India: Academics Condemn Israeli-Indian Partnership

[The international boycott of Israeli academics is growing, as the following statement from India indicates.  And it challenges the abstract claims of “academic freedom” and “objectivity” by describing the actual function of academic work–for instance, regarding studies of water management, it points out that “Israel’s R&D in water …. has in effect stolen water from the the West Bank aquifers to provide water to illegal Israeli settlements, while depriving Palestinians of their own water.” — Frontlines ed.]

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InCACBI Condemns the Growing Partnership between the State of Gujarat and the State of Israel

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

No partnership with Apartheid Israel!

New Delhi – 2 Feb. 2013

We, a group of academics, activists and artists in India, came together in 2010 to campaign against yet another apartheid regime by extending support to the international campaign for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. (Visit our website www.incacbi.in for more information.)

The Israeli state consistently and ruthlessly tramples on the academic freedom and cultural life of the Palestinian people; and a continued association with the instruments of such a state is unconscionable to any freedom loving person.

This is why we condemn recent efforts to strengthen an already reprehensible partnership between the State of Gujarat and the State of Israel. On January 30th, 2013, the Israeli ambassador to India, Alon Ushpiz, and the Israeli Consul General in Mumbai, Orna Sagiv, met Chief Minister Narendra Modi at his residence to discuss furthering Research and Development (R&D) ties between Gujarat and Israel.

After the meeting, the Israeli ambassador told the media that they had “discussed several areas of co-operation like agriculture and industrial research and development, solar and thermal power, pharmaceuticals, water recycling and water desalination plants. Our focus is on increasing research ties with Gujarat.”[i]

In return, Modi was, as always, welcoming of all collaboration with apartheid Israel. He even said he would like to send Gujarat’s MLAs on a tour of Israel to study agricultural technology and water management programmes.

Does Modi want our MLAs to learn their lessons in infrastructure provision – or anything else — from Israel? Does Modi think something can be learnt from Israel’s record of flouting international law, occupying Palestinian lands and subjecting the Palestinians to all kinds of oppressive and discriminatory policy and practice?

As for R&D, we at InCACBI believe that research, and all of academic life, are rooted in the values of democracy, equality and justice, which is blatantly denied to millions of oppressed Palestinians living in the Israel occupied territories. The pursuit of excellence in the fields we work in has meaning only if imbued with conscience. Israel’s R&D in water, for example, has in effect stolen water from the the West Bank aquifers to provide water to illegal Israeli settlements, while depriving Palestinians of their own water.

When Palestinian students and teachers are not allowed to reach their universities because of permit laws and checkpoints, universities and schools are levelled by bombs and tanks, food, textbooks, and medical supplies are prohibited from entering Gaza, and artistic events are closed down in Jerusalem, none of the foundational principles on which research and development are based can ever be fulfilled.

This is why we appeal to fellow Indian citizens of conscience to stand firmly opposed to any of India’s trade, strategic, scientific, military, economic, academic or cultural ties with Israel.

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

Mohan  Rao, Convenor (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Ayesha Kidwai, Convenor (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Gargi Sen, Convenor (Film-maker)

Githa Hariharan, Convenor (Writer)

N Pushpamala, Convenor (Artist)

Achin Vanaik (Delhi University)

Aditya Nigam (Centre for the Study of Developing Studies, Delhi)

Aijaz Ahmad (Literary Critic and Cultural Commentator)

Alok Rai (Delh University)

Anuradha  Chenoy (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

C.P Chandrasekhar (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Farida Khan (Jamia Millia Islamia)

Imrana  Qadeer (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Jayati Ghosh (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Kalpana  Kannabiran (Hyderabad University)

Kamal Mitra Chenoy (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Mushirul Hassan (Former Vice Chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia)

Nandini Sundar (Delhi University)

Nivedita  Menon (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Prabhat Patnaik (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Rajni Palriwala (Delhi University)

Sumit Sarkar (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

T Jayraman (Tata Institute of Social Studies)

Tanika Sarkar (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Uma Chakravarthy (Delhi University)

Upendra Baxi (Former Vice-Chancellor, Delhi University)

Vijay Prashad (Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut)

Vina Mazumdar (Former Director Center for Women’s Development Studies, Delhi)

Zoya Hasan (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

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)

Gautam Navlakha (Journalist)

Harsh Mander (Activist)

Prabir Purkayastha (Delhi Science Forum)

Praful Bidwai (Journalist)

Prashant Bhushan (Lawyer)

Pushpa M. Bhargava (Scientist)

Ritu Menon (Publisher)

Romi Khosla (Architect)

Seema Mustafa (Journalist)

Vrinda Grover (Lawyer)

And 100 other InCACBI members

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