Simone de Beauvoir Institute’s Statement of Feminist Solidarity with the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement

On February 17, 2016, representatives of the Students, Faculty, Staff, Fellows, and Research Associates of the Simone de Beauvoir Institute (SdBI) voted in unanimous support of the following resolution on the Palestinian call for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement:

As feminist scholars, activists, teachers, and public intellectuals we recognize the interconnectedness of systemic forms of oppression. In the spirit of this perspective, we cannot overlook the injustice and violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, perpetrated against Palestinians and other Arabs in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, within Israel and in the Golan Heights, as well as the colonial displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba. The discriminatory treatment, exclusion, military siege and apartheid imposed by Israel on its own Palestinian citizens as well as those residing in the occupied territories constitute flagrant breaches of international law, UN resolutions, and fundamental human rights. In the present moment, our counterparts in Palestine face daily violations of their human rights, including their academic rights to free speech, assembly, association, and movement. At the same time, Israeli institutions of higher learning have not challenged, but instead legitimized Israel’s oppressive policies and violations. These violations, which severely impact the daily lives and working conditions of Palestinian scholars, students, and society at large, are also enabled by tax dollars and the tacit support of Western powers, thus making any taxpayer in Canada and the West complicit in perpetuating these injustices. As members of the SdBI who are committed to justice, dignity, equality and peace, we affirm our opposition to the historical and current injustices in Palestine that we view as part and parcel of the multiple oppressions we study and teach about. We also affirm the commitment of the SdBI to principles of human rights, justice and freedom for all, including academic freedom. The SdBI has had a long tradition of welcoming feminists committed to peace. Along the years, the SdBI has organized or sponsored many BDS activities or activities part of Israeli Apartheid week. Therefore, in keeping with the above principles and in line with the SdBI’s history and present commitments, let it be resolved that the SdBI endorses the call by 2 Palestinian civil society for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) of economic, military, academic and cultural entities and projects sponsored by the state of Israel. In doing so, we join the growing grassroots international consensus and add our voices to a large number of academic associations and entities that adopted similar resolutions in recent years.

We add our voices to those who have declared their support for BDS because we believe that boycott, divestment and sanctions are the most effective nonviolent means for achieving justice and peace in the region. The Simone de Beauvoir Institute recognizes that the issue of BDS raises many questions, and sparks heated debate. As feminist educators and students, we promote open dialogue and an educational approach to understanding the issues. In the next pages, we outline some of the key tenets of the resolution and what it implies. We also provide a list of resources for further reading on the topic (see page 12).

Simone de Beauvoir Institute Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec

April 13, 2016