Palestine, Boycott, and Academic Freedom: A Reassessment Introduction

By Bill V. Mullen

The creation of the state of Israel in 1948 on land home to generations of Arab Palestinians is the contemporary world’s most egregious instance of settler colonialism. This ethnic cleansing, which included the displacement of 750,000 people in what Palestinians call the Nakba, or catastrophe, has engendered one of the longest-standing campaigns of resistance by an occupied people to permanent political and economic subordination by another nation. 

Since the end of the second intifada against Israeli occupation, Palestinian resistance has been buttressed by a global boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. In 2004, Palestinian civil society formed the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). Modeled on the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement against South African apartheid rule, PACBI called for a boycott of all Israeli academic and cultural institutions. 

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