Today, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in South Africa took a major step forward. The University of Johannesburg’s Senate has decided to end its old apartheid relationship with Ben Gurion University in Israel. This is an important victory for the people of Palestine. (See statement below)
The perseverance of academic activists at UJ including Steven Friedman, Farid Esack and Saleem Valley is an example to follow.
Now, let us Boycott Ahava and stop Wellness Warehouse selling war crimes as beauty products.
UJ: conditional termination with Israeli institution
This afternoon, after what was described as a “most tense” Senate meeting, UJ’s highest academic body voted to conditionally end its Apartheid-era relationship with Ben-Gurion University (BGU). A fact-finding investigation conducted by the University confirmed BGU’s links with the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and complicity in the Israeli occupation.
Against the backdrop of a significant public campaign, these findings confirm the facts presented in a nationwide academic petition, which has been supported by over 250 South African academics (www.ujpetition.com). The petition has been backed by Vice-Chancellors from four universities, and prominent leaders such as Breyten Breytenbach, John Dugard, Antjie Krog, Barney Pityana, Kader Asmal and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The overwhelming support of respected South African voices has highlighted the structural complicity of Israeli universities in the occupation and, as a result, the decision by UJ emphasises the necessity for South African universities to reconsider their affiliations to Israeli institutions.
Accepting the recommendations of the report, UJ has committed itself to end any research or teaching relationship with BGU that has direct or indirect military links; or in instances where human rights abuses are identified. If BGU violates any of the conditions agreed on by Senate or UJ’s stated principles, which include “solidarity with any oppressed population”, the relationship will be terminated automatically after 6 months.
Further, Senate has recognised the necessity for the University to engage with Palestinian universities and has made this a requirement for interaction with the Israeli institution.Whilst the decision marks an unprecedented development towards the boycott of Israel by South Africa, UJ’s decision goes only part of the way in meeting the demands raised by the petitioners – which was to emphasise that Israel must abide by international law and that BGU terminates all privileges extended to the IDF.
With this milestone in the academic boycott of Israel, the campaign for academic boycott will persist in taking these gains forward.
For further information contact:
Muhammed Desai 084 211 9988
Natasha Vally 082 6600 723
Farid Esack 0834599989