Swedish Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel Newsletter No 32, 16 July 2014

This newsletter is published by the Action Group at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) for Boycott of Israel in collaboration with the network Isolera Israel. It provides information not only about academic and cultural boycott but also on BDS in general in Sweden and internationally. Find old issues of the newsletter at: www.psabi.se and about BDS in Swedish here.

■ Urgent call from Gaza civil society: Act now!

Just after the start of the third Israeli war on Gaza the Palestinian BDS movement issued an appeal asking the world to intensify boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel until it ends its attack. Read more here.

■ Swedish universities must stop all its collaboration with Israeli institutions

In a statement the Action group at KTH for Boycott of Israel has requested Swedish universities to break its collaboration with Israeli institutions and abstain from participation in EU funded projects in which Israel is involved. A letter with this content was addressed to the Board of the Royal Institute of Technology, which has a comprehensive cooperation program with the Technion University in Haifa. Read the full statement (in Swedish) here.

■ “BDS is the best way to show our solidarity with the people of Gaza”

In her speech at the rally against the Israeli attack on Gaza in Stockholm the 12th of July the chair of the PGS solidarity organisation, Anna Wester, said that Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions are the best way to make Israel stop its brutal war against the people of Gaza.

■ Swedish court to investigate crimes against the Ship to Gaza flotillas

The Swedish branch of Ship to Gaza has filed a well documented report about Israeli crimes such as high-jacking, robbery, illegal arrests and threats, bodily abuses and other crimes against the Ship to Gaza flotillas in the Mediterranean in 2010 and 2012. The crimes were committed in international territory, but Swedish jurisdiction applies to some of these crimes regardless of the place where they have been committed. Read more (in Swedish): here, more on here.

■ The Gaza Arc totally destroyed – again

In an announcement on the 12th of July the Swedish Ship to Gaza organisation reported that the ship under construction in Gaza (for transport of Palestinian goods to other countries) had been totally destroyed by Israeli forces. Read more (in Swedish) here.

■ Will Israel act against itself as a colonial power?

This question is asked by Swedish activist Gunnar Olofsson in an article at the announcement of the decision to elect Israel into the UN Decolonisation Committee. Olofsson adds that colonialism is at the very heart of Israeli policies. Read more (in Swedish) here.

■ International activists remain in Gaza
hospital threatened by Israeli missiles

On the 11th of July Israel’s army fired five ‘warning’ missiles at El-Wafa geriatric hospital in Gaza City. As a response to this members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) decided to stay in the hospital. In a statement the Swedish ISM activist, Fred Ekblad said: “The civilian population of Gaza is being bombed. We will stay with them in solidarity until the international community and our governments take action to stop Israel’s crimes against humanity”. Read more here.

■ Israeli trade union: Stop the third war on Gaza!

The Independent Trade Union Centre WAC-MAAN, unionizing Arabs and Jews in Israel, calls on the Israeli government to stop the attack on Gaza. In a statement it said among others: “The only liveable alternative is a political settlement based on a two-state solution”. In late May Assaf Adiv, the executive director of WAC-MAAN visited Sweden and met representatives of the major Swedish trade union federations, the Church of Sweden, MPs, Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Save the Children and several members of the peace movements. Read more here

■ Israeli academics respond to call to condemn Gaza slaughter

As Israel’s relentless bombardment of the Gaza Strip claimed more Palestinian lives three dozen Israeli academics responded to a call from SOAS, University of London. Among other things they wrote: “The signatories to this statement, all academics at Israeli universities, wish it to be known that they utterly deplore the aggressive military strategy being deployed by the Israeli government. The slaughter of large numbers of wholly innocent people is placing yet more barriers of blood in the way of the negotiated agreement which is the only alternative to the occupation and endless oppression of the Palestinian people”. Read more: here.

■ Israeli filmmakers interrupt Jerusalem festival to call for Gaza cease-fire

At the recent Jerusalem Film Festival, directors urged Israeli media to show Gaza sufferings, not just Israeli ones. Read more here.

■ US academics condemn “barbaric” Israeli raids on Palestinian universities

US academics have joined Palestinians in condemning a series of violent Israeli military raids on universities in the occupied West Bank, saying that the violations underscore the justification for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Read more here.

■ US rapper takes stand for Palestine, cancels Israel gig

The famous New York rapper Talib Kweli has cancelled plans to perform in Israel after appeals by supporters of the Palestinian campaign for BDS. “As much as I want to play Israel, I have decided not to in solidarity with Palestinians who will not have access to my show”, he stated. Read more here.

■ Australians speak out for BDS

Sanctions are a legitimate non-violent protest against unacceptable government actions and policies. For years Israel has been violating international law with few repercussions because governments do not have the courage to stand up to powerful lobby groups, writes freelance journalist Mary Kostakidis. Similar opinions are expressed by other journalists, academics and artists. Read more here.


Dick Urban Vestbro, Prof Emer, dickurba@gmail.com
Action Group at KTH for the Boycott of Israel
Member of the coordination committee of BDS Sweden