KTH should boycott Israeli universities in order to contribute to peace

Stockholm 5 May 2009

In a reaction to the Israeli assault on Gaza last December/January a group of academics at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) formulated an appeal to the University administration, the Faculty Board, the Faculty Collegium and the Student Union, demanding a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. It was pointed out that KTH has an obligation to apply its own ethical policy “based on democracy, people’s equal rights, human rights and a free and open discussion, equal opportunity between women and men, and rejection of all forms of discrimination” (University Board 2008-10-21).

The appeal was endorsed by some 40 students, teachers, researchers and other members of staff. It highlighted the fact that Gaza had been under continuous blockade for a long time, resulting in immeasurable human, social and physical losses. The appeal also pointed to the land confiscations, expulsion of people and destruction of Palestinian houses during a period of 60 years, all of which have been in violation of International Law. Also rights to self-governance and freedom to hold public meetings are denied to Palestinians.

The appeal pointed to the necessity for boycotting Israel as a tool to end the violation of human rights and to bring justice in Palestine, giving the successful experience of boycotting Apartheid South Africa as an inspiring example.

The appeal was submitted at the end of January. So far (7 May 2009), the letter has not received any type of response from the university leadership or from the student union.

Following the submission of the appeal, concerned academics at KTH arranged a panel debate about the pros and cons of an academic boycott of Israel. The meeting attracted about 25 participants and resulted in the formation of an Action group at KTH for boycott of Israel”. The aim of the group is to work for a boycott of Israel with the purpose to end colonial occupation of Palestinian land and the violation of human rights as expressed in the UN Charter and the Geneva Convention of 1949.


For more information contact:

Lina Suleiman, lina.suleiman@infra.kth.se, 0704231157

Jan-Erik Gustafson, janerik@kth.se, 087907359