Joint Stop Technion – Pacbi Letter to University of Turin Academic Senate: Suspend Agreements with Technion

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.

Italian Campaign for the Revocation of Agreements with Technion  

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) 

Notes:

[1] https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/features/2014/11/9/the-technion-an-elite-university-for-israeli-student-soldiers

[2] https://whoprofits.org/content/elbit-systems-complicity-assault-gaza-2014

[3] http://grassrootsonline.org/sites/default/files/faqs-web.pdf

[4] http://www.tadamon.ca/wp-content/uploads/Technion-English.pdf

Annunci

First Ever Italian Student Council Approves Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

Press release

On March 1, 2017, the Student Council of the University of Turin approved by wide majority (76%) a motion (text below) supporting the academic boycott of Israel, calling for revocation of the agreements between the university and the Israel Institute of Technology – Technion in Haifa. For the first time, an Italian academic body has endorsed the BDS movement as a nonviolent method aimed at ending the continuous and systematic denial of the rights of the Palestinians by the State of Israel.

The decision of the Student Council is part of an ongoing campaign launched in 2016 at several Italian universities in response to a call by professors and researchers – 351 to date – to end the collaboration between Italian universities and Technion, a research institution directly involved, through its collaboration, in the Israeli military-industrial complex. The campaign targets Technion due to the fact that the institute is involved more than any other university in the Israeli military-industrial complex. The institute contributes to the Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid in Palestine. Continua a leggere

Stop Technion welcomes Turin University Student Council vote

The Italian Campaign for the Revocation of Agreements with Technion welcomes the important initiative of the Student Council at the University of Turin. This is an historical moment. Our campaign and the students’ campaigns for the boycott of the Technion, both at the national level and in Turin, are breaking the long tradition of silence of our academic communities. Together, we are following the path of those who brought to the fall of the apartheid regime in South Africa. We are adopting the academic boycott as a way to break the status quo that continues killing and dispossessing the Palestinians. We are sending a message to our colleagues that we should stand for the respect of basic human rights and international legality, and that our collaborations with the Israeli academia, which has a long history of silence and complicity with the Israeli regime of occupation, apartheid, and colonialism, are more and more problematic and amount to an indirect support of the regime itself.

Italian Campaign for the Revocation of Agreements with Technion

170 academics at Italian universities call for boycott of Israeli institutions

PRESS RELEASE

  • Launch of the Stop Technion campaign urges suspension of all academic collaboration with the Haifa-based technical institute
  • Italian initiative part of a growing global trend of scholars taking a stand for Palestinian rights
  • Italy is one of Israel’s key military and academic partners in Europe
  • For the first time, an Italian academic association will debate the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

170 academics from more than 50 Italian universities and research institutes have signed a pledge committing to a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The call was launched in solidarity with the Palestinian civil society campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with International Law and Principles of Human Rights and is inspired by similar boycotts during the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.

This marks the first Italian initiative of academic boycott and shows the existence of a solid, critical block of scholars within Italian institutions who are no longer willing to tolerate complicity with Israel’s violations of international law and human rights. The well-documented and notorious complicity of Israeli academic institutions with Israel’s state violence and the utter lack of any serious condemnation on their part since the foundation of the state of Israel led to the initiative.

The scholars also wished to demonstrate solidarity with their Palestinian colleagues who continue to experience grave human rights violations and denials of their basic academic freedoms. The initiative exclusively targets Israeli institutions while allowing for individual collaborations with Israeli colleagues.

Israel continues to carry out its policies of systematic dispossession and discrimination against the Palestinian population living in the occupied territories, within present-day Israel and in the diaspora. Following almost five decades of military occupation and nearly seven decades after the state of Israel was created mainly on land ethnically cleansed of its Palestinian indigenous population(including lands on which Israeli academic institutions were built), a majority of Palestinians are refugees, most of whom are stateless.

The call signed by Italian scholars focuses on the Technion Institute of Haifa due to its role in supporting and maintaining Israel’s policies of dispossession and military violence against the Palestinian population. A number of Italian universities have cooperation agreements with Technion, including the Polytechnic Universities of Milano and Turin and the universities of Cagliari, Florence, Perugia, Rome and Turin. The scholars urge Italian institutions and their colleagues to suspend all forms of institutional collaboration with Technion, which is deeply involved in Israel’s military-industrial complex and directly complicit in the violations of international law and the rights of Palestinians.

The Italian initiative is particularly significant considering the strong ties that make Italy one of Israel’s key military and academic partners in Europe. A military cooperation agreement between the two countries provides for joint military research, training exercises and development of weapons systems. In 2012, Italy was Europe’s top weapons exporter to Israel. The hope is that additional Italian, European and international academics will join the effort to ensure human rights and justice for the Palestinian people.

The Italian call is just the latest in a continuing trend of scholars speaking up for Palestinian rights. In recent months, over 500 academics in the United Kingdom, 450 in Belgium, 200 in South Africa and 120 in Ireland have signed similar pledges. The number of academic associations supporting the Palestinian call for boycotts continues to grow and includes the American Anthropological Association, National Women’s Studies Association,  American Studies Association, African Literature Association, Association for Asian American Studies, Association for Humanist Sociology, Critical Ethnic Studies Association, National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies, Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, and the Peace and Justice Studies Association.

In mid-March, the Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies will host a panel discussion on the academic and cultural boycott campaigns against Israel during its annual conference in Catania, marking the first time an academic association in Italy will publicly debate the BDS/PACBI campaigns.

Contacts: campagnastoptechnion@gmail.com