ISRAELI ACADEMICS ‘DEPLORE’ ATTACK ON GAZA

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An open letter to Israel’s academics asking them to issue a statement deploring their government’s attack on Gaza has attracted the signatures of hundreds of academics from round the world.

Over 30 teachers and researchers at Israel’s universities have responded to the call, and put their names to the following statement :

The signatories to this statement, all academics at Israeli universities, wish it to be known that they utterly deplore the aggressive military strategy being deployed by the Israeli government. The slaughter of large numbers of wholly innocent people, is placing yet more barriers of blood in the way of the negotiated agreement which is the only alternative to the occupation and endless oppression of the Palestinian people. Israel must agree to an immediate cease-fire, and start negotiating in good faith for the end of the occupation and settlements, through a just peace agreement.

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More than 800 teachers from the world’s universities have asked their Israeli counterparts to support this statement condemning the slaughter in Gaza. These signatures flooded in in only 2 days. More are still arriving. The wording of the text of the letter signed by these international academics is in APPENDIX 1 below. The statement and the signatories to date are in APPENDIX 2.

Israeli academic Professor Rachel Giora explained her position this way : “I have no respect whatsoever for the Israeli government and its policies of destruction and eradication of the Palestinian people. I have the utmost respect for the Palestinian civil society and their nonviolent struggle for their liberation, whether against the apartheid wall or by calling upon the citizens of the world to curb Israeli violence. Palestinian civil society is asking them to do this by boycotting it, divesting and disinvesting from it, and by sanctioning it.”

Professor Haim Bresheeth asked “How many times must Israel destroy Gaza and slaughter its citizens, before an international outcry arises to bring an end to this vicious, illegal occupation which has lasted five decades ? We call on Israeli academics and intellectuals to do the right thing – to stand with their Palestinian colleagues for peace, freedom and equality, and demand not just an end to this one-sided massacre, but an end to the occupation and illegal settlements. The wall must come down between the two communities in Palestine. Surely every academic round the world must see this – and they are signing this call in great numbers.”

US academic Professor Sherna Berger-Gluck said “I’m really heartened by the response of so many of my American colleagues to this Call to Israeli academics – especially because the US is the major enabler of Israeli war crimes. President Obama may have Bibi’s back, but to the extent that it’s possible, we American academics say to our Israeli colleagues, we have your back.”

The full list of international signatures asking for this response from Israeli colleagues can be found at http://haimbresheeth.com/gaza/an-open-letter-to-israel-academics-july-13th-2014/

Some of the leading signatures are

Dr. Ahdaf Sueif, Cairo and UK

Dr. (Baroness) Jenny Tonge, House of Lords, UK

Prof. Richard Falk, Princeton University, USA

Prof. Etienne Balibar, Paris-Nanterre, France and Kingston University, UK

Prof. Noam Chomsky, MIT, USA

Prof. Michael Rosen, Goldsmiths, UK

Prof. Haim Bresheeth, SOAS, UK

Dr. Sara Roy, Harvard, USA

Prof. Moshé Machover, KCL, UK

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown MBE, UK

Prof. Marina Warner, Essex University, UK

Professor David Palumbo-Liu, Stanford, USA

Prof. Yosefa Loshitzky, SOAS, UK

Prof. Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Syracuse University, USA

Prof. Hagit Borer, QMU, UK

Prof. Sir Patrick Bateson, Cambridge UK

Prof. Nira Yuval-Davis, UEL, UK

Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead, LSE, UK

Prof. Ronit Lentin, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Professor Alex Lubin, University of New Mexico, USA

Prof. Lisa Duggan, New York University, USA

Prof. Nur Masalha, UK

Prof. Yigal Arens, USA

Prof. Laura Mulvey, Birkbeck College, UK

APPENDIX 1 : TEXT OF MESSAGE TO ISRAEL’S ACADEMICS

Open Letter to Israeli academics

Dear Friends,

These are desperately bad times. The government of Israel, having provoked the firing of rockets by its rampage through the West Bank, is now using that response as the pretext for an aerial assault on Gaza which has already cost scores of lives. An atmosphere of hysteria is being deliberately provoked in Israel, and whole communities are being subject to collective punishment, a war crime. People are dying, and for what ? To prevent a unity government of Fatah and Hamas ?

We have been asked by our academic colleagues in Gaza - whose universities have been destroyed a number of times in the last six years, who are unable to teach or study, and who are also in growing need of food and medicines, like the rest of the almost two million Palestinians living in Gaza - to urge you to act urgently, to make your voice heard in Israel and abroad against what the Israeli government is inflicting on the Gaza population. More than 200 people have been killed already in Gaza by the IDF since the start of the Israeli operation last Monday, and the number will be bigger by the time you read this message. Most of these people are children, women and the elderly. There could be no credible claim made that these people were involved in any military activity whatsoever. The Gaza infrastructure, already in tatters, is now further undermined, and the population is in the worst situation it has ever been, and this is getting worse by the minute. These atrocities, committed by Israel will bring neither peace nor security to the region, and can only lead to further deterioration of the already dangerous situation in Palestine/Israel.

We invite you, as fellow academics and intellectuals, to join your voices in an open and resounding protest about these war crimes by the Israeli government – your government. We urge you to stand up and be counted, to answer the call of your Gazan colleagues and make your voice heard. We hope that you will be able and willing to come together and voice your total opposition to the war crimes committed in your name ! We realize you may feel worried and lonely, as dissent in Israel now carries a high price. We stand with you when you take this conscientious stand.

If you are an Israeli academic and agree with us on the urgent need to bring an immediate end to those atrocities, and to act to end the illegal occupation in Palestine, please sign the statement at the bottom of this letter by sending us a mail with your name, title and affiliation.

Please check the website for the signatories. You may find many friends on it.

APPENDIX 2 : ISRAELI ACADEMICS’ STATEMENT

The statement deploring the Israeli government’s assault on Gaza, and its Israeli academic signatories to date, are as follows :

“The signatories to this statement, all academics at Israeli universities, wish it to be known that they utterly deplore the aggressive military strategy being deployed by the Israeli government. The slaughter of large numbers of wholly innocent people, is placing yet more barriers of blood in the way of the negotiated agreement which is the only alternative to the occupation and endless oppression of the Palestinian people. Israel must agree to an immediate cease-fire, and start negotiating in good faith for the end of the occupation and settlements, through a just peace agreement.”

Professor Rachel Giora, Tel Aviv University

Professor (Emeritus) Emmanuel Farjoun, Hebrew University

Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Hebrew University

Dr. Kobi Snitz, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Dr. Anat Matar, Tel Aviv University

Dr Efrat Ben-Zeev, Ruppin Academic Center

Professor As’ad Ghanem, Haifa University

Professor Anat Biletzki, Tel Aviv University

Professor Adi Ophir, Tel Aviv University

Dr. Ovadia Ezra, Tel Aviv University

Professor Zvi Tauber, Tel Aviv University

Professor Vered Kraus, Haifa University

Dr. Yuval Yonay, Haifa University

Prof. Oded Goldreich, Weizman Institute of Science, Israel

Prof. Dana Ron, Tel Aviv University

Prof. Gadi Algazi, Tel Aviv University

Professor Mira Ariel, Tel Aviv University

Professor Idan Landau, Ben Gurion University

Professor As’ad Ghanem, Haifa University

Dr. Ayelet Ben-Yishai, Haifa U, Israel

Professor Micah Leshem, University of Haifa

Dr. Ilan Saban, Faculty of Law, University of Haifa

Professor Yehuda Shenhav, Tel Aviv University

Dr. Avishai Ehrlich, Tel Aviv University

Dr. Ivy Sichel, Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Dr. Hannah Safran, The Academic College for Society and the Arts

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