To begin, a good 2004 survey article:
[url=[=red]"Building">http://www.flwi.ugent.be/cie/Palestina/palestina174.htm][b]"B... the Academic Boycott in Britain", by Hilary Rose, Professor Emerita of Social Policy (University of Bradford)[/url]
Palestinian Universities operate under unacceptable conditions. At intervals the Israeli army simply closes teaching down, and even when teaching is going on enters the campuses and harasses and arrests both students and staff. At al-Quds University in Occupied East Jerusalem Israel proposes to build a section of the Wall on the campus itself. Travelling to study or teach means crossing checkpoints with no certainty about making the classroom. One academic on his way to teach was stopped at the checkpoint because he was "under 45" -a rule made up that day by the commanding officer. Another was refused permission to cross, on the grounds that as an assistant professor he was only an assistant to the professor so could not possibly be giving a lecture. It's tough enough teaching under occupation, but to be thus personally frustrated and humiliated is intolerable. Whilst these are actions of the IDF under the authority of the Israeli state, it is important to remember that Israeli academic and research institutions have been actively or passively complicit in these acts. A few brave Israeli academics have protested (Dr Ilan Pappe says no more than a handful at most) but in the main academics, along with their institutions, have been content to continue to benefit from the fruits of repression.
Benefiting from the fruits of repression without vocal and strong opposition is to support tacitly the current regime. It is for this reason that the common suggestion, that Israeli academics are a source of liberal opposition to a regime condemned by Amnesty International, and so should be protected from criticism, is frankly unsustainable. ...
The original moratorium call was made more than two and a half years ago. Despite support for the call from within the European parliament, the Commission has refused to change its policies. However, increasing numbers of academics and others from civil society have responded publicly or privately in enacting the moratorium or various forms of boycott. Furthermore, these moves have had a considerable impact in Israel itself, whose newspapers, increasingly uncomfortable with the analogy with the South African boycotts and sanctions, have given it considerable coverage. Israeli universities have begun to feel the impact, finding it necessary to organise institutionally ‘to defend their academic freedom and fight the boycott'.
An entire new impetus to the campaign was given in the spring of 2004 when Palestinian civil society, academics, trade unions and NGO's under the umbrella of Palestine Call for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) made their call for a comprehensive boycott of Israeli academic institutions while seeking to connect to those Israelis who courageously continued to struggle for a just peace. PACBI's call has both united major sectors of Palestinian civil society on this issue, but has also galvanised a new move within Europe and beyond. With the PACBI call for a cultural and academic boycott many of those who supported the ERA moratorium have felt the need to think again. One of the results of this rethinking has led to a group of British based academics establishing BRICUP - the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (www.bricup.org.uk) which both supports the boycott campaign and works directly with Palestinian academics without the need for them to seek Israeli partners. BRICUP is dedicated to the academic boycott but there are encouraging signs that it will be extended by artists, writers and musicians to include the arts and culture more widely. There are similar boycott campaigns developing across the world from Australia to the USA.
Boycott offers a strategy and a tactic of non-violence, of mobilising civil society nationally and internationally against the Israeli's state policy of bloody repression and for a just peace. We know, from the historic experience of South Africa, that a boycott movement culminating in UN sanctions can produce justice and freedom. Yes the Palestine Israel situation is not identical with that of South Africa, but the analogy is politically helpful- because the eventual outcome was freedom. To explore how we may develop in detail (and the details are not easy) a strategy and tactic towards securing a just peace and a feeling of security for all the inhabitants of this small fraction of the earth's surface - including those displaced by more than forty years of conflict- is both imperative and urgent.