This FAQ aims to answer various questions about the resolution and the academic boycott in general.
Q1: What is the academic boycott?
A1: The call for an academic boycott was launched by a group of Palestinian academics and intellectuals in 2004. The boycott urges the international community to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic institutions until the Israeli state:
- 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.
The boycott has to date been endorsed by nearly 60 Palestinian academic, cultural, and civil-society federations, unions, and organizations. It has also been endorsed by numerous academic associations across the world.
Q2: What is the boycott resolution the DSC is considering?
A2: The boycott resolution was organized, written, and introduced to the DSC by a number of GC students. It provides 11 contexts for the resolution (the “Whereas” statements), and proposes that the DSC officially support 2 things (the “Resolved” statements).
Q3: Why was the boycott resolution introduced to the DSC to consider?
A3: The boycott resolution was introduced to the DSC given the DSC’s long history of supporting social-justice issues, from its first resolution, opposing the Vietnam War, to resolutions this academic year in support of students at CUNY and India’s Jawaharlal Nehru University facing repression by the state. The boycott resolution is firmly within the DSC’s longstanding commitment to political engagement and social change.
Q4: If the resolution passes, what will its effects be on GC students?
A4: A passed resolution will commit the DSC, as a body, to abide by the guidelines for academic boycott as set forth by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. This means the DSC will not be able to engage in official partnerships with Israeli academic institutions or official subsets of those institutions (such as counterparts to the Doctoral Students’ Council). GC individuals and groups will still be able to meet and work with Israeli individuals and groups.
Q5: If the resolution passes, will it prohibit DSC representatives and GC students from working with Israeli students or dialoguing with them?
A5: No, it will only constrain the DSC, as a body, to adhere to the academic boycott.
Q6: How does the DSC resolution fit into the overall Palestinian-solidarity movement in U.S. academia?
A6: Several U.S. academic associations have voted to endorse or recommend the academic boycott of the Israeli state, including the Association for Asian American Studies, the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, the Critical Ethnic Studies Association, the African Literature Association, the American Studies Association, the graduate student worker union of the University of California, and, most recently, the American Anthropological Association and the National Women’s Studies Association.
Q7: Does academic boycott as part of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement imply an end to the Israeli state?
A7: No, academic boycott, nor BDS at large, does not imply an end to the Israeli state. BDS is a global solidarity movement in answer to a Palestinian call to end the Israeli state’s occupation and colonization of Palestine and its discriminatory policies against Palestinian citizens of Israel in housing, education, and employment. A similar global solidarity movement contributed to the end of the apartheid in South Africa, which was followed by a national reconciliation process.
Q8: Is the academic boycott of Israel anti-Semitic?
A8: No, academic boycott is not anti-Semitic. It has no ethnic or religious component because it targets the Israeli state and not individual people.
Q9: Why doesn’t the resolution call for the boycott of academic institutions in other countries?
A9: The resolution is in direct response to a call made by Palestinian civil society. There is no call to boycott any other country’s academic institutions.
Q10: Not all Palestinians support academic boycott and BDS. Why should we support it?
A10: Palestinians are not monolithic. However, BDS is widely supported by Palestinians, and the BDS National Committee is the largest Palestinian grassroots coalition representing over 170 diverse human-rights groups and labor unions, including farmworker and teachers associations. And it was Palestinians who called for international support in the form of BDS as a peaceful means to secure their rights and freedom.