a single regime expanding from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

In recent weeks, nearly 350 academic departments, programs, unions, and associations, and over 23,000 university faculties, staff, and students have endorsed statements supporting the Palestinian rights or calling for accountability measures to end complicity in Israel's violations.

The BDS movement was initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations that were pushing for “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”

Tens of thousands of volunteers worldwide have since then joined the movement, which calls for people and groups across the world to cut economic, cultural and academic ties to Tel Aviv, to help promote the Palestinian cause.


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