SA organization pulls out of Hebrew U conference following BDS pressure

Despite the Centre's boycott, researchers and speakers from across the globe were in attendance at the conference.

June 26, 2016 17:59
1 minute read.

A demonstrator wears a shirt reading 'Boycott Israel' [File]. (photo credit: AFP/ MOHD RASFAN)

Following pressure from the BDS movement The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) in South Africa withdrew its participation from a conference at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, BDS South Africa has said.

The center was scheduled to participate in the Fifth Global Conference of the International Network of Genocide Scholars (INoGS), taking place this year in Jerusalem.

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According to BDS South Africa, it reached out the CSVR urging them to reconsider their participation in the conference.

“It is extremely disappointing that scholars and academics from South Africa (a country that has experienced the harmful and painful consequences of discrimination, racism and segregation) who are involved in the study of genocide and mass violence may be participants in an event that is directly connected to a state that continues its policy of discrimination, violence and dispossession towards the Palestinians,” BDS South Africa wrote in a letter to the center.

“As fellow South Africans we request that you honour the ethical dimension of your scholarly work and take a stand in supporting justice,” the group wrote.

“We humbly ask you to withdraw your participation in a conference that is not only associated with institutions that are complicit in gross human rights violations and the violation of international law but that also serves to break the Palestinian call for cultural and academic boycotts,” the letter stated.

According to BDS South Africa, following its letter, the CSVR gave in and withdrew from the conference stating that it had “failed to carefully consider the ramifications of its participation when it initially registered for the conference.”

Despite the center’s boycott, researchers and speakers from across the globe are in attendance at the conference entitled “Intersections: Holocaust Scholarship, Genocide Research, and Histories of Mass Violence,” that opened on Sunday.

Noted speakers include professors and researchers from leading universities and institutions worldwide as well as H.E. Adama Dieng, the special adviser for the Secretary- General on the Prevention of Genocide at the United Nations, who will deliver a keynote address.

The Hebrew University declined to comment.

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