The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) welcomed the show of support for Palestinian rights by the Middle East Studies Association (MESA).
The Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions Movement (BDS) said MESA scholars endorsed the Palestinian call to boycott Israeli academic institutions that are complicit in Israel’s regime of military occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid by a huge margin of 80%.
“With this vote, the scholars are saying, as many did during the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, that they refuse to stand by as Israel ethnically cleanses Palestinians, steals our land, besieges us, and denies us our basic rights, including the right to education,” said the BDS movement in a statement.
The vote comes amid growing international consensus that Israel is guilty of the crime against humanity of apartheid and that accountability measures are urgently needed, most recently by Amnesty International.
The movement added, “Universities and academic associations in the United States and elsewhere have recently adopted boycotts against Russian institutions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Yet, they have failed to end their complicity in Israel’s decades-old regime of military occupation and apartheid.”
“We urge scholarly associations to follow the example of MESA, and the hundreds of academic associations and unions, university departments and programs before it, to endorse BDS against Israel’s deeply complicit academic institutions. This would constitute the most effective form of solidarity with our struggle for freedom, justice and equality.”