Factsheet: Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)
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- PACBI is led by Palestinian academics and intellectuals promoting a “comprehensive and consistent boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions.”
- Omar Barghouti – co-founder (doctoral student at Tel Aviv University)
- Ramallah-based. Following 2001 Durban NGO Forum, initiated a 2002 call for a comprehensive economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel and 2003 statement calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. (Restated in July 2005 “Palestinian United Call for BDS against Israel.”)
- Spearheads rhetoric and ideas behind global BDS campaigns, publishing the “guidelines for the international boycott of Israel.”
- Insists that boycotts will help “end Israel’s occupation, colonization and system of apartheid.”
- Declares boycott will continue “until Israel withdraws from all the lands occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem; removes all its colonies in those lands; agrees to United Nations resolutions relevant to the restitution of Palestinian refugees rights; and dismantles its system of Apartheid” (referring to Arabs living within the 1949 armistice lines).
- Funding not transparent – no online information.
- Refers to Israel as an “apartheid state” with “racial exclusivity,” alleging that “the apartheid character has been part of the design of Israel since its inception.”
- Claims that “resistance in all its forms is a legitimate right” of Palestinians, and that the “barriers” between Israelis and Palestinians exist because “the Zionist movement and the State of Israel did not stop for one day and massacred and uprooted [the Palestinians].”
- Accuses Israel of “war crimes,” “crimes against humanity,” and “genocidal policy,” and calls Gaza a “concentration camp.”
- Falsely states that 86% of casualties in the Gaza War (2009) were civilians, and accuses Israel of having “genocidal intentions,” and “annihilate[ing] all civilian infrastructure, target[ing] civilian shelters, [and] prevent[ing] medical teams from reaching victims.”
- PACBI publishes open letters to artists, urging them to cancel their planned appearances in Israel.
- Warns artists that they “will forever be attached to the draconian machine of Israeli colonial and racist policy,” and encourages treating Israel as “a pariah state.”
- These letters often contain false information, such as alleging that Arab-Israelis are subject to ongoing martial law, and falsely claiming that artists such as Bono and Snoop Dogg cancelled performances in Israel due to the boycott.
- Urges international audiences to boycott Israeli artists such as the Israel Ballet and the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, which it accuses of being a “partner with the state in planning, implementing, and whitewashing war crimes and international law violations.”
- PACBI pushes international academics to end their affiliations with all Israeli institutions.
- Accuses all Israel universities of being “deeply linked to the military-security establishment, playing indispensable — direct and indirect — roles in perpetuating Israel’s decades-old violations of international law and fundamental Palestinian rights.”
- Claims that international academics attending conferences in Israel “lend legitimacy to the Israeli colonial project.”
- Acknowledges that academic boycotts violate academic freedom: “Obtaining justice and fundamental rights for the Palestinian people” overrides “the protection of academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas,” and is a more important “norm dictating the political engagement of scholars.”
Exploiting pro-BDS Israelis and the Israeli Left
- Israelis who support BDS “must be willing to accept that there is a price to pay to end the colonial oppression…the price that some conscientious Israelis may pay as an unavoidable byproduct of the boycott is quite modest when compared to the price Palestinians have to pay.”
- Dismisses efforts of “peacemakers” who promote mutual understanding and civil dialogue as “deceptive” and “false hypocrisies.”
- “The overriding consideration here is not the creation of a positive atmosphere conducive to scholarly cooperation between Palestinian and anti-colonial Israeli academics… rather, it is how to isolate Israeli academic institutions.”
- Co-founder and Steering Committee member of PACBI; doctoral student at Tel Aviv University.
- Very active in speaking on behalf of BDS on campuses around the world.
- Supports a one-state solution, which he labels the “more just, moral and therefore enduring alternative for peaceful coexistence.”
- Nazi rhetoric: “Many of the methods of collective and individual ‘punishment’ meted out to Palestinian civilians at the hands of young, racist, often sadistic and ever impervious Israeli soldiers at the hundreds of checkpoints littering the occupied Palestinian territories are reminiscent of common Nazi practices against the Jews.”
- At a Sabeel conference in a California church (March 2010), Barghouti alleged that Israel is committing “slow genocide” in Gaza by contaminating the water supply: “There are no death camps. Israel is too sophisticated for that. Israel is a more evolved war criminal. It does things slower.”
- Falsely claims a “right to resist”: “International law does give people under occupation the right to resist in any way, including armed resistance.”
- Uses racially-charged rhetoric: “Palestinian communities… have been recently subjected to some of the worst, ongoing Israeli campaigns of gradual ethnic cleansing intended to Judaize their space.”
- Uses “apartheid” to describe treatment of Israeli Arabs, saying “Apartheid is also alive and well inside Israel… it is legalized and institutionalized racism and that’s what makes it apartheid.”
- Makes false claims of discrimination, including that it is illegal for non-Jews to purchase property in “most places in Israel, I mean, in 93 percent”; that non-Jews are “not entitled to even apply” for most jobs in government ministries, healthcare and education; that “there are many bureaucratic rules that make it very difficult for [non-Jewish Israelis] to get service” in healthcare clinics in predominantly Jewish neighborhoods; and that “only a Jew can be a national in Israel. Non-Jews cannot be nationals.”
Affiliations with Other Groups
- US version: U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI).
- Member of the BDS National Committee (BNC), the coordinating body for the BDS campaign.
- PACBI officials publish articles and statements in Electronic Intifada.
- PACBI’s “Call for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel” is endorsed by NGOs, including Al Awda-Right of Return Coalition, the National Forum of Martyrs Families, and European government funded groups Al Mezan, Badil, Defense for Children International-Palestine Section, Holy Land Trust, and Miftah.