Palestinian Appeal to International Civil Society: Boycott the "Israel at 60" Celebrations!

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May/June 2008 | Go to article overview

Palestinian Appeal to International Civil Society: Boycott the "Israel at 60" Celebrations!


March 30, 2008

HOW CAN YOU celebrate? The establishment of the State of Israel 60 years ago was a settler-colonial project that systematically and violently uprooted more than 750 thousand Palestinian Arabs from their lands and homes. Sixty years ago, Zionist militias and gangs ransacked Palestinian properties and destroyed hundreds of Palestinian villages. How can people of conscience celebrate this catastrophe?

Israel at 60 is a state that continues to deny Palestinian refugees their U.N.-sanctioned right to return to their homes and receive compensation, simply because they are "non-Jews." It still illegally occupies Palestinian and other Arab lands, in violation of numerous U.N. resolutions. It persists in its blatant denial of fundamental Palestinian human rights, in contravention of international humanitarian law and human rights conventions. It still subjects its own Palestinian citizens to a system of institutionalized discrimination, strongly reminiscent of the defunct apartheid regime in South Africa. And Israel gets away with all this, thanks to the unprecedented immunity granted to it by the unlimited and munificent U.S. and European economic, diplomatic, political, and academic support.

In view of this multi-faceted oppression that is the reality of Israel today, we regard any Arab or international participation, whether individual or institutional, in any activity that contributes, either directly or indirectly, to the "celebrations" of Israel's establishment, as collusion in the perpetuation of the dispossession and uprooting of refugees, the prolongation of the occupation, and the deepening of Israeli apartheid. Inviting Israel as a "guest of honor" to the Turin and Paris book fairs, for example, is not only a deliberate betrayal of basic principles of human rights, including those enshrined in the laws of the European Union itself, but is also a deliberate attempt to cover up Israel's crimes against the Arab people, especially its successive war crimes in Lebanon and Palestine, and its acts of slow genocide against a million and a half Palestinians in the besieged and collectively punished Gaza Strip. In short, celebrating "Israel at 60" is tantamount to dancing on Palestinian graves.

We urge international civil society in all its components, particularly institutions and individuals working in the arts, academia, sport, trade unions, and communities of faith to boycott the "Israel at 60" celebrations wherever they are held in the world. These celebrations, by definition, insult our history, violate our rights, and deepen our oppression. They also render the path to justice, freedom, equality, and sustainable peace based on international law longer than ever before.

Institutional Endorsers:

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

Department of Refugee Affairs-PLO

Jerusalem-The Arab Cultural Capital Project, Jerusalem

Higher National Committee for the Defense of the Right to Return

The General Union of Palestinian Women

Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, PGFTU

Palestinian Farmers' Union

Popular Committee Against the Siege (PCAS), Gaza

Federation of Palestinian Refugee Camp Youth Centers

Higher National Committee for the Commemoration of the Nakba, Palestine

Refugee Affairs Department, Mobilization and Organization, Fatah Movement

Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO)

Ittijah-Union of the Arab Community Based Organizations, Haifa

Union of Palestinian Women's Committees, UPWC, Ramallah

Stop the Wall-the Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign

Union of Employees at Private Schools-West Bank

Association of Residents of Depopulated Villages and Cities, Ramallah

General Federation of Cultural Centers, Gaza

Jerusalem Center for Social & Economic Rights, JCSER, Jerusalem

Federation of Independent Workers Committees, Gaza

League of Palestinian Refugees in Europe

BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Bethlehem

Occupied Palestine Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI)

Al-Aswar Organization for Cultural and Social Development, Acre

University Teachers Association, Gaza

Joint Advocacy Initiative of the YMCA-YWCA (JAI), Jerusalem

General Union of Health Service Workers, Gaza

Aida Refugee Camp Social Center, Aida Refugee Camp

A'idoun Group, Syria

Palestinian Community in Scandinavia

Canadian Arab Federation

Palestinian Counseling Center, Jerusalem

Land Research Center, Palestine, Jerusalem

Muwatin the Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy

Palestinian Association of Brantford-Canada

Center for the Defense of Freedoms and Civil Rights (Hurriyat)

Wihdah Democratic Action Institute (Wa'ad)-Bethlehem

Federation of Agricultural Action Committees

Canada Palestine Association, Vancouver

Addameer, Ramallah

Ma'an Development Center, Ramallah

Gaza Center for Culture and Arts

Voice of Palestine, Canada

Canadian Palestinian Association, Ontario, Canada

Taghrid Association for Culture, Development and Reconstruction, Gaza

Jabalya-al-Nazaleh Cultural Center, Jabalya Camp, Gaza

Federation of Agricultural Work Committees, Gaza

Turathuna Charitable Society, Gaza

The Popular Committee at al-Burayj Camp, Gaza

El-Funoun Palestinian Popular Dance Troupe, Al-Bireh

Adalah-NY: The Coalition for Justice in the Middle East, NY

General Union of Services and Trade Workers, Gaza Governorates

The National Council of Arab Americans-Metropolitan New York Chapter, NY

The Arab Muslim American Federation

The Palestinian American Congress, New York

Dramatists' Federation

Society for the Development of Women, al-Burayj Camp, Gaza

Yanbou' Cultural Forum, al-Reina

Palestinian Human Rights Monitor (Rassid), Gaza

Yabous Productions, Jerusalem

The Arab Student Observatory of Victims of Occupation and Blockade of the General Union of Arab Students (GUAS)

Arab Culture Society

Al-Siwar-Arab Feminist Movement to Support Victims of Sexual Assault, Haifa

Popular Art Center, Al-Bireh

Federation of Working Women's Committees

Palestinian Federation of Women's Action Committees

Al-Najda Association for the Development of Palestinian Women

Teacher Creativity Center, Ramallah

Palestinian Association for Contemporary Art (PACA)

Al-Quds Information Bank, Gaza

Women's Center for Legal Aid and Counseling, Ramallah

The Palestinian Working Women's Society for Development

Jimzo Charitable Society

Al-Lidd (Lydda) Charitable Society, Ramallah-Al-Bireh Governorate

Al-Lidd (Lydda) Social Association, Beitunia

Lifta Charitable Society, Palestine

Committee of Residents of Greater Masmiyya, Ramallah-Al-Bireh Governorate

Falsteen Al Gaad Association-Deheisha refugee camp

Meethaq Center for Development, Alkahder

Women Development Center, Addoha, Bethlehem

Al Feeneeq Center, Duheisheh Refugee Camp

Palestinian Progressive Youth Union, Gaza

Palestinian Women's Information and Media Center, Gaza

Said Mishal Foundation for Culture and Science, Gaza

Assala Association for Heritage and Development, Gaza

Juthourr Cultural Society, Gaza

Women's Research and Legal Counseling Center, Gaza

Media Forum for Women Affairs Advocacy, Gaza

Palestinian Cultural Center, Gaza

Refugees Popular Committee, Gaza

Workers Resource Center, Gaza

Progressive Union Work Society, Gaza

Friends of An-Nour Center Society, Gaza

Al-Aqsa Charitable Youth Welfare Society, Gaza

The One Democratic State Group, Gaza

Arab Cultural Forum, Gaza

Palestinian Democratic Union-Fida

[Sidebar]

A Palestinian couple in a tent in Lebanon's Ein al-Hilweh refugee camp (Private Palestinian Photo Collections. …

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Palestinian Appeal to International Civil Society: Boycott the "Israel at 60" Celebrations!
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