PETITION: Support Jake Lynch’s academic boycott of Israel and end USyd’s collaboration with the Technion 7May13 May 7, 2013
We the undersigned would like to express our support for Associate Professor Jake Lynchâs recent refusal to assist Israeli academic Dan Avnon
of Hebrew University.
Lynch is director of the University of Sydneyâs Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS). To accept Avnonâs proposed fellowship between
the institutions would have violated the CPACSâs official commitment to the global campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against
Israel until it complies with international law which includes a boycott of institutional links with Israeli universities. The University of Sydney's institutional partnerships should not come at the expense of Palestinians' human rights. Therefore we also demand
an end to the strong relationship between the University of Sydney and the Technion, an Israeli university uniquely and directly implicated in war crimes.
Why is this important?
BDS is not an âextremeâ or âradicalâ policy as has been made out in The Australian newspaper. Israel is a state that systematically defies international law.
It has occupied Palestinian territories in defiance of the UN Security Council for over 40 years, expanding settlements which are regarded as illegal by the
international community. The International Court of Justice condemned Israelâs apartheid wall in the West Bank as âillegalâ in 2004 and a UN investigation
of the 2009 Gaza war condemned Israel for âgrave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Conventionâ in targeting civilians. In November 2012 Israelâs latest assault
on Gaza, "Pillar of Cloud", killed 157 Palestinians including dozens of children. Israel's indiscriminate bombing of civilians was described as a âwar crimeâ by
Human Rights Watch and was immediately followed by Israel announcing plans to build 1500 new settlement homes on illegally occupied Palestinian land.
Therefore we are disappointed that the university management seems to have attempted to distance the university from the ethical stance taken by CPACS.
The Vice Chancellor Michael Spence argues that the Australian Governmentâs diplomatic relations with Israel make the university boycott âinappropriateâ.
However, it is the failure of such local and international foreign policy to seriously challenge Israelâs disregard for international law that makes the BDS necessary.
BDS is a non-violent and effective strategy to help end Israeli impunity and move towards the realisation of the Palestinians' rights. The target of the CPACSâs
boycott could not be more appropriate. The Hebrew University is clearly implicated in the illegal occupation as its Mount Scopus campus occupies land in East
Jerusalem which is internationally recognised as being on the Palestinian side of the Green Line.
The stance taken by CPACS has made clear that the University of Sydney's institutional partnerships should not come at the expense of Palestinians' human rights.
It is thus troubling to observe the strong relationship between the University of Sydney and Israeli universities, none of which has ever made a public statement
critical of the occupation or Israelâs systematic denial of Palestinian human rights, including refugee rights. Most troubling of all are the links with the
Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. The Technion, through its ties to arms manufacturing and development, is an Israeli university uniquely and directly
implicated in war crimes. The Technion's research history includes the development of the remote control D9 bulldozer used to demolish Palestinian homes in
violation of the Geneva Conventions and it has strong links to Elbit Systems - the company that produces technology for the apartheid wall declared illegal by the
International Court of Justice. As such, we demand, as a first step:
i) That the Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence immediately establish a policy to end all existing and further academic, research and student exchange
relationships with the Technion. ii) That the Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence, Dean of Sydney Medical School Professor Bruce Robinson, and the Associate Dean (International) of
Sydney Medical School and Director of the Office for Global Health Professor Merrilyn Walton immediately end the current partnership between the
Technion and the University of Sydney Health Faculties. For more information please contact: Ailin from Students for Justice in Palestine USyd at firstname.lastname@example.org OR Bjorn Wallin at email@example.com