Sami Shaath | Birzeit University Professors and Employees Union | 20 January 2014
Letter of Support from Birzeit University Professors and Employees Union to the ASA
January 20, 2014
Dear American Studies Association colleagues,
The Birzeit University Professors and Employees Union, which represents more than 700 staff members at the University, wishes to acknowledge, with gratitude, the determined efforts of all the academics who diligently worked on and endorsed the American Studies Association’s unprecedented resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions on December 16th 2013.
Palestinian academics, students and society at large deeply appreciate and are inspired by this most effective expression of international solidarity. As in the boycott against South African apartheid, the Israel boycott is based on the proven logic of effective solidarity with the oppressed as the most morally and politically sound contribution to the struggle to end oppression and to promote the cause of justice, freedom and equality for Palestinians.
The role of the Israeli academy in planning, implementing, justifying and whitewashing Israel’s grave violations of international law and Palestinian rights is by now well documented. From weapons development to fabricating archeology to partnership with the military-security establishment to promoting racist perceptions of Arab society and the “Arab mind,” the Israeli academy is one of the main pillars of Israel’s multi-tiered system of colonial oppression and apartheid.
This decision cannot but be viewed as a triumph for the logic of academic boycott against Israel’s complicit academy, as consistently reflected in the positions of the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) and the BDS movement worldwide. It is, indeed, a significant step in the direction of holding Israeli institutions accountable for their collusion in maintaining the state’s occupation, colonization and apartheid regime against the Palestinian people. As former South African cabinet minister and ANC leader Ronnie Kasrils wrote in the Guardian, “Israeli universities are not being targeted for boycott because of their ethnic or religious identity, but because of their complicity in the Israeli system of apartheid.” 
We salute the American Studies Association’s vote of solidarity with the Palestinians.
Sami Shaath- Head of Birzeit University Professors and Employees Union
Posted on 23-01-2014