Ronnie Fraser, a Zionist member of UCU (University and College Union), with the support of leaders of the UK Jewish establishment attempted to sue his Union for antisemitism.
In an unusually robust judgement the tribunal found the case “an impermissible attempt to achieve a political end by litigious means” and a case which showed a “worrying disregard for pluralism, tolerance and freedom of expression”. The points made by leading lawyer Anthony Julius were dismissed as “palpably groundless”, “obviously hopeless” and “devoid of any merit”.
This is another example of the use of the courts in a lawfare campaign to silence criticism of the policies of Israel and support for Palestinian Rights.
We understand that Professor Stephen Hawking has declined his invitation to attend the Israeli Presidential Conference Facing Tomorrow 2013, due to take place in Jerusalem on 18-20 June. This is his independent decision to respect the boycott, based upon his knowledge of Palestine, and on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there.
UPDATE 8 May 1600 BDT: The statement above has been issued with the specific endorsement of Professor Hawking's office. His staff sent us the following message on 7 May "Just spoken to Tim [Tim Holt, Acting Director of Communications for Cambridge University] and we are both in agreement with the quote - and as you say - sensible to get this out rather than a lot of differing opinions." We have seen the letter that Professor Hawking sent to the Jerusalem organisers giving his clear reasons for not attending and are seeking his permission to release the letter but will not do so until we have his approval. We regret the misinformation being circulated about this matter.
“We have now received confirmation from Professor Hawking’s office that a letter was sent on Friday to the Israeli President’s office regarding his decision not to attend the Presidential Conference, based on advice from Palestinian academics that he should respect the boycott.
“We had understood previously that his decision was based purely on health grounds having been advised by doctors not to fly.”
They always had that knowledge (see 1600 update). We await apologies from the participants in the Hasbara storm who accused us of lying.
Professor Hawking's letter on 3 May to the conference organisers said, "I accepted the invitation to the Presidential Conference with the intention that this would not only allow me to express my opinion on the prospects for a peace settlement but also because it would allow me to lecture on the West Bank. However, I have received a number of emails from Palestinian academics. They are unanimous that I should respect the boycott. In view of this, I must withdraw from the conference. Had I attended, I would have stated my opinion that the policy of the present Israeli government is likely to lead to disaster."
A brief history of Stephen Hawking's boycott - The Daily Beast The story of how BRICUP got accused of lying but was later vindicated.
Stephen Hawking's message to Israeli elites: The occupation has a price Noam Sheifaz 972 Magazine
Teachers Union of Ireland calls for Academic Boycott of Israel in unanimous vote; first academic union in Europe to do so
At its Annual Congress, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) became the first academic union in Europe to endorse the Palestinian call for an academic boycott of Israel. The motion, which refers to Israel as an “apartheid state”, calls for “all members to cease all cultural and academic collaboration with Israel, including the exchange of scientists, students and academic personalities, as well as all cooperation in research programmes” was passed by a unanimous vote.
Following on the Israeli Government's attempt to close down the politics department at Ben Gurion University because its research does not follow the Government line Netanyahu bars distinguished academic Prof. Rivka Feldhay from a meeting with Chancellor Merkel.
PM slammed for 'harming academic freedom' - Ha'aretz
BRICUP played an active role in ensuring that teh Academic boycott was full discused at the WSF-Free Palestine in Porto Alegre, Brazil, November 28-December 1, 2012. The event was successful in energizing a cadre of Brazilian students to vcampaign ot extend Academic Boycott activities to Latin America.
Stevie Wonder was one of the staunchest opponents of Apartheid South Africa. He has caused great pain to many of his fans worldwide by his decision to play in a benefit for the 'Friends of the Israeli Defence Force' in LA on 6 December. Not only is Israel imposing its own apartheid system on its Palestinian inhabitants, last week it announced plans for a segregated apartheid bus service, but it was the last best friend of white South Africa.
BRICUP has issued an open letter appealing to him to change his mind.
Read BRICUP's open letter
Send your own message to his manager Robert Norman
Phone Robert Norman +1(424) 288-2000
Sign the petition to Stevie Wonder
Post a message on Stevie Wonder's Facebook page
Like the Stevie Wonder say No to Israeli Defense Forces Gala Facebook page
Jonathan Rosenhead confronted leading Zionist Israeli academic Professor Mordechai Kedar on Birmingham's Unity FM radio on 23 November.
Jonathan Rosenhead convincingly dismissed the thin and contradictory arguments put forward by Kedar to excuse Israel's attack on Gaza.
Alice Walker and Roger Waters call on Carnegie Hall to cancel Israel Philharmonic Orchestra performance
Cultural workers and social justice leaders have called on New York's Carnegie Hall to cancel this week’s performance of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and respect the Palestinian-led boycott.
Adalah-NY posted an open letter, which has been signed by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and social justice activist Alice Walker, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, Palestinian American poet and activist Remi Kanazi, and dozens of others.
PACBI have produced an action plan to carry forward on a global basis BRICUP's work in opposing Hasbara studies in UK universities.
Batsheva, the leading Israeli Dance company attracted protest and disruption when they performed at the Edinburgh International Festival. BRICUP have followed up that protest with an open letter demanding they cancel the rest of their UK tour unless they 'at least decline Ministry of Foreign Affairs funding, and state publicly that Batsheva will not be used to cover up the Occupation'.
Over 600 academics from across the globe have signed a petition to the Israeli Council of Higher Education (CHE) calling on them not to close the Department of Politics and Government of Ben Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), despite evidence form their own enquiry of the high academic standing of the department.
The attack on BGU politics department is part of the campaign by the Israeli government to silence any critical voices in Israeli Universities and elsewhere.
BRICUP is saddened to learn of the death of Gabi Baramki but joins with all his friends in celebrating his life and achievements.
Batsheva, an Israeli Government supported dance company were invited to appear at the Edinbugh International Festival. A widely supported, including leading Scottish cultural figures like Liz Lochhead and Iain Banks, letter of protest was sent to the Festival organisers but they did not withdraw the invitation.
The Edinburgh City Guide review said:
"The EIF has a duty, to its audience and performers, to behave in a responsible fashion. It is questionable whether inviting a company that is hailed by the Israeli Foreign Ministry as Israel’s, ‘best global ambassadors’, at this particular moment in time, is a responsible act. This performance never had a hope of running smoothly, leaving both audience and artists vulnerable and with a rather nasty taste in the mouth.
The audience were ushered out of the emergency exit doors with the chants from protesters, still outside the building, of ‘Your tickets were covered in Palestinian blood’ ringing in our ears. This was not one of the Edinburgh International Festival’s finest moments."
Read the full Edinbugh Guide account of the protest
Read the debate between Lloyd Newson and boycott supporters including BRICUP members on why this boycott was correct and significant
BRICUP has urged the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at York St John University to cancel its proposed joint conference with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJ) on ‘Mediating Peace: Reconciliation through Art, Music and Film’, in Jerusalem in November 2012, and to end its association until the HUJ ends its complicity in Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine and its human rights abuses against the Palestinian people.
250 European academics tell the EU 'end involvement of Israeli arms companies in EU research programs'
Over 250 academics from 14 European countries have written an open letter to Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science to tell her to stop aiding the Israeli arms industry through the EU research programme.
The signatories, include Gérard Toulouse, a member of the French Academy of Science, Malcolm Levitt, a member of the UK Royal Society, and renowned philosopher Slavjoj Zizek. They point out that the involvement of Israeli companies that help Israel violate international law in EU funded research programs “undermines both the reputation of these programs and the stated goals of the European Union and its member states”.
The British Council is sponsoring first ever Israeli Film and Television Festival in London's cinemas in June. They are compunding their support of Apartheid culture by failing to object to ‘a special tasting by Golan Wines’ before many of the screenings.
Golan wines come from he illegally annexed Golan Heights and are an illegal product under international law.
Palestinian rights supporters held a lively protest outside the Globe Theatre on 28 May to codemn the Globe's invitation to Habima Israel's National Theatre. Inside activists, disgusted at Habima's decison to support the illegal occupation by performing in settlements, silently held up banners and were seized and thrown out.
BRICUP's press release
Tony Greenstein blog on events inside
The drama's outside: protests target Israeli take on Shakespeare - report in the Independent
Israeli press reports in Ha'aretz and Ynet and on JTA
A detailed account of events inside the Globe from a neutral theatre criticism blog - The Bardathon
Habima protesters ahead in media war - J-BIG report
Photostream of the protest
Videos of the protest inside and outside the Globe
BRICUP wote to Sir Simon Ratle and Placido Domingo asking them to refuse to go to Israel to receive the $100,000 Wolf Prize.
Sadly they went and took the cheque and the box of chocolates; bouquet of roses and diploma that went with it. They did not even take the opportunity, which previoius recipients had, to use the ceremony as a chance to denounce Israel's crimes or donate the prize money to Palestinain organisations. Then they could have kept the chocolates, roses and diploma and also kept some of their integrity, but times must be tough for global musical super stars and they needed the money more.
Since 2009 several UK universities have created posts in Israel Studies, all funded by external donors with histories of uncritical support for Israel. Some explicitly promote political aims, especially by diverting attention from Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Such efforts threaten academic integrity and freedom.
Bricup has prepared a briefing document to provide guidance about the threat and about strategies for local campaigns of opposition.
Please send further information and comments for future development of the briefing document or requests to support local campaigns via endorsement or practical assistance to email@example.com
Theatrical artists have been recording vidoes to explain their call to Shakespeare's Globe to cancel their invitation to Israel's national Habima Theatre.
- John Calder
- John Graham Davies
- Miriam Margolyes
- 'Hath a Palestinian not eyes?' Boycott
Habima, National Theatre of Israel
Statements by Palestinian rights campaigners
- Ghada Kharmi
- Haim Brasheeth and Mike Cushman
US, Palestinian, Israeli, Turkish and Lebanese organizations have made requests for the Chili Peppers to not cross the international picket line and respect the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. We will continue to bring to light the injustices that Palestinians face as a result of Occupation and apartheid policies and show why BDS is a moral action for artists - including the Red Hot Chilli Peppers - to take.
AS Tal Shipiro from Boycott from Within said "[We must] make sure that no artist can say they didn’t know. Not about the atrocities of the apartheid state and its brutal occupation, and not about the movement to boycott, divest and sanction it."
Following right wing pressure The University of Haifa rescinded permission for a student-organized Nakba Day event, just three hours before the event was to have taken place. The university's president, Aaron Ben-Ze'ev, announced the cancelation even after organizers received permits from all relevant bodies. The Hadash students' organization released a statement saying, "Our feeling is that little by little we are returning to the period of military rule, and from the most unexpected place - academia."
The General Union of Palestinian Writers salutes international writers who are boycotting the Mishkenot Sha'ananim festival and condemns in the strongest terms the participation of writers whose names were announced by the festival organizers as participants. The Union calls on Palestinian intellectuals and cultural workers, writers, novelists, academics and journalists to boycott the festival and not to meet with its participants who are not welcome [among us] as they have shamed themselves.
The organisers of the festival demanded opening speakers must show their speeches to management in advance - in an effort to avoid a repeat of a 2010 speech that criticized Israel. Another example of how Israeli organisations complain, inaccurately, that BDS is censorship while stamping on free speech themselves.
Over 200 NYU faculty and staff have signed a letter calling on TIAA-CREF, the pension provider for the university to divest from Caterpillar, Elbit Systems, Motorola, Veolia, and Northrop Grumman and other firms that profit from Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.
The letter was drafted by NYU Students for Justice in Palestine. It describes Caterpillar's role in home demolitions; Elbit's manufacture of drones used in extra-judicial killings; Motorola's role in is equipping aparteheid wall checkpoints; Veolia's involvement in the settlement servicing light rail; and Northrop Grumman's supply of weapons used in the Cast Lead assault on Gaza.
The signatories include many senior professors of the University. Natable among them is Craig Calhoun, President of the US Social Science Research Council, who will be Director of eh London School of Economics from September.
Ahava, the Israeli cosmetics company that steals its ingredients from Occupied Palestinian land attempted to book Leeds University's Weetwood Hall for a promotional event. A campaign by Leeds students and staff and Leeds PSC put pressure on the vice-chancellor and the booking has been cancelled.
The protest against the Globe Theatre's invitation to Habima, Israel's National Theatre, to perform at this summer's international Olympic Shaespeare festival has gained heavywieight support.
Leading actors and directors including David Calder, Trevor Griffiths, Jonathan Miller, Mark Rylance, Emma Thompson and Harriet Walter signed an open letter published in the Guardian on 30 March.
Read the signatories' press release
Why a cultural boycott of Israel is justified - New Statesman: Ben White on the Habima call and the reactions
Artists refute 'Nazi' slurs over Israeli theatre protest - letter in the Jewish Chronicle
Ashtar Theatre from Palestine call for cancellation of Habima invitation after their Globe performance - video of post prefoemance discussion
Italian activists demanded and were granted the opportunity to to speak prior to the presentation by Hanan Kaminski, director of the school of animation of the Bezalel Academy of Jerusalem. The BDS activists informed the audience that the participation of Bezalel, with the sponsorship and financial support of the Israeli Embassy in Italy, represents one of many attempts by Israel to use culture to rebrand its image and divert attention from policies of occupation, colonialism and apartheid.
In 2005, Nissim Ben-Sheetrit of Israel's Foreign Ministry stated: “We see culture as a propaganda tool of the first rank, and we do not differentiate between propaganda and culture.”
The standard Israeli sponsorship contract states: "The service provider [or in English, the artist] is aware that the purpose of ordering services from him is to promote the policy interests of the State of Israel via culture and art, including contributing to creating a positive image for Israel.
Rome, Italy: Boycott Action Condemning the Use of Culture to Cover Israeli Crimes in Stop Agrexco Italia
Haifa and Tel Aviv Universities are offering course in hasbara for Israeli and International students respectively. Hasbara is the name Israelis give to propaganda and disinformation in defence of Israel and the Occupation.
While many courses in many universities worldwide can be accused of bias these ae unusual in overtly teaching the skills of distortion and lying. Trainers on the courses include: Mark Regev, famous worldwide for defending the indefensible and saying what is convenient rather than what is accurate; and Neil Lazarus who promoted a video falsely claiming tha tteh Gaza Flotilla was homophobic. The Tel Aviv course is supported by Stand with Us an extremist pro-Israel US group associated with Islamophobic funders.
This is yet more evidence of why Israeli Universities should be boycotted: they do not promote the values of disinterested enquiry expected of any university.
Activists in Cambridge are urging the Cambridge University Chamber
Choir under the direction of Tim Brown to cancel their tour of Israel
performing Bach's St Matthew Passion from 20-27 March. They are acting
In keeping with the call by Palestinian NGOs for the academic and cultural
boycott of Israel
Lacking the names of the Choir members, the Cambridge activists sent their letter to its director, administrator and secretary, as well as to officials of the Cambridge University Musical Society. To our knowledge they have not fulfilled this request to forward it to the individual members. Bricup are pleased to post hteir letter on our site to enable dialogue with Choir members.
The Israeli Camerata site names the singers as the 'Academy of English Voices', but the CU Musical Society has confirmed that members of the CU Chamber Choir will indeed be touring.
Sarah Schulman described a the Penn BDS conference the hurdles she had to cross to get the New York Time to publish her article on Pinkwashing and how the paper published a response by the Israeli Embassy with no fact-checking at all.
The year 2011 was a year full of many successes in the campaign for the cultural boycott of Israel. This summary will focus on the cultural boycott with emphasis on musical artists and groups.
The fall of South African apartheid was preceded by many musical artists who joined to create a movement. That movement became known popularly as “I’m not gonna play Sun City.” Israel has not yet seen its Sun City moment fully, but as you’ll see, significant rumblings are beginning.
Terri Ginsberg, a teacher at North Carolina State University was blocked form gaining tenure following her screening a Palestinian film, Ticket to Jerusalem. Senior faculty stated that Dr. Ginsberg's comments caused them to worry that members of the audience would perceive the Film Studies and Middle East Studies programs as "biased." Shortly thereafter, Dr. Ginsberg was forced to resign from the Middle East screening series that she had helped curate; she also went from being the favored candidate for a tenure-track position to being denied so much as an interview.
Despite this clear violation of Terri's First Ammendment rights North Carolina courts have turned down hwer case. We usrge everyong to sign an open letter to North Carolina Supreme Court urging them to hear Terri's appeal.
BRICUP issues open letter to Christoph von Dohnányi: cancel your date with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
German conductor Christoph von Dohnányi recently attracted much attention and praise for cancelling his planned appearances with the Hungarian State Opera saying he did not want to appear in a city ‘whose mayor entrusted the direction of a theatre to two known anti-Semites of the extreme right’.
However von Dohnányi, who is the nephew of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, has acepted an invitation to conduct the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in April. BRICUP is appealing to him to match his welcome opposition to anti-Semitism with equal opposition to Israel's oppression of Palestinians.
Ken Starr (yes, that Ken Starr: Clinton's pursuer) has taken over as President of Baylor University. He has made a priority of victimising leading critical and original Jewish thinker Marc Ellis. Marc is charged with “abuse of authority” but we are not allowed to know what this abuse consists of. Marc's research centre has been closed and his teaching blocked.
Jacques Rancière has cancelled a planned visit to Israel, where he was to lecture at Tel Aviv University following a request from PACBI.
Despite an unprecendented public outcry, Finland's Ministry of Defense is set to go ahead with a controversial collaboration with Israeli arms companies deeply involved in Israel's occupation of Palestinian land. Finland is turning to Israel for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), commonly known as drones.
Among those insisting on a cessation of all forms of military cooperation with Israel are Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, world-renowned expert on international law Martti Koskenniemi and the most distinguished Finnish filmmaker of all time, Aki Kaurismäki. They were joined by more than forty professors, a number of Finlandia Prize winners, Finnish MEPs and MPs, stage and film directors, actors, writers and scholars. The petition encompasses an impressive and exhaustive array of the who's who in Finnish arts, sciences and politics.
Prominent scientists and cultural commentators have signed a letter to The Independent demanding that they end their involvement in the EU funded Nanoretox project which involves Ahava. Ahava is an Israeli cosmetics company that has its headquarters in the Mitzpe Shalem illegal settlement and its products are based on Dead Sea mud illegally extracted from occupied Palestinian territory.
Read the letter
News article in the Independent: Natural History Museum attacked over links to 'illegal' Israeli company
Leave your own comment
Natural History Museum comments page
BRICUP press release on public meeting on Nanoretox project
Reports in the Science press
Cornell University plan to collaborate with Israel’s Technion Israel Institute of Technology to build a joint campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island, including the use of $100 million in public funds.
USACBI point out 'Technion’s role in ethnic cleansing is extensive. One of their most notorious projects led to the creation of “a remote-controlled ‘D9′ bulldozer used by the Israeli army to demolish Palestinian houses and the development of a method for detecting underground tunnels, specifically developed in order to assist the Israeli army in its continued siege on the Gaza Strip.”'
This campaign is suspended pending discussions between PACBI and Amnesty
Unbelieveably Amnesty International is including an Israel performance in support of their “End Repression-Protect Freedom of Expression” campaign. Swedish Metal band, Arch Enemy will perform in Tel Aviv on 24 January.
Dr. David Klein, professor of mathematics at California State University – Northridge, has been attacked for hosting a website supporting the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions. These attacks have falsely labeled Dr. Klein “anti-Semitic” and demanded that his website be removed. It is important to let Chancellor Charles Reed of the California State University know that Dr. Klein’s academic freedom and freedom of expression are very important and must be protected.
BRICUP has added its vosice to the growing campaign initiatede by Boycott from Within for the Globe Theatre to cancel its invitation to Hibima Theatre to take part in its Olympic Shakespeare festival.
Habima regularly performs in Isreal's illegal West Bank settlements and do not represent any legitimate participants ina theatrical dialogue ratjher they have interpreted thier inviatation as 'an honour to te State of Israel'
Read BRICUP's letter
Boycott from Within's response to the Globe
Send your own protest to the Globe Theatre
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre don't entertain Apartheid Appeasers Habima Facebook page
Discussion on Shakespeare's Globe Facebook page
The arrest of Professor Abdel Haq, on Wednesday, December 7, 2011, aims to silence the voices of Palestinian intellectuals and academics who are struggling to expose the continuous crimes of the Zionist state and who are active on the local and international levels to build solidarity networks that struggle to end Israeli Apartheid in Palestine. Professor Abdel Haq is a lawyer and lecturer of Political Economy at An-Najah National University.
- Norman Finkelstein discusses BDS with Jonathan Rosenhead, University College London, 11 November 2011
- Norman Finkelstein public lecture, Logan Hall, London 11 November 2011
Rafeef Ziadah of the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC), 15 October 2011, speaking on the politics behind the BDS campaign at the 5th Boycott Israel Network workshop (BIN5),
Benji from Younger Brother was questioned about their plans, he said, " if I felt refusing to play in Israel would help the Palestinians I would never set foot in Israel". BRICUP is calling on its suporters to explain to him why the cultural boycott does just that.
An influential group of US entertainment industry executives has for the first time launched an organization to counter cultural boycott efforts against Israel, the likes of which contributed to Costello’s canceling of scheduled shows here last year.
Creative Community For Peace (CCFP) pledges to use a wide range of measures to bolster the resolve of artists who sign contracts to perform in or travel to Israel and then face calls from various “boycott groups” to cancel their trips,
BRICUP says "This is more proof of how effective the cultural boycott is and how we must intensify it."
Students at Cambridge have voted to call on the University to cut ties with a company implicated in Israeli human rights abuses.
The vote calls on CUSU (Cambridge University Students Union) to campaign to have the University cut ties with Veolia, a company involved in infrastructure projects in Israeli settlements, and employed by the University on a waste disposal contract. The referendum, which closed on 24 October, passed with a majority of 58% to 41%: there were 898 votes yes, 637 votes no, and 21 ballots spoilt. While a strong majority was in support, the referendum was inquorate: 7.2% of the student body voted, short of the 10% required.
In a victory for the Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Edinburgh University Student Association (EUSA) yesterday overwhelmingly passed a motion through its Student Council to block their contract with security firm G4S, and to lobby the University to follow suit.
G4S currently provide security services to Edinburgh University library, which prompted Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) to begin a campaign to force the University to tear up its contract with the security firm. It was then recently discovered that EUSA were also in the process of hiring the firm for money collecting services. This led to a motion quickly going before Student Council and it was clearly passed, meaning the Union's trustee board must now look for an alternative.
Jadal the journal on the major political and social concerns of the Palestinians in Israel has published a special issue (issue 11) on the boycott. The issue has an editorial and five articles:
- Editorial Boycott: Where to?
- Three Comments on the Boycott Movement | Nimer Sultany
- Entrenching the Boycott in the Principles of the Resistance | Esmail Nashif
- Lessons From South Africa | Diana Buttu
- On Academic Boycott | George Bisharat
- Boycott on U.S. Campuses: From Moral Language to Political Practice | Yaman Salahi
The London Philharmonic Orchestra have suspended four members of the orchestra for 9 months for writing to a newspaper asking the BBC to cancel the invitation to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra to play at the 2011 proms. The four did no know of, or take part in, the demonstration inside the Royal Albert Hall which led the BBC to cancel their broadcast. The suspension followed pressure from Jewish supporters of the orchestra according to the LPO's manager. This is a disgraceful attack on freedom of speech and on democratic non-violent political activity.
Join the FaceBook group calling for re-instatement
Send your own polite but firm message to Timothy Walker, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the LPO
Follow the campaign on Twitter #LPO4
British Rhythm and Blues legends are planning to play at the Barby Club in Tel Aviv on 29 October. BRICUP have sent them an open letter asking them to cancel the gig and folow the example of Elvis Costello, Faithless and many others in refusing to offer support to Israel's apartheid regime.
Read the open letter
Send your own letter to:
Jim McCartney firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Dreja email@example.com
Their US agent, Anne Leighton
Their European agent Nigel Kerr
Yardbirds cancel your trip Facebook page
On 1 September the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is playing at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The IPO has a continuing record of close collaboration with the Israeli armed forces enforcing the occupation of Palestine and assaults on Gaza and has a self-proclaimed ‘partnership’ with the Israeli Defence Forces. They regularly travel to play at Army camps and outposts.
The concert is part of the 'Brand Israel' campaign and BRICUP is collaborating with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to call for a boycott of the concert and a picket of the RAH on 1 September from 6.00 p.m.
Download the flyer
Tweet the Proms @bbcproms to let them know they are supporting apartheid
Email the Proms and let them know you oppose the performance
Letter from 24 musicians in the Independent (scroll down to 'Proms exploited for arts propaganda campaign')
About 40 members of BRICUP, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods and the Boycott Israel Network attended the concert and with singing and chanting continually disrupted the performance. The protestors gained global publicity (over 500 hits on Google News) and was widely reported on BBC Radio and Television. For the first time ever the BBC had to cancel a Proms broadcast because of a protest.
Demonstrators press release
Two videos of the protest
Video produced by protest supporters
Video from the Guardian
Naomi Wimbourne-Idrissi on BBC Any Answers after the disruption of the Israel Philharmonic's Prom concert: 3 September 2011 - podcast.
Google News listing
The Knesset passed its Boycott bill into law on July 11. BRICUP and other pro-Palestinian organisations have campaigned against the legislation during its passage through the Knesset as would be expected; it was far less predictable that a wide range of right-wing and Zionist voices have also denounced this measure as undemocratic and un-Jewish.
The law will mean that anyone who organises, supports, or even provides information useful for, a boycott of Israeli or settlement goods wil jhave to pay a fine The fine willbe paid, not to the state, but to anyone who claims they are boycotted, whether they can show there was harm done to them or not.
The measure has also opened an unexpected divide between arch-advocate Foreign Minister Lieberman and more reluctant supporter Netanyahu, a split that spells serioius trouble for the right wing and ultra-right coalition that rules Israel.
This historic development follows an inspiring meeting of academic boycott activists from nine European countries in Paris in September. Even a year ago such a meeting would have been unthinkable; this meeting demonstrates the widening and deepening of the academic and cultural boycott movement across Europe.
We have marked this historic event by simultaneous publications of special editions the BRICUP and AURDIP (the French complement of BRICUP) newsletters
- Read the founding declaration
- Special issue of BRICUP newsletter
- Special issue of AURDIP newsletter
- epacbi website
- contact epacbi
BRICUP has asked leading American soprano Renee Fleming to cancel her planned concert in Jerusalem. She is planning to appear with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra on 28 July. The concert will be streamed live to 480 cinemas across the USA.
Lecturers at Ben Gurion University, at Be'er Sheva in the Negev, have protested against the University inviting Ayalim to speak to their students. Ayalim has established 14 Jews only student villages, many in the few mixed areas in Israel such as Acre and Be'er Sheva, promoting 'internal settlement' and displacing Palestinians. The Director of Ayalim said "“this is a Zionist association that views settling the Negev and the Galilee as essential challenges and the mission of the country's young generation."
August Burns Red, a phenomenally popular Christian metalcore band, has just cancelled their June 9 concert in Israel. "They have no plans to reschedule," says a reliable source that must remain anonymous. They cancelled because they do not want to play in Israel.
The American software freedom activist Richard Stallman has cancelled a lecture that he was scheduled to give at Tel Aviv University due to pressure from the Palestinian Authority. The funding for his trip came from the Palestinians who invited him to lecture for them, Stallman wrote in a letter explaining the cancellation. He said that they were not pleased that he had been scheduled to lecture at Israeli universities as well, and so withheld funding for his trip.
Community Trade Union (a merger of the old steelworkers and knitwear unions) has been a loyal supporter of Israel on the sayso of its General Secretary. When the members finally got to have asay at its recent conference they comprehensively rejected the leadership's motion.
BRICUP has issued an open letter to Paul Simon demanding that he cancels his Israel tour. BRICUP asked him:
"Are you willing to ‘lend a shoulder’ to daily land-grabs and watergrabs and the inexorable squeezing and stifling of Palestinian lives and hopes? Are you willing to ‘lend a shoulder’ to illegal settlements and illegal military checkpoints, to detention without trial, torture in prison, and the innumerable daily cruelties, small and large, aimed at making Palestinian existence intolerable and driving people out?"
Canadian fil maker John Grayson who will be on the Gaza Flotilla has produced a scintillating new video, Gaza Island calling on artists to cancel their planned Israel concerts and, istead, join or support the
A delegation of senior British trade unionist who visited Palestine in April 2011 have issued a statement deploring the attacks on Palestinian rights that they witnessed includng the spread of illegal settlements; forced evictions; arbitrary detentions; and attacks on civil society organisations.
They called on the the TUC to " re-emphasise its support for the BDS position by writing to all national centres - including Histradut and the PGFTU - with a copy of the 2010 motion. The TUC should call again on all its affiliates and allies to maximise their efforts in pursuit of establishing a pro-BDS position in the European and Global Union Federations. The TUC should also raise the issue with the European TUC by calling on it to support the international BDS campaign and pressing the EU institutions to end the EU-Israel regime of trade privileges until the situation is resolved."
University and College Union congress opposes use of EUMC mis-definition of anti-Semitism and reaffirms support for Boycott
UCU at its 2011 annual congress overwhelmingly passed a series of motions on Palestine. The motions covered:
- Theats to the academic freedom of Palestinian and Israeli academics
- The unlawful detention of Ahmad Qatamesh by Israeli security forces
- The closure of a course at Liverpool University for referring to the low level of medical care available to Palestinians
- Demanding an ethical investment policy by USS (university superannuation scheme)
- Refusal to use the EUMC defintion of anti-Semitism
While the movers of the motions expected hostile criticism from supporters of Israel they did not anticipate the firestorm of abuse levelled at them and thier union for their attitude to the EUMC definition. There was a concerted campagn to denounce UCU as anti-semitic because of their refusal to apply a definition that mad emakes attitudes to Israel a central defining trope of anti-Semitism rather than attitudes to Jews, The Board of Deputies even sent a letter to the heads of all Universities which contained serious distortions of events in the union over 4 years and asking Universities to derecognise UCU. Richard Kuper and Tony Lerman posted thoughtful analyses of the EUMC definition and why the official Jewish leadership were seriously in error. Both postings attracted vituperative personal attacks in response.
The General Secretary and the President of UCU has written to all branches reminding them of the Union's support for BDS. The circular states:
- The decision of [2010 UCU Annual] Congress, on the vote of the overwhelming majority of delegates, was to adopt this motion unamended as the policy position of the UCU
- Congress reaffirm its support for BDS, and to seek its implementation within the constraints of the existing law
- Congress resolves to sever all relations with Histadrut, and to urge other trade unions and bodies to do likewise
- Congress resolves to campaign actively against the EU-Israel Association Agreement
- Congress resolves to commence the investigatory process associated with the imposition of a boycott of Ariel College
In commemoration of the first of May - a day of workers struggle and international solidarity – the first Palestinian trade union conference for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel (BDS) was held in Ramallah on 30 April 2011, organized by almost the entirety of the Palestinian trade union movement, including federations, professional unions, and trade union blocks representing the entire spectrum of Palestinian political parties. The conference marked a historic event: the formation of the Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS (PTUC-BDS) as the largest coalition of the Palestinian trade union movement. PTUC-BDS will provide the most representative Palestinian reference for international trade unions, promoting their support for and endorsement of the BDS Call, launched by Palestinian civil society in 2005, guided by the guidelines and principles adopted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), of which PTUC-BDS has become a key component.
In an appalling case of political censorship CUNY trustees withdrew their planned offer to award an honorary degree to leading Jewish dramatist Tony Kushner because of his criticisms of Israel.
Campaigners withdraw threat to picket SOAS Israeli Music conference after organisers confirm “No Israeli funding”
Organisers of a conference on Israeli music to be held at SOAS in London have broken links with hte israeli embassy and funders after pressure from BRICUP nad other groups. Original publicity material for the conference had acknowledged support from the Israeli Embassy, London, and the British Israeli Arts Training Scheme (BI ARTS), “a British Council initiative in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture and Sport in Israel”. The British Friends of the Hebrew University was also mentioned.
Following pressure the organisers confirmed that there would be no funding directly or indirectly from the Israeli Government or institutions. Subsequently all reference to the Israeli-related organisations was removed from the conference’s online publicity materials.
BRICUP's statement on the planned event
Read the BRICUP press release on Israeli funding pledge
Jewish Chronilce: Boycotters 'victory' as music festival distances itself from Israel
160 leading scholars Oppose suppression of free speech about Palestine at the Ecole Normale Supérieure
The Director of the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, Monique Canto-Sperber, first banned a talk by Stéphane Hessel and then refused to allow the Colléctif Palestine ENS to hold a meeting on campus; a denial of the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Hessel is 93, a former ENS student, member of the Resistance, survivor of Buchenwald, one of the authors of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and of the recent best-selling Indignez-vous!/Time for Outrage, in which he (among other things) criticizes Israel's treatment of Palestinians. ENS is one of Europe's leading academic institutions: the home of many distinguished thinkers from Pasteur to Beckett, Sartre and Bordieu.
Academics at South Africa's Johannesburg University have succeeded in their campign to get UJ to break all ties with BGU. They attracted both worlwide support from supporters of Palestinian rights and a vicious campaign from pro-Israel lobbyists.
University of Johannesburg (UJ) has effectively severed ties with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University (BGU). The principled stand of UJ stands in stark contrast to Bob Geldof's shameful acceptance of a doctorate from BGU.
Ran Greenstein of the University of the Witwatersrand has written an interesting article following the UJ campaign, "Reflections on Academic Boycotts in the Wake of the UJ-BGU Campaign". BRICUP believes there are interesting arguemetns in this piece but does not endorse its conclusions, a call for a selective boycott. This is not BRICUP's practice or the nature of the PACBI call to action.
Bob Geldof has disappointed many people who hava applauded his work on LiveAid. He has accepted an offer of an honaray doctorate from Ben Gurion University. BRICUP condemns this cynical move by BGU: an attempt to rescue their reputation by associating themselves with global icon. Their work in providing resaerch and training for the the Israeli Army and arms industry is what will continue to to make academics from across the world say Boycott Ben Gurion and all Israeli universities.
Read our open letter
Send you own message to Sir Bob via his production company
Join the Facebook group -Bob Geldof : Please Respect the Palestinian Boycott
Leading American academic talked at Israel Apartheid week drawing strong links between feminism and queer theory and the struggle for Palestinian rights. She located teh academic boycott as a key part of the support for the Palestinain struggle. The video is in five parts.
Congress of South African Trade Unions spokesperson Bongani Masuku said, “It (BGU) has consistently refused to oppose the Israeli government's attempts to silence academics that support sanctions against Israel and so it is a much compromised institution whose reputation and credibility are in tatters.”
Masuku described BGU as “a university that actively collaborates with the Israeli Defence Force in its enforcement of apartheid occupation against Palestinians, by offering special privileges and services to the army”.
Pete Seeger, the legndary folk singer has announced that he regrets having taken part in the Arava festival in Israel and committed himself to full support of the boycott movement. He said, “I appeared on that virtual rally because for many years I’ve felt that people should talk with people they disagree with. But it ended up looking like I supported the Jewish National Fund. I misunderstood the leaders of the Arava Institute because I didn't realize to what degree the Jewish National Fund was supporting Arava. Now that I know more, I support the BDS movement as much as I can.”
In an article in Ha'aretz, Yitzhak Laor details the attacks on critical voices by the managers of Israel's universities. He writes, "At universities in Israel, by contrast, this [tenure] procedure is completely lawless. The university is very sensitive to what is said about it. It receives a great deal of money, allowing its top people to maintain quite a hedonistic way of life. And so it likes quiet. And when it gets into any kind of trouble, it sends one of its two or three Nobel Prize winners to speak in the name of 'freedom of research' or budget increases. The time has come for somebody to put things in order."
Laor's article prompted a vicious attack in the heretic hunting IsraelCampus.org website which includes "Now as usual when it comes to Israel's academic fifth column, the facts are precisely the opposite. Not only was Azoulay not fired for being a leftist, it seems clear she was only hired in the first place because she was a leftist. She simply never produced any serious academic scholarly work or bona fide research, on whose basis she could have been awarded tenure. She is the wife of Tel Aviv University's prominent extremist leftist professor of philosophy Adi Ophir. You will recall Ophir as the star of several Israel Apartheid Week events. The simple truth is that had she not been Ophir's wife, I think there is serious doubt as to whether she ever would have been offered any academic post of any sort in Israel. At Bar-Ilan, she taught something called 'Hermeneutics.' I am not quite sure what that is, but I think it has something to do with neutering people named Herman."
Proclaiming your ignorance of a centuries old field of study is cavalier even for a Zionist witch hunter.
In an article in the Electronic Intifada journalist David Cronin explores how the Israeli occupation and Israel'y day-to-day oppression of its own plaestinian cizens is bolstered by the EU's collaboration.
Roger Waters of Pink Floyd told the Guardian,
"I want the music industry to support Palestinians' rights and oppose this inhumane barrier ...
"I was contracted to perform in Tel Aviv. Palestinians from a movement advocating an academic and cultural boycott of Israel urged me to reconsider. I had already spoken out against the wall, but I was unsure whether a cultural boycott was the right way to go.
"The Palestinian advocates of a boycott asked that I visit the occupied Palestinian territory to see the wall for myself before I made up my mind. I agreed.
"Under the protection of the United Nations I visited Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw that day. The wall is an appalling edifice to behold. It is policed by young Israeli soldiers who treated me, a casual observer from another world, with disdainful aggression."
BRICUP calls upon the Coen Brothers: Show True Grit; do not accept the Dan David Prize - Do not normalise apartheid
BRICUP has published an open letter to filmakers Joel and Ethan Coen calling on them not to visit Israel to acept the Dan David Prize, awarded jointly by the Dan David Foundation and Tel Aviv University.
We are informing them that if they do they normalise oppression and disposession.
On 7 March the University of Ottawa will debate freezing their Joint Masters in Laws (LL.M) exchange program withe University of Haifaand the application process put on hold until the a number of actions have been carried out by the Senate.
The actions include requiring the adoption of affirmative action which guarantees that applications be selected in such a way that the percentage of Palestinian students accepted into the exchange program at the University of Haifa be equal to or greater than the percentage of Palestinian people living in Israel.
On 8 March the full Knesset gave a first reading to a slighly amended bill by 32 votes to 12. As Ha'aretz notes, "It explicitly includes boycotts that affect the West Bank, such as boycotts of goods and services originating in the Jewish settlements there."
On 15 February a Knesset committee approved on second and third readings a bill combating boycotts against Israel - another hysterical proposal by the right wing and Kadima MK Dalia Itzik designed to protect 'our weak and tiny country, which is being attacked from within and without'.
"This law," explain the architects of the proposal, "is designed to protect the State of Israel in general and its citizens in particular from academic, economic and other boycotts that are imposed on the country, its citizens and corporations, due to their connection to the State of Israel." The law is designed to protect "the area under Israeli control, including Judea and Samaria."
Violators of the law can be sued for damages of up to NIS 30,000 (€6,000) without any need for evidence that injury was caused to the boycotted or potentially boycotted party/ies.
Ha'aretz report on Knesset debate
Read full story in Ha'aretz of committee debates
Details of the bill and the Knesset legislative process
Israel boycott activists respond with call to Poland to end arms deal