Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Establishing the Facts About the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

English: Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem, Israel - v...
Jerusalem, Israel (Wikipedia)
by Paul Duffill, Researcher, Part-Time lecturer, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies; Coordinator, Global Social Justice Network at University of Sydney, The Conversation: http://theconversation.edu.au

The last weeks of 2012 saw a great amount of criticism levelled at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Sydney University and its director Jake Lynch following their boycott of an exchange program with Hebrew University.

Critical coverage in The Australian newspaper has been particularly intense. Christian Kerr broke the story, and wrote follow-ups here, here, here and here along with Milanda Rout, John Lyons, and editorials here and here.

Lynch has said this decision was made as part of a larger academic boycott of institutional ties with Israeli universities, called The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

PACBI justifies this boycott by saying, “these institutions are complicit in the system of oppression that has denied Palestinians their basic rights guaranteed by international law”.

Legal truths

On the often emotive issue of Israel-Palestine, it is important to be clear on established facts. Critics of the academic boycott campaign seldom point out the legal fact of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.

The world’s highest authority on international law, the International Court of Justice, ruled in July 2004 that Israel is occupying Palestinian territory in violation of international law and international human rights treaties.

These violations include articles of the Fourth Geneva Convention; the Fourth Hague Convention 1907; UN Security Council Resolutions 446, 452 & 465; and articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Israel is a member of the International Court of Justice and has fully ratified all of these international standards, with the sole exception of the Fourth Hague Convention. This means Israel has committed to fully respect these international laws and treaties.

The Israeli government denies these violations of international law. Journalists should not take this denial as reason to avoid reporting the legal issues of occupation under the misguided idea that the facts appear “muddy” and they fear producing “unbalanced” journalism.

Unfortunately, as with most legal proceedings, one can’t simply take the accused, in this case Israel’s, word for it as to whether they have broken the law or not. The issue must be taken to the relevant legal authorities, which in this case is the the world’s authority on international law, the International Court of Justice.

As in domestic legal proceedings, a party who has been found to have violated the law may continue to publicly maintain their “innocence” no matter what the legal facts are, as the state of Israel continues to do.

This refusal to accept the court’s ruling should not be read as overturning the actual legal validity of the ruling. Israel remains legally obliged to fulfil its promises regarding international law and human rights treaties.

To read further, go to: http://theconversation.edu.au/establishing-the-facts-about-the-boycott-of-israeli-academic-institutions-11565?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+15+January+2013&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+15+January+2013+CID_ab8c977c4d8a6fe268f03243b9ae3466&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Establishing%20the%20facts%20about%20the%20boycott%20of%20Israeli%20academic%20institutions
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