- Calls for a worldwide boycott of all Israeli academic and cultural institutions
- Accuses Israel of practicing apartheid against the Palestinians
A member of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PCACBI) was launched in Ramallah in April 2004 by a group of Palestinian academics and intellectuals.
Inspired by the effectiveness of boycotts in the effort to abolish apartheid in South Africa during the 1980s, PCACBI issued a statement of principles in July 2004 urging likeminded groups around the world to “comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions until Israel withdraws from all the lands occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem; removes all its colonies in those lands; agrees to United Nations resolutions relevant to the restitution of Palestinian refugees’ rights; and dismantles its system of apartheid.” This statement was endorsed by nearly sixty Palestinian academic, cultural, and civil-society entities, including the Federation of Unions of Palestinian University Professors and Employees and the Palestinian NGO Network in the West Bank.
PCACBI’s founding committee was composed of such individuals as:
- Bashir Abdel Razek, deputy mayor of Nazareth
- Omar Barghouti, a founding member of the BDS movement and the author of numerous columns for the Electronic Intifada website
- Riham Barghouti, a Brooklyn, New York high-school teacher and a founding member of Adalah-New York’s “Campaign for the Boycott of Israel”
- Rowan Al-Faqih, a Ramallah-based filmmaker whose productions commonly allege that Israel oppresses the Palestinian people
- Zuhair Sabbagh, who teaches sociology at Birzeit University
The aforementioned Barghoutis today serve on the PCACBI steering committee. Other members of the steering committee presently include:
- Carmela Armanious-Omari, Birzeit University’s vice president of financial and administrative affairs
- Gabi Baramki, former vice president of Birzeit University
- Samia Botmeh, who lectures on economics and gender and serves as director of Birzeit University’s Center for Development Studies
- Haidar Eid, associate professor of postcolonial and postmodern literature at Gaza’s al-Aqsa University, and the author of numerous articles published by such websites as Znet, Electronic Intifada, the Palestine Chronicle, and Open Democracy
- Rania Elias, director of Yabous Productions, a Jerusalem-based Palestinian cultural organization specializing in the performing arts
In early January 2012, PCACBI called on its supporters and allies “to intensify all aspects of BDS, but to especially focus, whenever possible, on academic boycott.” The Campaign pushed faculty and student activists “to pressure their academic organizations to end collaboration with complicit Israeli academic institutions or organizations”; “not to organize or participate in conferences in Israel”; and “to oppose study-abroad programs that place students from the U.S. and Europe at Israeli universities.” Moreover, it exhorted academics not to publish in Israeli academic journals and to withdraw from the editorial boards of international journals based at Israeli universities.
Also in January 2012, PCACBI issued a statement reaffirming its “strong support for and solidarity with the progressive revolutionary voices of the world valiantly putting their life at risk for our collective freedom, justice and dignity, especially in the face of counterrevolutionary forces, often from within.” Specifically, the Campaign lauded the University of Johannesburg’s 2011 decision to cut its institutional ties with Ben Gurion University as “a significant step in the direction of holding Israeli institutions accountable for their collusion in maintaining the state’s occupation, colonization and apartheid regime against the Palestinian people.” Further, PCACBI praised such campus groups as Students for Justice in Palestine for vocally supporting BDS “as a key tactic on college campuses” in the United States and Europe.
PCACBI also singled out for praise a number of performers and entertainers who had “continued to stay away from apartheid Israel.” These included such figures as Alice Walker, Mike Leigh, Iain Banks, Meg Ryan, Henning Mankell, Elvis Costello, and Carlos Santana. Among the newcomers whom the Campaign welcomed to the movement were Vanessa Paradis, Johnny Depp, MF Doom, Jello Biafra, Joker, and Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters.