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Implement boycott and sanctions against Israel - Letter from Staff of a Dutch Academic Institute

Are there academics in South Asia willing to stand up and emulate their European counterparts ?

8 August 2014

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Dear friends and sacw.net readers, i share with you an open letter re Israel’s 2014 War on Gaza addressed to the Dutch govt from the staff of the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague. I was once associated with this institution in the early 1980s. This letter may be no model but i do sadly think that a letter like this seems near impossible from a just about any Indian university or research centre with all its top faculty writing to the govt, may be i am wrong. Perhaps there are scholars with a conscience in other South Asian countries who will speak up.
— harsh kapoor / sacw.net

OPEN LETTER

To:
Mr. Mark Rutte
Minister van Algemene Zaken,
Postbus 20001,
2500 EA Den Haag

Foreign Affairs Minister Frans Timmermans,
and The Dutch House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer)

From:

The staff of International Institute of Social Studies

Date: 31 July 2014

Dear Prime Minister Rutte,

Foreign Affair Minister Timmermans, and

Members of the Cabinet and House of Representatives

We address you as a group of employees, faculty members, PhD students and researchers of the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), in The Hague. The ISS is an educational, research and policy institution, part of Erasmus University Rotterdam. We belong to very diverse disciplinary backgrounds, but we all equally share social justice as a major inspiration of our work. As teachers and researchers, administrators, managers, students, policy analysts and practitioners, we take social justice as our political position towards the world around us.

In that world, the State of Israel is taking a particularly dire political stand. Today, the Israeli government and military are yet again engaged in a war against Palestinians in Gaza, the third since 2008. According to a number of international human rights organizations, Israel has been committing numerous war crimes against the civilian Palestinian population on all Palestinian territories, and especially during its wars against Gaza. Recently, the UN Human Rights Council has launched its own investigation into allegations of war crimes against Gazan civilians. All allegations and evidence collected by the international and national human rights and humanitarian organization are freely available via internet, so we will not list them here.

Rather, we write to you with the request to step up your criticism of the Israeli policy of occupation and wars against the Palestinian people. We urge you to take a further step and employ means that are officially and internationally recognized as legitimate, non-violent practices that any state can use against another state that has ignored all other calls to change its behaviour – boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

Between 19 48 and today, the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council, and the UN Human Rights Council (since its creation in 2006) have adopted a large number of Resolutions regarding Israel and Palestine. In the first decades following the establishment of the State of Israel, the majority of the Resolutions were concerned with Palestinian refugees expelled from their land by the Israeli military after 1948. Security Council Resolution 242, adopted in 1967, following the six-day war, confirmed the ‘inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war’. Since the early 1970s, resolutions have repeatedly demanded ‘a full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories’, and have addressed ‘Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories’ (as the titles of the Resolutions indicate). In addition, as the UN Resolution 1869 of January 2009 testifies, Gaza is besieged by Israel, to the extent that even ‘food, fuel and medical supplies’ are not allowed in.

So far none of these UN Resolutions have been respected by Israel’s Government. To the contrary, the occupation of the West Bank and annexation of East-Jerusalem have only deepened and the blockade on Gaza has been in place since 2007.

In calling for the Dutch Government to take measures of boycott, divestment and sanctions against the State of Israel we are following a number of institutions around the world that have already severed their ties with the State of Israel. We also stress that The Dutch Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV), at page 39 of its report Between Words and Deeds: Prospects for a Sustainable Peace in the Middle East, published in April 2013, suggests, among other things, that Israel’s actions in the occupied Palestinian territories ‘give cause to freeze or even restrict’ the bilateral relations between the Netherlands and Israel, ‘particularly at an economic and military level’.

The example of the anti-apartheid struggles in South Africa shows that offending governments do not easily change their ways unless put under intense diplomatic pressure. It took decades of struggle to achieve the abolition of apartheid. What helped in this struggle was the work of countless numbers of individuals, organizations and institutions across the world, and in the Netherlands, that acted in solidarity with the oppressed. Equally important were the actions of world governments, including the Dutch Government, that took a stand against the oppressors. We therefore ask the Dutch Government to officially implement boycott, divestment and sanctions against the State of Israel.

Prince Claus Chairholders:

Mansoob Murshed, Prince Claus Chairholder
Amina Mama, Prince Claus Chairholder
Alcinda Honwana, Prince Claus Chairholder
Rema Hammami, Prince Claus Chairholder
Patricia Almeida Ashley, Prince Claus Chairholder
Stella Quimbo, Prince Claus Chairholder
Aylin Kuntay, Prince Claus Chairholder

ISS staff:

Fulgencio Lucas Muti, PhD Researcher
Stefania Donzelli, PhD Researcher
Mohsen Yazdanpanah, PhD Researcher
Silke Heumann, Assistant Professor
Ben Radley, PhD Researcher
Hermine Engel, PhD Researcher
Zemzem Shigute Shuka, PhD Researcher
Tamara Soukotta, PhD Researcher
Mindi Schneider, Assistant Professor
John Cameron, Associate Professor
SiuSue Mark, PhD Researcher
Kristen Cheney, Assistant Professor
Bram Buscher, Associate Professor
Zelalem Yilma Debebe, PhD Researcher
Wendy Harcourt, Associate Professor
Christina Sathyamala, PhD Researcher
Irene van Staveren, Professor
Kenji Kimura, PhD Researcher
Alan Fowler, Professor Emeritus,
Fasil Taye, PhD Researcher
Loes Keysers, Assistant Professor
Mahmoud Meskoub, Assistant Professor
Amrita Chhachhi, Assistant Professor
Anderson Macedo de Jesus, PhD Researcher
Jun Borras, Associate Professor
Cynthia Embido Bejeno, PhD Researcher
Benedict Mckay, PhD Researcher
Jim Bjorkman, Professor Emeritus
Nahda Shehada, Assistant Professor
Lorenzo Pellegrini, Associate Professor
Michela Marcatelli, PhD Researcher
Almas Mahmud, Academic Writing Skills Unit
Sara Salem, PhD Researcher
Murat Arsel, Associate Professor
Des Gasper, Professor
Stasja Koot, Post-Doc Researcher
Karim Kniou, Assistant Professor
Ashwani Saith, Professor Emeritus
Rafaela de Quadros Rigoni, PhD researcher
Linda McPhee, Assistant Professor
Clara Mi Young Park, PhD Researcher
Paula Bownas, Development and Change Journal Editor
Eri Ikeda, PhD Researcher
Lubna Sharwani, Office Manager/Secretary Board of Examiners
Jeff Handmaker, Assistant Professor
Dita Dirks, Secretary PhD Program
Roy Huijsmans, Assistant Professor
Alberto Alonso-Fradejas, PhD Researcher
Martin Doornbos, Professor Emeritus
Lenka Sobotova, PhD Researcher
Angélica María Ocampo, PhD Researcher
Andrew M. Fischer, Associate Professor
Alonso Ramirez Cover, PhD Researcher
Shyamika Jayasundara-Smits, Research Associate
Blas Regnault, PhD Researcher
Wicky Meynen, Assistant Professor, Retired
Salena Tramel, PhD Researcher
Rachel Kurian, Assistant Professor
Annet van Geen, Research Program Administrator
Rekopantswe Mate, PhD Researcher
Yunan Xu, PhD Researcher
Eunjung Koo, PhD Researcher
Kannokkarn Kai Tevapitak, PhD Researcher
Zhen Lu, PhD Researcher
Rosalba Icaza Garza, Assistant Professor
Cevahir Ozguler, PhD Researcher
Sharmini Bisessar-Selvarajah, Research Program Administrator
Lupe Nunez Garcia, Library Assistant
Bridget O’Laughlin, Associate Professor, Retired
Marc Wuyts, Professor Emeritus
Juan Parra Heredia, PhD Researcher
Larissa Barbosa da Costa, PhD Researcher
Liu Juan, Post-doc Researcher
Omar Barghouti, Research Fellow
Berhane Ghebretnsaie, Project Officer
Kim Chi Tran, PhD Researcher
Helen Hintjens, Assistant Professor
Eric Ross, Associate Professor, Retired
Duygu Avci, PhD Researcher
Ben White, Professor Emeritus
Cristóbal Kay, Professor Emeritus
Karin Arts, Professor
Josee Haanappel, MA Program Administrator
Paulina Trejo Mendez, PhD Researcher
Sylvia I. Bergh, Assistant Professor
Kees Biekart, Associate Professor
Muhammad Badiuzzaman, PhD Researcher
Dubravka Zarkov, Associate Professor