Faculty for Palestine Calls to Action
for Organizing Now
“Palestinians are showing enormous bravery during this moment of horror. Now we need the world to respond with corresponding acts of courage and support.” – Omar Barghouti
Palestinians have inaugurated a stunning new era of mass resistance from the besieged Gaza Strip to the occupied West Bank, across cities in historic Palestine and the diaspora. In what they are calling the Unity Intifada, Palestinians are resisting the ongoing colonization of their lands, ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, a fourteen-year siege on Gaza, construction and expansion of illegal settlements, military occupation, and apartheid. They have widened and deepened a powerful, steadfast and creative liberation movement. The international solidarity movement, nourished by broad anti-racist movements globally, has responded with its own renewed vigour in mass demonstrations around the world.
The challenge now is to build on this massive momentum.
Faculty for Palestine, in solidarity with the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), calls for a re-doubling of organizing within academic and scholarly associations, unions, and on our campuses for ending complicity in Israel’s regime of apartheid, settler colonialism, and military occupation. The anti-racist campaign for BDS remains the most powerful strategy at our disposal. Currently, Israel enjoys all of the military, economic, and political advantages over the Palestinians. Decades of complicity,
active support, and diplomatic cover from European and North American states and institutions have given Israel the green light to intensify their aggression towards the Palestinians. In the current environment, Israel is not compelled to change its policies and practices. International pressure must be applied to Israel to force it to change its behavior.
We therefore call for collective, coordinated and effective organizing allied with the guidelines of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and the
direction of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC).
Specifically, we make the following recommendations for concrete actions now:
1. Academic Freedom and Collegial Governance
- Organize to get your faculty association or union to support the #NoIHRA campaign. Stop the IHRA definition from being used to censor critical scholarship and undermine anti-racist and decolonization campaigns on campuses. See the NoIHRA campaign for resources and to get in touch here.
- Support the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) censure of the University of Toronto. For details, see https://censureuoft.ca/. Ask your union to pass a resolution in support of censure. Examples can be found on the website. While this is not part of the BDS movement or the boycott of Israel, the attack on academic freedom at U of T is linked to the broader
silencing of speech on Palestine, often referred to as the Palestine exception, as well as to silencing of critical anti-racist speech and practice.
- Support students and faculty (contract and permanent) who come under attack for their critical scholarship, positions, and organizing on Palestine. Many of these attacks have a clear pattern: racialized faculty and students (which includes Palestinian scholars) are particularly targeted, many of whom do broad anti-colonial, anti-racist organizing and/or scholarship. Additionally, without job security, faculty do not enjoy real academic freedom; calls for academic freedom urgently need to address academic precarity.
- At McGill University, pro-Palestinian students are being terrorized through a “blacklist.” Students have been doxed and have been targeted through racial, gendered, sexual online attacks.
- Draft administrative and faculty statements that call for holding
Israel accountable, including through BDS actions, for its destruction of Palestinian universities, research centres, schools and archives.
- According to a United Nations report, the recent attack on Gaza has resulted in damage to over 50 educational institutions.
- Faculty and students of Birzeit University, including Dr. Lena Meari, were injured by the Israeli occupation forces during the May attacks.
- Confront anti-Semitism effectively and in a principled manner with this five-part framework rather than through the IHRA definition.
- Demand that Universities affirm and protect academic freedom and free speech of all university employees to teach, research, write, and speak in support of Palestine, including endorsement of BDS.
2. Teaching and Praxis
- Support Palestinian-led scholarship. Include Palestinian scholarship in course syllabi, writing and invite Palestinian scholars to speaking engagements. Include critical scholarship on Palestine in course syllabi and writing.
- Organize teach-ins and forums on your campus about BDS. Use the analytic tools of the settler colonial paradigm and apartheid framework. Recent damning reports confirm what Palestinians and other critical analysts have long said: this is apartheid.
- Support student activism on campus on Palestinian rights and liberation.
- Call on your institution to fund scholarships and fellowships for Palestinian students and academics.
- Build direct solidarity with Palestinian academic and cultural institutions, and with Palestinian academics and students. Do this work without a requirement that Palestinians partner with Israeli counterpart institutions.
- Support students detained in Israeli prisons.
3. Divestment and Sanctions
- Support campaigns for an arms embargo against Israel. Get your faculty union (whether tenure-track or contract) to sign on. This is a top movement priority. Allies in Labour for Palestine and Labour Against the Arms Trade are among the organizations working on this. They can help with sample resolutions.
- Support divestment campaigns: Work with students and other
allies on campus for divestment from companies that sustain Israeli war crimes, apartheid, and human rights violations.
4. Academic Boycott and Non-Recognition Campaigns
- Support the academic boycott of Israel. Israeli academic institutions play a key role in designing, implementing and justifying Israel’s system of military occupation, colonization and apartheid. (Re) Familiarize yourself with the guidelines of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).
- Organize for adopting resolutions from your scholarly association and/or academic union in support of BDS. Contact the BDS movement for advice.
- Avoid participation in academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions.
- Pressure your own institution to end all ties with Israeli universities.
- Campaign to end all study abroad programs at complicit Israeli universities.
- Join the international campaign of non-recognition of, and no ties with, Ariel University as well as other Israeli universities
illegally built on occupied Palestinian territory.