Launched in January 2009 as an ally of the of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee, the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) states that its objective is to persuade “international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.”
Specifically, USACBI objects to Israel’s “persistent violations of international law”; its “system of racial discrimination, or apartheid, to which Palestinian ... citizens of Israel are subjected”; its failure “to respect [the] fundamental human rights ... of the people of Palestine”; and its “occupation and colonization in the 1967-occupied Palestinian territory.”
Sondra Hale, a longtime professor of anthropology, Near Eastern studies, Islamic studies, and women's studies at UCLA
Rabab Abdulhadi, professor of women's studies at New York University
Lara Deeb, chairwoman of the anthropology department at Scripps College
Marcy Newman, an English professor at Boise State University and a self-described activist committed to "the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees"
Magid Shihade, assistant professor of social sciences at Lahore University of Management Sciences in Lahore, Pakistan
USACBI pledges to pursue its BDS campaign against Israel until such time as the latter “meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall; recogniz[es] the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and respect[s] ... the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”
Calling on American colleges and universities to refrain from associating with Israeli universities, USACBI makes extensive use of social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace to disseminate its message.
According to USACBI, “Israel is distinguished from other nations” in a number of ways “that justify a boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign” against it. These include the fact that (a) “Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. aid and weapons,” which it uses not only “in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity,” but also in “such daily offenses as collective punishment, systematic torture, and, indeed, the extended occupation of Palestinian territory”; (b) “Israel has violated more United Nations resolutions than any other country in the world, and has been consistently protected by the U.S.’s Security Council veto power from any attempt to enforce those resolutions”; (c) “Israel is institutionally racist” and “engages in ethnic cleansing or 'population transfer' and policies that conform to international definitions of apartheid for the sake of territorial expansion”; and (d) “criticism and open discussion of Israel in the U.S. is suppressed, and critics are aggressively silenced and censored” by a powerful and deceitful Jewish lobby.