The Israeli State of Exception and the Case for Academic Boycott

By David Lloyd and Malini Johar Schueller

Since the initial call for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel issued by Palestinian intellectuals in October 2002, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), launched in April 2004, has been perhaps the most significant element in an international and growing movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Endorsed by over 170 Palestinian organizations, including the Federation of Unions of Palestinian Universities’ Professors and Employees, BDS and PACBI are widely popular, nonviolent means to pursue the end of a regime of occupation, siege, dispossession, and discrimination that Israel has imposed with almost complete impunity for decades. A rights-based campaign that calls on civil society internationally to seek redress for gross violations of international law and human rights in the face of governments’ refusal to act, PACBI has called for an institutional boycott, that is, a boycott not of individual academics or artists but of educational and cultural institutions whose complicity in the maintenance and furtherance of occupation is indubitable and continuing. It also calls for the boycott of institutions or cultural organizations that operate explicitly under the auspices of the Israeli state, as ambassadors who seek to normalize the occupation and to promote a benevolent image of Israel as part of its campaign of propaganda.

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