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Hundreds of academics call to boycott genocide conference in Israel

Academics condemn decision to hold a conference on genocide in Jerusalem at a time when Israel’s actions are ‘being viewed through lenses of ethnic cleansing and genocide.’

Protesters hold signs calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) during a Washington, D.C., protest against Israel's offensive on Gaza, August 2, 2014. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Protesters hold signs calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) during a Washington, D.C., protest against Israel’s offensive on Gaza, August 2, 2014. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Nearly 270 academics from 19 countries are calling to boycott the fifth Global Conference on Genocide, set to take place on June 26-29 at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

In a letter sent to the International Network of Genocide Scholars (INoGS) on May 3, the academics pointed to the hypocrisy of having the conference in Israel at a time when Israel’s actions are “increasingly being viewed through lenses of ethnic cleansing and genocide linked to settler colonialism.”

According to the signatories, there are serious allegations that Israel “committed crimes against humanity” during the 2014 Gaza war. One of the signatories, John Docker, who has written extensively in the fields of genocide and massacre studies claims that such a conference cannot take place in Israel at a time when genocide studies is “actively seeking opportunities to be complicit in Israel’s flouting of international law.”

INoGS has yet to respond to the letter, and the conference is set to proceed as planned. The organizers did not respond to requests by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), an organization that includes Palestinian academics from Gaza who claim that they bore witness to massacres during the summer of 2014. Academics from the U.K., US, South Africa, Brazil, and other countries have previously signed various petitions calling to boycott Israeli academia, and specifically Hebrew University, for its complicity in the violations of Palestinian rights.

On Sunday it was revealed that famed British historian Catherine Hall had refused to accept a prestigious award and $330,000 from Tel Aviv University, also due to its complicity in the occupation. According to a statement published Friday by the British Committee for Universities of Palestine (BRICUP), which supports BDS, Hall withdrew from the prize “after many discussions with those who are deeply involved with the politics of Israel-Palestine.”

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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    1. Mark

      There certainly seems to be a need for a conference on genocide.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Brian Scott

      Wow what reporting. At first I thought who would write such a one sided piece but then looked up the author and now I understand. +972 is garbage.

      Reply to Comment
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