Boycott Israeli Cinema and TV Studies Conference at Tel Aviv University

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Please add your signature to this Call by sending an e-mail with your name, affiliation (if desired), and location to [email protected].

Affirming a commitment to the pursuit of social justice and to the right of political dissent and intellectual freedom that has long been central to the humanities and to the politically-minded, intellectual tradition of cinema and media studies, We, the Undersigned: Call for International Academics to Show Conscientious Respect for the Academic Boycott of Israel by Declining to Submit Proposals to, or Participate in, the Academic Conference, “10thInternational Tel Aviv Colloquium on Cinema and Television Studies: Cinematic Traces of Things to Come,” Sponsored by Tel Aviv University.

[A “TAKE ACTION” option is available beneath this Call.]

The Tel Aviv University Department of Film and Television has recently announced that it will host thisinternational colloquium on June 8-10, 2014.  Dr. Warren Buckland, Reader in Film Studies at Oxford Brookes University, is a scheduled keynote speaker.  The deadline for proposals is January 1, 2014; acceptance notices will be delivered by February 15, 2014. This colloquium announcement invites potential participants to lend their international scholarly credentials to an Israeli academic institution, and in effect to cooperate with the academic normalization of Israel’s human and civil rights violations of its Palestinian citizens.

This boycott call follows on recent decisions by a growing number of international scholars and academic organizations and institutions to boycott Israeli institutions in protest of the US-supported Israeli occupation of Palestine, settlement expansion, the Israeli Wall, and other violations of international law.

Tel Aviv University

Tel Aviv University is complicit in Israel’s unequal treatment of Palestinians (5% of its student population), the majority of whom are citizens of the Israeli state, and the suppression of political dissent; for instance:

  •  Tel Aviv University has chosen to remain silent while the entire population of Gaza has been excluded by the Israeli government from the possibility of enrolling and studying at the university.  Palestinian students from Gaza have a better chance of acceptance at a university in the United States than at Tel Aviv University.[1]
  •  The Tel Aviv University administration restricts the freedom of speech and protest of Palestinian students by honoring the “Nakba Bill,”[2] discriminatory legislation meant to discourage academic discussion and public commemoration of a day of mourning, on the anniversary of the establishment of Israel, for the expulsion by Zionist and Israeli forces of over 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and land, and the massacre of thousands more, during 1947-49.
  •  Tel Aviv University requires potential enrollees to take psychometric exams, a combined aptitude and personality test that has been criticized as culturally biased.  The university likewise administers English language proficiency entrance exams that are structurally biased as a result of Israel’s “separate-but-equal” primary and secondary education system, which prioritizes and promotes Jewish Israeli advancement while under-funding and thus under-developing Palestinian-majority schools.[3]
  •  Like all Israeli universities, Tel Aviv University also adheres to an Israeli law which stipulates that universities must give special treatment to student military reservists—in the form of financial assistance, age restrictions for entry into particular programs, and student housing allotments. This evidences both Tel Aviv University’s complicity in the occupation and its discriminatory practices against Palestinian students, who are not required to serve in the Israeli military.  The university likewise discriminates against the small but significant number of Jewish conscientious objectors who refuse to serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).[4]
  • Tel Aviv University is participating in a settler-run archaeological dig in the “City of David” national park located in the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, in violation of international law.[5]
  • Tel Aviv University, like most Israeli universities, is built on the land of a Palestinian Arab habitat, in this case, Shaykh Muwannis, a large village whose inhabitants were forcibly expelled by the IDF in early 1948. The story of the expulsion, destruction and erasure of this village is told by Professor Shlomo Sand of the Tel Aviv University Department of History.[6]  Part of Sand’s description details the five decades of silence and denial by the University of the facts of this expulsion.

Learn More

Learn more about the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) at http://www.pacbi.org/index.php. This campaign has developed strong followings in most European countries and is increasingly successful. Specific campaigns range from student union activism at university campuses in North America and Europe, to divestment efforts by teachers unions, to cultural boycott campaigns throughout the Arab world and in South Africa. More information about PACBI’s accomplishments is available from the British Committee for Universities in Palestine (BRICUP): http://www.bricup.org.uk.  Detailed answers to many more questions about the rationale, intent, and effectiveness of Academic and Cultural Boycott are available on the U.S. Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott (USACBI) website: http://www.usacbi.org/faqs/

TAKE ACTION

  1. Sign and Forward this Open Letter to show your support and solidarity.  Film and media scholars are especially encouraged to sign, but all signatories are welcome.  Add your signature by sending an e-mail with your name, affiliation (if desired), and location to [email protected].
  2. Send a “Decline To Submit” Cover Letter to Tel Aviv U, or if you have already submitted a proposal, Send TAU a “Withdrawal of Submission/Participation” Letter: Film and media scholars are especially encouraged to consider sending a message to the Department of Film and Television to let them know of your intent to decline to submit a proposal or to withdraw from the selection process. This action is not meant to punish the university staff or professors who may receive paper proposals. Rather, it aims to encourage Israeli academics and academic administrators to take seriously the call for Academic Boycott and to understand its content, purpose and strategies—perhaps even to support the boycott.Consider adding the following paragraph to your communique:

I hope(d) you might find my abstract of merit for the “Cinematic Traces of Things to Come Colloquium.” However, I must now inform you that I decline to submit to the colloquium.  In fact, I am categorically opposed to submitting to, participating in, or attending any academic event at Tel Aviv University. I strongly oppose the Israeli occupation of historic Palestine and the human rights and international law violations it entails, including Tel Aviv University’s complicity in these violations. I urge you to start an open discussion of Academic and Cultural Boycott, as well as broader BDS, at Tel Aviv University in order to better understand why I am declining to submit to this colloquium and why I join the world-wide movement responding to this Call from Palestinian civil society. The following links provide additional background on the intent and strategy of Academic and Cultural Boycott:http://www.pacbi.org/index.phphttp://www.usacbi.org/faqs/http://www.bricup.org.uk.

ENDORSEMENTS (in progress)

U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI)

British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP)

Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine (AURDIP)

Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (InCACBI)

New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership (NYACT)

Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism (CODZ)

Plataforma para el boicot académico a Israel – España (PBAI)

 SIGNATORIES (in progress)

1.   Prof. Neepa Majumdar, English and Film Studies, University of Pittsburgh, USA

2.   Pam Sporn, filmmaker, Grito Productions, New York City, USA

3.   Dr. Terri Ginsberg, film and media scholar, New York City, USA

4.   Tami Gold, filmmaker and professor, New York City, USA

5.   Dr. Colleen Jankovic, film and gender studies scholar, California, USA

6.   Barbara Hammer, independent filmmaker & faculty, European Graduate School, New York City, USA

7.   John Greyson, filmmaker and Associate Professor, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

8.   Miranda Pennell, filmmaker & Ph.D. candidate, University of Westminster, London, UK

9.   Samirah Alkassim, filmmaker, Washington, DC, USA

10. Prof. Haim Bresheeth, School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London; Director, Camera Obscura Films, UK

11. Prof. Robert Lang, Cinema, University of Hartford, CT, USA

12. Prof. Sean Cubitt, Film & TV, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

13. Tania Kamal-Eldin, independent filmmaker, Iowa, USA

14. Mary Ellen Davis, film production instructor and independent documentary director, Montréal, Québec, Canada

15. Linda Mokdad, Lecturer, Screen Arts & Cultures, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA

17. Dr. Dina Matar, Director, Centre for Media and Film Studies, School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London, UK

18. Eyal Sivan, filmmaker, Honorary Fellow, European Center for Palestine Studies, University of Exeter, UK

19. Greg Burris, Doctoral candidate, Film and Media Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

20. Sarah Schulman, co-founder, MIX: NYC Queer Experimental Film Festival, USA

21. Sarah Farahat, intermedia artist, Portland, Oregon, USA

22. Rachel Webb Jekanowski, Ph.D. candidate, Film and Moving Image Studies, Concordia University, Montréal, Québec, Canada

23. Prof. Christopher E. Gittings, Chair, Film Studies, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

24. Prof. John Smith, artist filmmaker, School of Arts and Digital Industries, University of East London, UK

25. Prof. Hoang Tan Nguyen, English and Film Studies, Bryn Mawr College, Philadelphia, PA, USA

26. Donna Wallach, filmmaker, San Jose, CA, USA

27. Dr. Lee Grieveson, Film Studies, University College London, UK

28. Prof. Louis-Georges Schwartz, Head of M.A. Program, School of Film, Ohio University, Athens, USA

29. Avi Hershkovitz, filmmaker, Marseille, France

30. Prof. Scott Ferguson, Film & New Media Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa, USA

31. Prof. Steven Marsh, Spanish Film and Cultural Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA

32. Prof. Damon R. Young, Screen Arts and Cultures, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA

33. Daniel Lindvall, Editor-in-Chief, Film International, Stockholm, Sweden

34. Louis Proyect, film critic, Counterpunch Magazine, USA

35. Carolyn Elerding, Film Studies, Ohio State University, Columbus, USA

36. Dr. Noah Zweig, Film and Media Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

37. Prof. Richard Fung, video artist, Ontario College of Art & Design University, Toronto, Canada

38. Prof. Hagit Borer, School of Languages, Linguistics and Film, Queen Mary University of London, UK

39. Prof. Roopali Mukherjee, Media Studies, Queens College, CUNY, New York City, USA

40. Zoë Lawlor, Lecturer, Languages, Literature, Culture and Communication, University of Limerick, Ireland

41. Prof. Emeritus Mica Nava, Cultural Studies, University of East London, UK

42. Prof. Conrad Alexandrowicz, Theatre, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

43. Robert Haufrecht, actor, New York City, USA

44. Bud Korotzer, photographer, New York City, USA

45. Prof. Rand Carter, Art History, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY, USA

46. Prof. Mona Baker, Translation and Intercultural Studies, University of Manchester, UK

47. Prof.  Emeritus Sam Noumoff, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada

48. John David Moore, M.S., Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA

49. Dr. Denis Rancourt, formerly Professor, University of Ottawa, Canada

50. Noa Shaindlinger, Ph.D. candidate, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

51. Prof. Randa Farah, Anthropology, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada

52. Prof. Michael Harris, Université Paris-Diderot, Paris, France

53. Dr. Ahmed Abbes, Directeur de Recherche au CNRS, Bures-sur-Yvette, France

54. Uri Horesh, Lecturer in Arabic, Program in Middle East and North African Studies, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA

55. Dr. Rosemary Sayigh, oral historian and anthropologist, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

56. Dr. Chris Burns-Cox, formerly Clinical Teacher, Bristol University, UK

57. Prof. Ann Kibbey, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

58. Prof. Leo Parascondola, English, William Paterson University, New Jersey, USA

59. Dr. John Chalcraft, Associate Professor (Reader), Government, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

60. Prof. Emerita Sherna Berger Gluck, Women’s Studies and (Oral) History, California State University, Long Beach, USA

61. Prof. Emerita Marguerite G. Rosenthal, Social Work, Salem State University, MA, USA

62. Douglas Smith, Research, Translation and Interpretation, University of Ottawa, Canada

63. Prof. Cynthia Franklin, English, University of Hawai’i, Manoa, USA

64. Guliz Akkaymak, Ph.D. Candidate, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada

65. Prof. Emerita Abby Lippman, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada

66. Nadia Barhoum, Research Fellow, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, University of California, Berkeley, USA

67. George Beres, faculty (retired), University of Oregon, Eugene, USA

68. Prof. Joseph Levine, Leverett, MA, USA

69. Prof. Ammiel Alcalay, Queens College, The Graduate Center, CUNY, New York City, USA

70. Dr. Les Levidow, Senior Research Fellow, Development Policy and Practice, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK

71. Prof. Haidar Eid, English, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza, Palestine

72. Prof. Andrew Ross, New York University, USA

73. Prof. Jean-Pierre Thys, Erasme University Hospital, Brussels, Belgium

74. Prof. David Heap, French & Linguistics, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada

75. Mike Cushman, Management, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

76. Prof. Emerita Evalyn F. Segal, Behavior Analysis, San Diego State University, CA, USA

77. Prof. Lawrence Davidson, History, West Chester University, PA, USA

78. Prof. Salah D. Hassan, Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA

79. Prof. Emeritus Rod Driver, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, USA

80. Prof. Ray Jureidini, Sociology, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon

81. Dr. Dennis Kortheuer, Lecturer, History, California State University, Long Beach, USA

82. Dr. Ronald Witton, University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia

83. Prof. David Klein, California State University, Northridge, USA

84. Rhon Teruelle, Ph.D. candidate, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

85. Dr. Aitor Hernández, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

86. Prof. Luz Gómez, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain

87. Prof. Claudia Chaufan, Sociology and Health Policy, University of California-San Francisco, USA

88. Dr. Agustin Velloso, Lecturer, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid, Spain

89. Prof. Carlos Taibo, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain

90. Israel Morales Benito, Asamblea Universidad por Palestina de Alicante (AUPA), Spain

91. Prof. Elvira Souto, Ciencias da Educación, Universidade da Coruña, Galiza, Spain

92. Prof. Ramom Lôpez-Suevos Fernández, Ciencias Económicas e Empresariais, Universidade Santiago de Compostela, Galiza, Spain

93. Prof. Marcial Gondar Portosany, Filosofia, Universidade Santiago de Compostela, Galiza, Spain

94. Prof. Janice Peck, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

95. Dr. Ferran Izquierdo Brichs, Lecturer, International Relations, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain

96. Jane Jewell, 14 Friends of Palestine, Marin, CA, USA

97. Greta Berlin, the Free Gaza Movement, Cyprus

98. Pat Hewett, Friends of Sabeel, Colorado, USA

99. Maria Rodriguez, Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), London, UK

100. Elizabeth Morley, AberPSC, Aberystwyth, Wales, UK

101. Michael Letwin, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return; Labor for Palestine, New York City, USA

102. Ned Rosch, Jewish Voice for Peace, Portland, Oregon, USA

103. Darlene Wallach, Justice for Palestinians, San Jose, CA, USA

104. Dr. Jack Dresser, Health Behavior Research Scientist, National vice-chair, Palestine and Middle East Working Group, Veterans for Peace; Co-director, Al-Nakba Awareness Project, Oregon, USA

105. William Thomas, Coordinator, New Hampshire Veterans for Peace, Auburn, NH, USA

106. Ayo Ayola-Amale, Esq., educator, lawyer, poet, peace worker

107. Gloria Bletter, Esq., National Lawyers Guild, New York City, USA

108. Thomas Beilman, retired Program Manager for a major US electronics company, Salem, Oregon, USA

109. Dr. Bill Dienst, family and ER physician, Omak, WA, USA

110. Jane Hirschmann, New York City, USA

111. Allison Brown, Brooklyn, NY, USA

112. Francine Korotzer, New York City, USA

113. Lila Coddington, Middlebury, CT, USA

114. Paul O’Hanlon, Edinburgh, Scotland

115. Mark Berman, USA

116. John R. Porter, Glasgow, Scotland

117. Meg Brizzolara, San Quentin, CA, USA

118. Dr. Tapas Ray, Kolkata, India

119. Maimoona Mollah, India

120. Dennis Brasky, USA

121. Ted Auerbach, New York City, USA

122. Smadar Carmon, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

123. Joanne Gullion, USA

Notes

 [1] Yara Sa’di, “Israel’s repression of Palestinian students reaches new high during Gaza attacks,” The Electronic Intifada 28 November 2012: http://electronicintifada.net/content/israels-repression-palestinian-students-reached-new-level-during-gaza-attack/11948; Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel, “Gaza students to Margaret Atwood: reject Tel Aviv U. prize,” The Electronic Intifada 6 April 2010: http://electronicintifada.net/content/gaza-students-margaret-atwood-reject-tel-aviv-u-prize/1043;  “Story of student from Gaza,” Right to Education Campaign, 26 March 2007: http://nyact.net/testimonies/#student%20from%20Gaza.

[2] Patrick O. Strickland, “Despite threats, students to commemorate Nakba at Tel Aviv University,” The Electronic Intifada 10 May 2013: http://electronicintifada.net/content/despite-threats-students-commemorate-nakba-tel-aviv-university/12445.

 [3] “Psychometric Exam: Barrier to University Entrance for Arab Citizens of Israel,” Dirasat: Arab Center for Law and Policy, 17 May 2010: http://dirasat-aclp.org/index.asp?i=663; Jonathan Cook, “No Room for Arab Students at Israeli Universities,” The Palestine Chronicle 18 August 2010:http://www.palestinechronicle.com/no-room-for-arab-students-at-israeli-universities/#.UquckvvMvac; Aviva Lori, “A Psychometric Exam Geared to Jews,” Ha’aretz 11 October 2007: http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/magazine/a-psychometric-exam-geared-to-jews-1.230857; see also “Second Class: Discrimination against Palestinian Arab Children in Israel’s Schools,” Human Rights Watch, September 2001: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/israel2/ .

[4] “New Initiatives at Tel Aviv University, 2013,” Tel Aviv University,http://english.tau.ac.il/new_initiatives_2013; Yael Livnat, “Education scholarships awarded to outstanding IDF reservists,” Israel Defense Forces, 27 March 2012: http://www.idf.il/1283-15436-EN/Dover.aspx; Yaakov Katz, “Reservists’ benefits package approved,” The Jerusalem Post 30 Dec. 2007,http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Reservists-benefits-package-approved; Anshel Pfeffer, “New ‘bill of rights’ for student reservists,” Ha’aretz 24 Dec. 2003: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/new-bill-of-rights-for-student-reservists-1.109580.

[5] Ben White, “Tel Aviv University’s role in settler-run archaeological dig ‘playing into hands of BDS,’ Israeli academics complain,” The Electronic Intifada 27 Dec 2012:http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ben-white/tel-aviv-universitys-role-settler-run-archaeological-dig-playing-hands-bds-israeli.

[6] Shlomo Sand, The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland, trans. Geremy Forman (London: Verso, 2012).

Boycott Israeli Cinema and TV Studies Conference at Tel Aviv University

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