The following press release was issued by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel:
Occupied Palestine, June 7, 2016 — The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) salutes all the members of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) who voted in favor of a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions. The resolution was narrowly defeated by a margin of 39 votes, 2,423:2,384.
Prof. Haidar Eid, a PACBI Steering Committee member who teaches literature in Gaza, said: “This statistical tie, with a negligible difference of 0.8%, exposes Israel’s weakness in combatting the BDS movement. All of Israel’s intimidation, smearing, and well-oiled lobbying could hardly blunt the rising tide of support for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality.”
“At a time when New York Governor Cuomo is passing anti-democratic, McCarthyite executive orders to ban boycotts of Israel, and the Democratic Party presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is making pronouncements against the movement, the high support for the academic boycott of Israel at the AAA shows that supporters of Palestinian rights are not deterred and no longer afraid to speak out publicly. The tide is clearly turning.”
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement was launched in 2005 by the overwhelming majority in Palestinian society to build grassroots pressure on the Israeli government until it complies with with its obligations under international law by ending its occupation, apartheid and denial of Palestinian refugee rights. The BDS movement is rooted in a long heritage of Palestinian popular resistance and inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement and the US Civil Rights movement. Despite numerous efforts to silence Palestinian rights advocates, Americans are growing more aware of Israel’s human rights abuses, and the BDS movement is gaining support in the United States.
At the latest AAA conference, 88% voted for the boycott of Israeli academics institutions over their “complicity in planning, implementing, justifying and whitewashing Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid,” as PACBI commented at the time.
Prof. Samia Botmeh, a PACBI Steering Committee member who teaches economics at Birzeit University, commented: “PACBI wishes to acknowledge, with gratitude, the determined efforts of all the academics who diligently and strategically worked on and endorsed this resolution in this prevailing climate of intimidation, both in the US academy and by branches of the US government. They have paved the way for a discussion on Israel’s violations of international law and have exposed the taboo surrounding criticism of Israel.”
“The AAA results are rejuvenating and are cause for all BDS supporters to redouble efforts as we see the rising support for Palestinian rights.”