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Appeal to Authors to Boycott ‘Celebrating India in Israel’ Festival at the University of Haifa

Thursday 2 May 2013, by InCACBI

New Delhi, April 30, 2013

Dear Namita Gokhale and Amish Tripathi,

We, a group of artists, academics and activists in India, came together in 2010 to campaign against yet another apartheid regime by extending support to the Palestinian call for an international campaign for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel (see

We understand that you are to participate in the festival “Celebrating India in Israel” organised by the Indian Embassy in Israel and Teamwork Productions, and that one of the events, an “authors in conversation” on May 9, 2013, will be at the University of Haifa

We appeal to you, as writers of conscience, to boycott this event. We would like to clarify that the Palestinian call for an international boycott ( and our response to it is not against individuals; nor is it against visits to Israel. The boycott is on all events and projects that involve Israeli state institutions, or institutions that collaborate with the Israeli state.

Why single out the University of Haifa?

1. Haifa University serves as a “proud” home for Israeli security services as well as the Israeli military (see In 2010, Haifa University announced the successful bid for an Israeli army tender to continue training students at the army’s College for National Security for post-graduate studies. Haifa University thus confirmed, once again, the organic partnership between the Israeli academy and the state’s system of colonial control, apartheid and occupation of Palestine. For more see (1) and (3).

2. A report released by the Arab Youth Association-Baladna documents the various facets of racial discrimination against Palestinian students at Haifa University, one of the Israeli universities branded as “a place of tolerance and diversity”. The report states that Haifa University has condoned, indeed invited, police suppression of legitimate political expression on the part of Palestinian student activists on campus. In the matter of admissions, the university specifies the minimum age of 20 for applicants to a number of specializations, thus discriminating against fresh Palestinian secondary school graduates who have not performed military service. The University’s dormitory space allocation and financial aid disbursement policies also follow the same pattern. For more see (2), (4) and (5).

It is because of these reasons that the British Association of University Teachers called for a boycott of Haifa University in 2005 for "symbolizing aspects of the occupation."

Should Israel be admitted into the global cultural arena when it does not respect international law and recognize the Palestinian people’s right to freedom, equality and justice? At a time when the international movement to isolate Israel is gaining ground in response to the escalation of Israel’s colonial and racist policies, we urge you to reflect upon the ethical implications of your accepting an invitation to participate in an event at the University of Haifa. Your participation would inadvertently help whitewash Israel’s practices, making it appear as though business with Israel should go on as usual.

Please don’t let your writing be used to legitimize home demolitions, illegal raids, the use of white phosphorous, political and child imprisonments, racist marriage bans, piracy and execution in international waters, collective punishment, Occupation, checkpoints, roadblocks, and the bombing and closing of educational institutions. If you cancel your event at the University of Haifa, you will also be encouraging other writers, artists and academics around the world to follow your lead, and take a stand for justice and an end to apartheid.


(Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) (

Ayesha Kidwai, Convenor (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Mohan Rao, Convenor (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Gargi Sen, Convenor (Film-maker)

Githa Hariharan, Convenor (Writer)

N Pushpamala, Convenor (Artist)

Amar Kanwar (Film-maker)

Anand Patwardhan (Film-maker)

Arundhati Roy (Writer)

Dhruv Sangari (Singer)

Geeta Kapoor (Art Critic)

K Satchidanandan (Writer)

M.K. Raina (Theatre)

Ram Rahman (Artist)

Saba Dewan (Film-maker)

Saeed Mirza (Film-maker)

Sheba Chhachhi (Artist)

Vivan Sundaram (Artist)

Amita Kanekar (Writer)

Ayisha Abraham (Artist)

Brijesh Kumar (Theatre)

Ein Lall (Film-maker)

Geeta Kapoor (Art Critic)

Ira Bhaskar (Film-maker)

Meena Menon (Writer)

Moloyshree Hashmi (Theatre)

Saba Hasan (Artist)

Shashi Deshpande (Writer)

Sriram Ananth (Writer)

Terri Ginsberg (Film Scholar)

And 150 other members of InCACBI


[2] SOAS Palestine Society Report: "Tel Aviv University part and parcel of the Israeli Occupation,"

[3] Keller, U. (2009) the Academic Boycott of Israel and the Complicity of Israeli Academic Institutions in Occupation of Palestinian Territories. The Economy of the Occupation: A Socioeconomic Bulletin: Alternative Information Centre.

[4] Adva, Israel, A Social Report 2008-2009, ; Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. Education rights—Palestinian citizens of Israel, (2003), Shafa’amr, Israel; Human Rights Watch. Second Class: Discrimination Against Palestinian Arab Children in Israel’s Schools (2001),

[5] Haifa University and the Policy of racial discrimination against Palestinian Students (May 2010); Arabic text at: