Following the vote by the Student Council for the academic boycott and suspension of agreements with Israeli universities, the Italian Campaign for the Revocation of Agreements with Technion and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) sent the following joint letter to the Academic Senate of the University of Turin calling for the suspension of agreements with Technion
To the Academic Senate of the University of Turin
We have recently learned that the University of Turin Student Council voted by large majority for a motion calling for the suspension of academic cooperation with Israeli universities because of their deep complicity in Israel’s violations of international law. The students call in particular on the University of Turin to end its existing agreements with Technion in Haifa. We are writing to urge you to heed the student appeal by taking steps to suspend these academic agreements until Technion ends its deep involvement in violations of Palestinian human rights.
Technion develops joint research programs and collaborates with the Israeli army as well as with Israel’s leading weapons manufacturers, including Elbit Systems. Among the largest private weapons producers, Elbit Systems manufactures the drones used by the Israeli army to deliberately target civilians in Lebanon (2006) and in Gaza (2008-2009, 2014). Elbit provides surveillance equipment for Israel’s wall that segregates and encircles Palestinian communities in the West Bank, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004.
In addition, Technion gives special benefits for students completing military service in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, directly discriminating against its Palestinian students who hold Israeli second-class citizenship. Palestinian academics, teachers and students are routinely denied academic freedom, the right to education and other fundamental freedoms. In 2004 they have called for solidarity from colleagues around the world through the academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions, a call which echoed by emblematic figures of the struggle for justice such as Desmond Tutu.
Palestinians join their Italian colleagues – including 350 professors and researchers at Italian universities who responded to the call for an institutional boycott of Israel – in appealing to you to exercise your conscience and end business as usual which emboldens Technion.
As Desmond Tutu said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” [Emphasis added]
The very least that people of conscience can do to restore freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians is to end all forms of cooperation with institutions that are complicit in serious violations of international law. This is a key step to compel the Israeli government, as well as Israeli academic institutions, to respect international law. We therefore urge you to ensure that your university ceases to be complicit in these violations by voting in favor of the suspension of agreements with Technion. It is only through respect for international law that we can lay the foundations for peace with justice.