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Israeli academic conferences hit by boycott as speakers withdraw

Middle East Monitor

June 4, 2014

Two conferences taking place in Israeli universities this month have lost keynote and plenary speakers, following the Palestinian boycott call.

The Oral History Conference set to take place at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on 7-9 June, and the Film and Television Studies Colloquium at Tel Aviv University on 8-11 June, have both experienced withdrawals from international scholars.

According to activists, in both cases "organisers were forced to fall back onto local Israeli speakers, and the majority of contributions to both forums are now also drawn from local institutions". Following these developments, boycott campaigners are claiming that "the supposed international character of the conferences is obviously a charade now".

Invited international participants were reminded of the need to "put pressure on Israel and its complicit institutions", as part of efforts to achieve "freedom and justice for the Palestinian people". The BDS campaign, of which academic boycott is a part, originated with a 2005 call from Palestinian civil society organisations and has been taken up by solidarity activists worldwide.

Taking the lead from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), the campaign to boycott both conferences was conducted by members of BRICUP (British Committee for Universities in Palestine) and USACBI (US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel).



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