New Yorkers Against the Cornell- Technion Partnership (NYACT)

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Anna Calcutt | BRICUP Newsletter 54 | 6 Juillet 2012 |

The formation of a new academic boycott campaign in New York

On December 19th 2011 New York City Mayor Bloomberg announced that Cornell University and its partner, The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, had won a bid for a massive new applied sciences and technology campus to be built
on Roosevelt Island, in Manhattan. This was agreed
behind closed doors, without consulting staff and faculty at Cornell [1].

What the public was not told is that The Technion is complicit in Israel’s violations of international law and the rights of Palestinians, specifically by designing military weapons and developing technologies that are used to drive Palestinians off
their land, repress demonstrations for their rights, and carry out attacks against people in Lebanon, Gaza, and elsewhere [2,3]. For these reasons, The
Technion is directly implicated in war crimes. Furthermore, The Technion practices institutional discrimination against Palestinian students by severely restricting their freedom of speech and assembly, and rewarding Jewish students who,
unlike Palestinians, perform compulsory military service in Israel [4]. This is in direct contrast to Cornell University’s founding values of universalism and inclusion embodied in the university’s motto “any person any study”. Any
collaboration with The Technion makes a university likewise complicit.

In response to the Palestinian call for an academic boycott of Israel in 2004 [5], and the subsequent Appeal for Action against the Cornell University Collaboration with The Technion in March 2012 [6], New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion
Partnership (NYACT) was recently formed. NYACT is an ad-hoc coalition of New York-based students, academics, activists, writers, laborers, and concerned individuals who are of many different faiths including Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and atheism. Founding members include activists from the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) and Cornell University
Students for Justice in Palestine ; groups which NYACT continue to work closely with. A wider framework of support is provided from other NYbased
groups, as well as groups across the US, Canada, Palestine, Israel, South Africa, and Europe. Notably, along with Palestinian solidarity groups
and grassroots activists, various major Jewish groups support this campaign.

NYACT demand :

1. That the City of New York Administration ends this collaboration, for which $100
million of New Yorker’s tax-payer money has been promised,

2. That the Cornell University Administration ends its partnership with The Technion, in line with the call by the Palestinian Council for Higher Education’s request for “noncooperation in the scientific and technical
fields between Palestinian and Israeli universities” [6].

NYACT also ask all people of conscience to join in their support of the international boycott of Israeli academic institutions and universities, and more
generally to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, as called for by Palestinian civil society [7].

Anna Calcutt, NYACT

Next month’s issue of the BRICUP Newsletter will include a more detailed article about this campaign.

Notes :

[1] http://cornellsun.com/node/50269

[2] http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/new-york-host-israels-top-drone-lab

[3] http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/in-opposition-to-cornell-universitys/

[4] p12-13 ; Uri Yacobi Keller, The Economy of the Occupation : A Socioeconomic Bulletin. (Jerusalem : Alternative Information Center, 2009).

[5] http://pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=869

[6] http://pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1829

[7] Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees ; Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions ; Palestinian NGO
Network, West Bank ; Teachers’ Federation ; Palestinian Writers’ Federation ; Palestinian League of Artists ; Palestinian Journalists’ Federation ;
General Union of Palestinian Women ; Palestinian Lawyers’ Association ; and tens of other Palestinian federations, associations, and civil society organizations.