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Friday, May 20, 2005


Palestinian Call for Academic Boycott Receives South African Endorsement

The Call for Boycott issued by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) received today the critical endorsement of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) -- representing millions -- and of more than a hundred South African academics, including Dennis Brutus, John Pampallis, Steven Friedman, Adam Habib and Judy Favish.

PACBI has called for a comprehensive boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions due to their complicity in Israel’s racist and colonial policies. The Association of University Teachers (AUT) in Britain heeded that call in its Council meeting on 22 April 2005, when it voted to boycott Bar-Ilan and Haifa Universities as well as to consider boycotting the Hebrew University.

In October 2004, a similar call for comprehensive boycott of Israel was endorsed by major South African organizations and unions, including the Congress Of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), Landless People’s Movement, South African NGO Coalition, Anti-War Coalition and Physicians for Human Rights. That initiative, led by the Palestine Solidarity Committee in South Africa, was modelled after the anti-apartheid boycott and sanctions regime that eventually brought about democratic rule in South Africa.

This momentous support for boycotting Israel comes in the context of the rapidly growing South African awareness and recognition of the significant parallels between Israel’s distinct form of apartheid and its South African predecessor. It also expresses a laudable moral stand by South Africans in solidarity with the people of Palestine.

Whatever the outcome of the frantic, well-oiled efforts by Israel and its supporters to overturn the AUT boycott decisions, using misinformation, intimidation and vilification of the boycott activists, the most significant achievement that will persist is the fact that boycotting Israel has been solidly placed on the international agenda as a morally and politically sound form of civil resistance to Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)
P.O. Box 1701, Ramallah, Palestine

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