The US National Women’s Studies Association has joined other civil rights groups in the country to boycott Israel in solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people.
In a 653-86 vote conducted during the organization’s annual conference earlier this month, the group decided to join the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, the association announced last week.
The NWSA move does not boycott only Israeli academic institutions, but also affirms the association’s endorsement of “the 2005 call by Palestinian civil society for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of economic, military and cultural entities and projects sponsored by” Israel.
The recommendation to join the BDS was made by Feminists for Justice In/For Palestine, an ad hoc group founded at the studies association’s annual conference in Puerto Rico in 2014.
Simona Sharoni, one of the co-founders of the ad hoc group, said the NWSA vote is highly important in positioning Palestinian solidarity as a “feminist issue.”
“We cannot overlook the injustice and violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, perpetrated against Palestinians and other Arabs in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, within Israel and in the Golan Heights, as well as the colonial displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba,” reads part of the text of the recommendation approved by members on Friday.
In addition to the NWSA, there have been other institutions and organizations in the US which have joined the BDS so far.
In August, more than 1,000 African-American activists wrote a letter and “reaffirmed solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and commitment to the liberation of Palestine’s land and people.”
Senior civil rights activists, such as scholars Cornel West and Angela Davis, and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, signed the document.
Also, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America union voted in favor of a resolution entitled “Justice and Peace for the Peoples of Palestine and Israel” during its national convention on August 20.
So far, almost half a dozen US-based scholarly associations in the social sciences and humanities have endorsed the BDS movement.
The BDS campaign against Israel began in July 2005 by 171 Palestinian organizations, calling for “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”
The movement seeks to end the Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands and respect the right of return of Palestinian refugees.