Academics & university students join the call to end Israeli apartheid
Israeli Apartheid Week has been ongoing since 2005 where university students, academics, activists, and others participate and take action to educate and protest against Israeli crime against the Palestinian people.
Students from over 70 universities around the globe protested this Wednesday, calling for their universities to divest from companies complicit in Israeli apartheid, following a call earlier in the week from 25 academics to achieve the same goal.
Students creatively protested against their universities' investments in companies such as Rolls-Royce, BAE, HP, and Booking.com, which they accuse of being complicit in Israeli war crimes. A statement put forth by Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA), an NGO campaigning for Palestinian rights, says that students prepared letters to their universities leaderships to challenge their decisions to invest in the above companies. “How can our Vice-Chancellor think it’s acceptable to invest money in companies involved in war crimes?” said Amal, a student in Nottingham.
This protest movement followed an open letter, signed by 25 academics, addressed to universities worldwide to divest from companies doing business with "Israel". The letter was co-signed by prominent professors, as signees, including Professor Gilbert Achcar (SOAS), Professor Ilan Pappe (Exeter), Professor Robin D. G. Kelley (UCLA), Professor Emerita Caroline Rooney (Kent), and Professor Mohamed El-Gomati OBE (York).
The open letter stated that:
“In the last few weeks, we have seen boycotts, divestment from and sanctions on Russia for its invasion and occupation of Ukraine. Individuals and companies have boycotted Russian goods, and governments have imposed extensive sanctions on Russia in response to its actions.” Going on to argue that the International community has clearly demonstrated its ability to sanction "Israel" for its crimes against the Palestinians.
This action comes as part of ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’, which takes place in Europe and North America between the 21st and 28th of March. Israeli Apartheid Week has been ongoing since 2005 where university students, academics, activists, and others participate and take action to educate and protest against Israeli crime against the Palestinian people.
In an 18-page report issued to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Professor Michael Lynk, the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), accused "Israel" of imposing apartheid conditions on the Palestinian people. In February 2022, Amnesty International, regarded as the world's top human rights organization, issued a lengthy report detailing why it has concluded that "Israel" is committing the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people. Human Rights Watch (HRW) last year also released their own detailed and lengthy report to say that "Israel" is operating an Apartheid regime. Last year as well, "Israel’s" own top human rights organization, B’Tselem, called "Israel" an apartheid regime that operates on Jewish supremacy over Palestinians between the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
Recently, the International Human Rights Clinic, at Harvard Law School, collaborated with human rights groups to produce a 22-page report to be submitted to an independent UN body, which also seeks to prove that "Israel" is imposing apartheid conditions on the Palestinian people. All of this goes to say that the consensus among leading human rights groups and activists is that "Israel" is undoubtedly an apartheid regime.
What has become evident through all of the campaignings against "Israel’s" crimes against the Palestinian people is an overall shift on the civil society level against "Tel Aviv". However, the governments of the Western world are not reflecting this shift in popular opinion, let alone taking seriously the accusations made by the leading human rights organizations, which monitor crimes committed against Palestinians.
Apartheid is considered to be a crime against humanity and can be punishable in the most severe ways possible under international law. The International Criminal Court (ICC) last year announced it was opening an investigation into war crimes reported inside the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), which if "Israel" is found guilty in may result in issuing warrants for the arrests of high ranking Israelis officials.
Whilst the odds had been stacked up against the Palestinian people, in terms of deriving legitimacy in their claims of war crimes and apartheid being committed against them, however, the tides have turned. "Israel" is now being recognized as a pariah regime internationally, not just in terms of public opinion, but also within the world's most powerful civil societies and legal institutions. The United States government and its Western allies are deliberately ignoring this fact now, but at what cost? International law is clearly not being respected in this case. "Israel" is likely emboldened by this and brushes off the claims of leading legal and human rights bodies, with claims of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias. Yet, if "Israel" does come under existential threat at any point due to a conflict with the Palestinian people, such as another Intifada, their dramatic downfall would be anchored in international opposition to their regime's model. As was the case when Apartheid South Africa became too much of a liability, "Israel" too could face a similar fate if it goes too far in its aggression against the Palestinian people or even regional foes.