Manifesto for the creation of a university network of solidarity with the Palestinian people

Image: Khaled Hourani
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By VARIOUS AUTHORS*

Professors from Brazilian universities – joining the initiatives that, around the world, denounce the humanitarian tragedy in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank – decide to create a “University Network of Solidarity with the Palestinian People”.

Faced with the apartheid regime and the current policy of terror practiced by the State of Israel, justified in an unconditional and overwhelming way by the Brazilian and global business media, we understand that the Brazilian academic community is challenged to take a public stance in defense of justice and historical rigor . Solidarity with the Palestinian people is an indispensable moral and intellectual responsibility that is imposed on university professors who have democratic, humanist and critical convictions and defend the self-determination of the people.

Immediately, this Manifesto calls on teachers to organize committees, in their different fields university students, in order to promote various actions: political debates (in-person and virtual) with researchers and activists, artistic activities (musical, theatrical, film screenings) that contribute to ensuring that the academic community – teachers, students and staff – is properly informed and sensitized by the historical oppression faced by the Palestinian people and the brutal massacre to which they are being subjected. To carry out these initiatives, we must certainly seek the support of teaching entities that represent us politically and unionically.

In this text in which we announce the creation of the University Network, we believe that some positions of this collective should be explained. Briefly and synthetically, we mention a few:

  • We reiterate that this University Network will seek to associate itself with all democratic and progressive civil society entities that have organized demonstrations (public acts and debates) throughout the country, defending the immediate Ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, a decisive condition for stop the process of genocide in the region, promoted by the armed forces of the State of Israel;
  • In this sense, we cannot but recognize the initiatives of current Brazilian foreign policy in relation to the ongoing conflict. Among them: a) the performance of our diplomacy, which in the exercise of the presidency of the UN Security Council, committed itself to promoting a solution to the war against the Palestinian people; b) the decision of the Brazilian government – ​​together with other countries – to show solidarity with South Africa's petition to call the International Court of Justice, in The Hague, to order Israel to immediately cease all acts and measures that could constitute genocide or related crimes under the Genocide Convention; c) we welcome the decision of the Brazilian government to suspend the military agreements signed with Israel during the Bolsonaro government, and we urge that all military and security contracts in force with Israel are revoked given the continuity of the atrocious war crimes against the Palestinian people and the probable crimes against humanity now committed;
  • In defense of freedom of expression and the exercise of critical thinking, we cannot but repudiate all the ostensible initiatives of Zionist agencies in Brazil that, in the media and on social networks, aim to censor public debate and criminalize teachers, students, intellectuals, politicians, journalists , Brazilian artists and writers. In clear opposition to the State of Israel's terror policy, such critics have repeatedly been accused of anti-Semites. Politically and intellectually dishonest and fraudulent, the accusation is based on the tortuous logic and bad faith with which Judaism and Zionism are identified. Academics and critical intellectuals have the permanent task of repudiating this historical and theocratic falsification of Zionism throughout the world, which consists of identifying anti-Zionism with an anti-Semitic action: a falsification that has been going on since at least 2016, when the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) launched his “new definition of anti-Semitism”. We do not accept confusing the policies of a government or the practices of a regime with any ethnicity or religion. Anti-Semitism, as well as Islamophobia and racism, must be fought tirelessly.
  • Although it raises considerable controversy within the country's universities and research centers, we understand that the proposals of the global movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) – defending the boycott of goods produced in Israel and its cultural and academic institutions – must be part of our specific agenda of struggles at the university. Recognized as a valuable instrument in the non-violent fight against apartheid – as it seeks to weaken the Israeli government and internationally embarrass its allies and financiers –, we believe that we should question the existence of cultural and academic agreements that some Brazilian universities maintain with private and official entities in Israel. The boycott of academies does not extend to teachers and researchers, who should not be punished for the actions of the State and its institutions, and who are often in solidarity with the national liberation struggle of the Palestinian people.

As professors who have critical, democratic and humanist convictions, we defend the need to guarantee the Palestinian people and their leaders the exercise of their right to national liberation and full sovereignty. 

In defense of a society free from all forms of oppression and discrimination, we are for an end to the occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and against the regime of apartheid throughout the region,

University professors across the country who wish to subscribe to this Manifesto can do so here: University Manifesto in solidarity with the Palestinian people.


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