We, Israeli professors for justice and peace, do hereby appeal to researchers, academics, scholars, and teachers in Israel and throughout the world to take a firm and clear stand against continuing occupation and denial of rights. We are of course referring to the continuing occupation of territories by Britain in which Britain clearly has no right to be. We demand that all British universities be boycotted and all academics at those universities be boycotted until these same people and institutions come out clearly and openly in favor of immediate unconditional removal of all British occupation from these territories. We demand a moratorium on all funding of academic research in Britain by sources for funding everywhere and divestment from Britain in all its forms.
Unlike Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the latter of which is not occupied any longer in any way, which has lasted a mere 40 years, but Britain’s occupations of territories has lasted centuries. Take for example the clearly illegal British occupation of Gibraltar. There, Britain maintains an illegal settlement in open defiance of all international accepted standards of legitimacy and concepts of national rights. Moreover, Britain has placed there an illegal security fence that prevents non-British nationals from entering Gibraltar. This apartheid fence is a human rights atrocity and must be torn down at once. And until it is, the entire world should divest from Britain and boycott British universities.
Then there are those clearly illegal British settlements constructed on occupied Argentinian territory in the Falkland Islands. What clearer example is there of the continuing colonial aggression of white European imperialism against the Third World?!
But Britain’s illegal settlements have also been constructed elsewhere. Britain continues to maintain settlements on the Channel Islands that obviously belong to France. While it is true that Britain earlier ended its occupation of Hong Kong and India, that is no excuse for its settlements elsewhere. After all, Israel ended its occupation of Sinai but that has not stopped the British University and College Union, representing more than 120,000 college-level educators, from voting May 30 to pass a resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli academics and universities as well as a moratorium on European Union funding of Israeli research. And what aboutBritain’s occupation forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. True, Afghanistan and Iraq were terrorist enclaves, but since when does THAT serve as legitimization of dispatch of occupation forces? British professors clearly do not think that Israel has any right to use force against terrorists attacking its population, so why should British forces do so!
Of course the very worst cases of illegal British occupation of the territories of The Other are in Wales, Scotland and Ireland. These are occupations imposed upon those oppressed population by force of arms. And in Ireland, the occupation produced genocidal levels of mortality. These occupations have lasted for centuries!
The moral indifference by British academics to these continued barbarous occupations and to the denial of self-determination for Scots, Welsh, andthe Northern Irish is clearly as unforgivable as the failure of some academics in apartheid South Africa to speak out against abuses there. Moreover, Britain itself is a racist apartheid society. Not only the Welsh, but Moslems, blacks, and Asians suffer from discrimination and disadvantage inside Britain. Their wages are lower than those of white Englishmen and they face discrimination in housing! British universities have failed to redress these inequalities. If divestment from South Africa was justified, how much more so must it be in THIS case. In fact, 27 British professors have ENDORSED our calls for imposing an international boycott oftheir own universities! These courageous heroic souls must be supported!
We have sat in silence for much too long. The time has come. Please join us in calling for an open-ended boycott of British academics and universities until all these cases of occupation are ended!
Israeli Professors for Justice and PeaceSteven Plaut, Chairperson