N.Y.U. Review of Law & Social Change Statement of Commitment to the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions Movement
The Board and Staff Editors of the N.Y.U. Review of Law & Social Change 2021-22∞
The N.Y.U. Review of Law & Social Change (“RLSC”) expresses our firm commitment to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (“BDS”) movement and our solidarity with Palestinians collectively struggling towards liberation.
BDS is a Palestinian-led movement that urges action to pressure Israel to end its occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, discrimination against Palestinian citizens, and denial of the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.1
Academic institutions are a key part of the ideological and institutional scaffolding of Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid against the Palestinian people. Since its founding, the Israeli academy has cast its lot with the hegemonic political-military establishment in Israel, and notwithstanding the efforts of a handful of principled academics, the Israeli academy is profoundly implicated in supporting and perpetuating Israel’s systematic denial of Palestinian rights.2
In a small, collective step to combat that complicity, RLSC commits fully to the goals of BDS consumer3 and academic4 boycott campaigns. The academic boycott targets complicit institutions, not individuals.
RLSC will join the Palestinian BDS National Committee’s targeted consumer boycott. RLSC will not purchase products made by or that utilize services rendered by Israeli and/or international companies implicated in the violation of Palestinian rights. These companies include, among others, Hewlett-Packard, Sodastream, Sabra, and Pillsbury.5
Academic Boycott of Complicit Institutions
RLSC’s institutional boycott will include “events, activities, agreements, or projects involving Israeli academic institutions or that otherwise promote the normalization of Israel in the global academy, whitewash Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian rights, or violate the BDS guidelines.”6 In particular, RLSC will boycott:7
- Academic events convened or cosponsored by Israel, complicit Israeli institutions, or their support and lobby groups;
- Funding from Israel or its lobby groups to support academic activities/projects;
- Addresses and talks at international venues by Israeli state officials or official representatives of Israeli academic institutions;
- Special academic honors or recognition granted to Israeli officials, representatives of Israeli academic institutions, or to Israeli academic or research institutions; and
- Academic activities, projects, or publications “based on the false premise of symmetry/parity between the oppressors and the oppressed or that claim that both colonizers and colonized are equally responsible for the ‘conflict’ . . . .”8 We find such efforts to be “intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible forms of normalization” that must be boycotted.9
The academic boycott is an institutional boycott “[a]nchored in precepts of international law and universal human rights,” and “rejects on principle boycotts of individuals based on their identity (such as citizenship, race, gender, or religion) or opinion.”10 “Mere affiliation of Israeli scholars” or students “to an Israeli academic institution is therefore not grounds for applying the boycott.”11 However, if “an individual is representing the state of Israel or a complicit Israeli institution (such as a dean, rector, or president), or is commissioned/recruited to participate in Israel’s efforts to ‘rebrand’ itself, then [their] activities are subject to the institutional boycott the BDS movement is calling for.”12
BDS at NYU
RLSC recognizes that universities across the globe13 are complicit in Israel’s settler-colonial apartheid regime.14 Universities obscure, legitimize, and perpetuate the profound violence Israel inflicts on Palestinians.
RLSC recognizes and denounces NYU’s particular complicity in Israeli apartheid. We follow the Student Government Assembly15 and more than fifty NYU student groups in committing to the BDS movement,16 and join GSOC-UAW Local 211017 in calling on NYU to:
- Divest its investments from Israeli state institutions and international companies complicit in the ongoing violation of Palestinian human rights;
- Decline to conduct business with those institutions and companies in the future; and
- Close its program at Tel Aviv University.
RLSC is proud to support the BDS movement and to stand in solidarity with Palestinians resisting their oppression.
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