Rosaura Sánchez’s Statement in Support of a Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

Rosaura Sánchez is a Professor in the Literature Department at the University of California, San images-1-copyDiego.  She is the author of articles, books and essays dealing with Chicano/a – Latino/a literatures and criticism and theory and a creative writer, author of short stories and co-author of the sci-fi novel Lunar Braceros.  She is a former member of the MLA Executive Committee and a current member of the MLA Delegate Assembly.

Sign the “Open Letter” calling on the MLA membership to endorse a resolution in support of the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Only the signatures of (former or current) MLA members will be included.

I would like to urge all MLA members to heed the call to support the academic boycott of Israeli institutions in view of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory and apartheid policies in historic Palestine.  For someone who has long studied the history of U.S. dispossession of the indigenous and Mexican populations in the Southwest, the parallels are all too clear. I am indignant that today’s world tolerates the dispossession and segregation of the Palestinian people and I am especially incensed at my own government for contributing close to three billion dollars a year of our tax dollars to the Israeli state, much of it in military aid to attack, oppress, and subjugate the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank.

It is necessary that Israeli academicians and the Israeli populace rise up in protest of their state’s settler colonialism and stop the establishment of new settlements on the West Bank.  It is crucial that the change in Israeli policies come from within, with Israeli citizen protests and demands to dismantle their state’s apartheid policies and end their unconscionable policies of discrimination, intolerance and rights denial of Palestinians and the blockade of Gaza.  It is time to tear down the wall that separates Palestinians from their land.  The complicity of Israeli academic institutions in these policies, in the denial of education rights of Palestinian students in Gaza, and in the bombing of schools and universities is what leads us to propose the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.  It is not about Jews versus non-Jews; it is about Palestinian dispossession and Israeli violence.  We academics in the U.S. must also place pressure on our own government and on corporations to stop military aid and financial and political support to the Israeli state.  The BDS movement is our opportunity as academics to make our outrage known.   The MLA academic boycott of Israeli institutions will speak loud and clear about our dissent with current Israeli policies of aggression against Palestinians and U.S. collusion with these practices.