The Palestinian grassroots movement Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) calls for boycotting goods produced in Israeli colonies and all Israeli academic institutions which have not dissociated themselves from Israel's apartheid policy and discrimination against the Palestinians (whether those who have Israeli citizenship or the Palestinians under the colonial Israeli occupation in the West Bank). This movement is creating a kind of tsunami that is drowning the legality of the Zionist entity (Israel) among the different nations.
"Swedish universities must not participate in research or any other type of cooperation with Israeli academic institutions. The Swedish Government should act for the cessation of EU's research support to Israel, which will inevitably strengthen the continued occupation of Palestine", was the call recently signed by 218 Swedish Academicians. So far no Israeli academic institution has dissociated itself from Israeli apartheid/ colonial policy which means all Israeli academic institutions must be boycotted. The initiative to the call was taken by the action group for boycott of Israel at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm which has close collaboration with the Israeli military in developing new type of drones and pilotless planes. This Swedish Institute is collaborating with Elbit, Israel's biggest weapons producer.
The tsunami of the BDS for academic boycott is gathering momentum. The biggest student union in Europe, the Union of London's 20 universities and colleges, compromising 120,000 students, has decided to support the boycott.
In Norway, 100 prominent academicians have signed an appeal to the same end. The Staff Association of McGill University in Montreal, the Student Unions in Uppsala and of Berkeley, California have also signed similar appeals. The University of Johannesburg actually has completely stopped its cooperation with Ben Gurion University in Israel. It is worth noting that the reasons which are building the tsunami of boycott, divestment and sanctions are the following:
- The Israeli colonial occupation of Palestine denies basic human rights to Palestinians.
- Israel refuses to comply with UN resolutions, including the ones stating that Palestinian refugees have the right of return according to UN resolution (194).
- For subjecting the Palestinian population to the daily harassment forcing them out of more and more areas, as happened in apartheid South Africa.
- For the deep complicity of Israeli academic institutions in Israel's occupation of Palestine.
- For confiscating more and more Palestinian land to expand and build new illegal colonies against International Law.
- For jailing for years many Palestinians (including children) without charging them and without any trial.
- For literally stealing underground Palestinian water to quench the thirst of Israelis leaving the Palestinian thirsty and without water.
The academic boycott is aimed at isolating Israel as rogue state i.e. outside international law and human decency. This initiative is creating upheaval among conscientious Jews around the world including Israel besides all people with conscience who now see the Zionist state as a serious threat to world peace and international security. The criminal behaviour of the extreme political right that is ruling Israel (which is uprooting Palestinians along with olive trees in Palestinian farms and burning Islamic houses of worship) is sparking extreme hatred against Israel throughout the Islamic world which is creating extremism among some Muslims.
The tsunami of BDS is a tsunami of conscience that is awakening the people of the world to see the ugly face of the colonial Israeli rule of occupied Palestine.
This tsunami of conscience was initiated by a Palestinian (Omar Barghouti) the founder of BDS, backed by numerous conscientious volunteers. Indeed, BDS is the conscientious way to end the colonial occupation of Palestine with the help of people of conscience, including many Jews and Israelis as happened to the apartheid regime of South Africa.
If the peaceful way of civil resistance employed by BDS fails to end this colonial occupation, then, extreme militancy would gain the upper hand and the whole world would become involved in this conflict. And this will only bring utter destruction with it. It is time for the world to act for its own sake.
Professor As'ad Abdul Rahman is the Chairman of the Palestinian Encyclopaedia.