About BAB

Berlin Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (BAB)

We believe – in accordance with the United Nations and other institutions of the International community – that an unlawful occupation and repression of the Palestinian people in Palestine-Israel is taking place. In line with this assessment, our conviction is that it is the legitimate right of an international civil society to use boycott as non-violent means of resistance. The goal of boycotting is to bring an end to the violation of human rights through a boycott of the Israeli state apparatus as well as Israeli and international joint ventures in economy, culture and academia. As BAB our main focus is to emphasize the institutionalized cultural and academic joint undertakings between Germany and Israel.

Background

Since Israel’s founding in 1948, and evermore since its occupation of the West-Bank, Golan Hights and Gaza in 1967, Israel has continuously deprived the Palestinian people of their universal human rights to life and liberty[1].  Along with the siege of Gaza, Israel is in violation of a number of UN resolutions, denies the right of return of Palestinian refugees expelled from their homes in 1948, and continues to build a separation wall and settlements in the West Bank. As another means of this repressive system the state erects hundreds of checkpoints in order to control residents of its Occupied Territories and East Jerusalem, and constructs segregated road systems between Palestinians and Jews. Additionally, the implementation of Israeli law is most of the time based upon racist supremacy and, thus, in conjunction with the above-mentioned facts, is similar  to what the international community witnessed for a long time in South African Apartheid[2].

The German hegemonic narrative is to unconditionally support Israel and its actions as well as to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.  This narrative uses and instrumentalizes the tragedy of the Holocaust to silence those who speak out against human rights violations of Israeli politics and its international accomplices.

A Call For Boycott

Our campaign takes the South African struggle against apartheid as its inspiration. More importantly, it is an answer to the 2002 Palestinian civil society call for a comprehensive economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel. In particular, we view the academic component of the Palestinian call to be of significant importance, because of a long and strong history of German-Israeli academic exchanges and collaborations. Academic knowledge is generated in order to fuse into and thus shape public discourse. In this vein, we would also like to emphasize the interdependency, complicity and genealogy of academic knowledge and colonization generally. Finally, as a human right, we fully endorse academic freedom, but we will not permit the exploitation of an academic environment for normalizing and legitimizing Israeli Apartheid.

Thus, we join and support the 2004 call by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). Our mission is based on the adoption of PACBI’s guidelines that calls on boycotting Israeli academic institutions by applying the following:

1. Refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions;

2. Advocate a comprehensive boycott of Israeli institutions at the national and international levels, including suspension of all forms of funding and subsidies to these institutions;

3. Promote divestment and disinvestment from Israel by international academic institutions;

4. Work toward the condemnation of Israeli policies by pressing for resolutions to be adopted by academic, professional and cultural associations and organizations;

5. Support Palestinian academic and cultural institutions directly without requiring them to partner with Israeli counterparts as an explicit or implicit condition for such support.

We call on our colleagues and German institutions to boycott Israeli-German academic joint ventures until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination, and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:

1. Ending the occupation and colonization of all occupied lands, dismantling the Wall, and respecting the property rights of all dispossessed Palestinians or their families;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality;

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

These three stipulations are meant as paramount preconditions for a comprehensive justice and viable peace in a prospective future.

The Goal And Future of The Movement

Only once these demands are met will a just solution be possible for ending Israel’s occupation and Apartheid policies.  Until then, we believe that boycott has proven successful, in instances like South Africa, India, and the United States civil rights era.  But most importantly, whilst being committed to a truly just and peaceful solution, it is a democratic means for members of an international civil society anywhere to promote dialogue and foster communication between Palestinians and Israelis.


[1] 4th Geneva Convention – Article 47-49 is cited when dealing with “individual and/or mass forcible transfers”. Article 33 deals with collective punishment as a war crime. Furthermore, the “right to resist peacefully” is cited in the UN declaration, Paragraph 75 See: http://www.universalhumanrightsindex.org/hrsearch/viewAnnotation.do;jsessionid=10DDD5BA5617318588980CE0C9D71137?bodyId=854&documentId=830&annotationId=87803&lang=en

[2] International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, New York, 30 November 1973; http://untreaty.un.org/cod/avl/ha/cspca/cspca.html; Twenty-eighth Session of the General Assembly, Third Committee, 2006th meeting, 25 October 1973: Continuation of the discussion on the Draft Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.

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