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160 academics urge EU to stop funding ‘israeli’ universities complicit in violations of human rights, intl. law

A group of 160 academics have called on the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union (EU), to exclude all Israeli universities complicit in the regime’s violations of international law and Palestinian human rights from its taxpayer-funded research programs.

In a letter sent to the Commission, the signatories took aim at Horizon 2020, the largest ever European funding program for research and innovation that has a budget of around $112 billion through to 2027.

The academics acknowledged that the EU has already taken a “principled position” in its funding guidelines for Horizon 2020 by prohibiting the allocation of funds to Israeli entities located in the occupied Palestinian territory.

They, however, called on the European Commission “to extend the prohibition of European research funds to include Israeli institutions complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights, regardless of where they are situated.”

“Indeed, the complicity of Israeli academic institutions in Israel’s structural violence perpetrated against Palestinians across historic Palestine has been broadly and systematically documented,” they added.

The academics also said that “the crux of the problem goes beyond the occupied Palestinian territory,” and that there is growing consensus among human rights organizations that the regime is practicing apartheid inside the so-called Green Line — a pre-1967 demarcation line set out in an armistice agreement that separates the occupied territories from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

“Given the evidence of the relationship between Israeli academic institutions and the systematic state practices of settler colonialism, and the crimes of apartheid and persecution, which have escalated again in Israel’s latest round of violence, we urge you to exercise your leverage and ensure the relationship with Israel’s academic institutions is based on respect for international law and human rights,” they said.

“As current and past beneficiaries of EU research funding, we urge you to amend Horizon 2020 policy guidelines on the participation of Israeli entities to exclude all Israeli academic institutions that are complicit in Israel’s grave violations of international law from Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe, and all EU Research Framework Programmes until they abide by international law and human rights and cease their collaboration and systematic complicity in Israel’s regime of military occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid,” they added.

The academics denounced Israel’s recent brutal military assault on Gaza and 14-year illegal blockade of the coastal sliver as well as the arrest and forced expulsion of the Palestinian people by the regime’s forces.

“Israel’s ongoing arrests and displacements are part of its decades-long campaign of repression, expulsions, unequal residency rights, and discriminatory planning policies that have persisted despite multiple ceasefires. These policies are promoted by extremist settler movements and rubber-stamped by a political and judicial system,” they said.

“However, portraying the historic and ongoing violence as a “conflict” between equally powerful parties is misleading. There is a stark difference between Israel, a heavily militarized state and an occupying power under international law, and the Palestinians who are an occupied, stateless people under a settler-colonial and apartheid regime,” the academics added.

Calls for boycotting Israel have intensified after the the regime’s bombing campaign on Gaza in May that killed at least 260 Palestinians, including 66 children and 39 women, and injured 1948 others.

Some 400 New York University (NYU) affiliates signed a letter calling for “non-cooperation” with the NYU Tel Aviv campus.

Over 600 musicians issued a boycott of performances in the occupied territories until Israel ends its occupation of Palestine.

Hundreds of employees at Amazon, Google and Apple called on the tech giants to support Palestinian rights and cut ties with Israel’s military and intelligence agencies. 

Ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s decided to stop working in the occupied lands.

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