Over 200 academics from across Latin America call for boycott of Israel 

Calling Israel an apartheid state, academics from over 15 countries in the Latin American region demanded that their governments and institutions end all collaboration with the government and institutions of Israel

March 02, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Apartheid wall in the West Bank. Photo: Wikimedia

In a petition, nearly 230 scholars from 15 countries across Latin America have announced an academic and cultural boycott of Israel. In a joint letter, the scholars noted that Israel is an apartheid state and declared that they will not participate in any academic program organized in collaboration with or with the assistance of the Israeli state or institutions.  

The signatories of the letter also demanded that their governments and institutions cease all cooperation with the Israeli state and institutions until it ends its discriminatory policies against Palestinians, the occupation of Palestinian lands, and respects and recognizes all Palestinian rights as stipulated by the UN.    

The letter was issued by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement Colombia chapter. The signatories include Agustina Bogliano from Argentina, Francisco Abogasi from Chile, professor Andrez Hernandez from Colombia, professor Edwin E Daniel from Cuba, professor Patricia Marin Diaz from Mexico and professor Eudis Borra from Venezuela, among others. 

Inspired by the success of the movement against the apartheid regime in South Africa, Palestinians started the BDS in 2005 as a non-violent movement against continued Israeli occupation. The movement seeks a comprehensive cultural, academic and political boycott of Israel until it accepts the UN-recognized rights of Palestinians and ends its occupation. 

The Israeli Zionist regime in Palestine is being increasingly recognized as an apartheid regime by international institutions and organizations. Several organizations, including human rights groups from Israel such as B’Tselem, have called out Israeli policies towards Palestinians. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have also issued reports calling the Israeli regime an apartheid regime. 

The UN human rights council has termed Israel’s daily violence against Palestinians, their forceful displacement, arbitrary arrests and killings, as well as building of illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied territories as discriminatory and has demanded an immediate halt to all such activities.    

At the time of the release of its report on apartheid in Israel, Amnesty’s secretary general Agnes Callamard said that Israeli policies towards Palestinians constitute a crime against humanity and the world needs to take resolute actions against such crimes.

Israel has tried to escape the charges of apartheid by calling such groups and individuals anti-Semitic. It has also carried out negative publicity campaigns against those who call out its policies as apartheid. In some cases, Israel has used its embassies to lobby against activists and politicians critical of its policies in the occupied Palestine territories.