The following appeal was issued on 29 December 2008:
The Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees condemns in the strongest possible terms the bombing today of the campus of the Islamic University in Gaza. This wanton destruction of an academic institution is only the latest in the ongoing lethal campaign launched by the Israeli government and army against Palestinian society in the Gaza Strip. This murderous rampage has caused more than 300 deaths and the injury of close to 1,500 Palestinians. And the carnage continues with impunity.
We add our voice to the urgent appeal issued two days ago by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) urging international civil society not just to protest and condemn Israel’s massacre in Gaza, but also to join and intensify the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel to end its impunity and to hold it accountable for its persistent violations of international law and Palestinian rights. We agree that, without sustained, effective pressure by people of conscience the world over, Israel will continue with its gradual, rolling acts of genocide against the Palestinians, burying any prospects for a just peace under the blood and rubble of Gaza, Nablus and Jerusalem.
Today, at the height of the lethal Israeli assault against the Palestinian people in Gaza, we are met with deafening silence emanating from the Israeli academy. Does it condone the murderous bombing campaign that its government is carrying out in the name of all Israelis? Are the members of the academy dutifully preparing for the reserve call-up just approved by their government, ready to serve in the death squads committing war crimes around the clock? Are Israeli universities willing to call for an end to the occupation? Are they going to cut their organic and deep-rooted ties with the military-security establishment? There is no doubt that the aggression against the Gaza Strip has reached horrendous proportions, described by many international public figures as constituting war crimes and a continuation of the ethnic cleansing unleashed 60 years ago.
We urge academics around the world to intensify their boycott of Israeli academic institutions, and to isolate the Israeli academy in international forums, associations of academics, and other international venues. Israeli academic institutions are complicit in the entrenched system of oppression practiced by the Israeli state, and their silence at this critical moment is only the most vociferous indicator of this complicity.
Dr. Amjad Barham
Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees