Israel: A Time for Personal Sanctions December 8, 2014
A central obstacle to a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians is the continuing occupation of the West Bank. Accordingly, we call on the United States and the European Union to impose personal sanctions on a cluster of Israeli political leaders and public figures who lead efforts to insure permanent Israeli occupation of the West Bank and to annex all or parts of it unilaterally in violation of international law.
There is a compelling current precedent for such moves. In response to Russia’s unilateral annexation of Crimea and its ongoing campaign of aggressive destabilization in eastern Ukraine, the United States and the European Union implemented, among other measures, personal sanctions—visa restrictions and foreign asset freezes—against government officials, public figures, and others who play especially significant roles in promoting and implementing violations of international law. (1) We propose that similar personal sanctions be imposed on Israeli political leaders and other public figures who play central roles in Israel’s systematic, long-term violations of international law.
UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 allowed for a temporary Israeli occupation in the territories captured in the 1967 war, while calling for a negotiated peace settlement that would include Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories in return for recognition of Israel’s right, along with other states in the area, “to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.” These resolutions did not authorize permanent occupation, large-scale ongoing Israeli settlement in the occupied territories, or creeping annexation in the West Bank. Those policies plainly violate international law.
Continuing settlement and piecemeal annexation directly violate the Hague Regulations and the Fourth Geneva Convention, which regulate the conduct of belligerent occupations, and also violate the ban on acquiring territory by force which is one of the foundations of the modern international order. In addition, they deliberately aim to prevent the kind of negotiated peace settlement envisioned by Resolutions 242 and 338. These policies threaten to lock both Israelis and Palestinians into an inescapable path toward catastrophe. They demand an urgent response.
That response, we believe, should not take the form of generalized boycotts and other sanctions that indiscriminately target Israeli society and Israeli institutions. Such measures are both unjust and politically counterproductive. In particular, campaigns for boycotts and blacklists of Israeli academia attack the most basic principles of academic freedom and open intellectual exchange.***
The undersigned are members of the Scholars for Israel and Palestine, affiliated with The Third Narrative (14):
Gershon Shafir University of California, San Diego
Jeff Weintraub Independent Scholar
Michael Walzer Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
Todd Gitlin Columbia University
Sam Fleischacker University of Illinois at Chicago
Alan Wolfe Boston College
Alan Jay Weisbard University of Wisconsin, Madison
Rebecca Lesses Ithaca College
Joe Lockard Arizona State University
Zachary J. Braiterman Syracuse University
Irene Tucker University of California, Irvine
Michael Kazin Georgetown University
Steven J. Zipperstein Stanford University
Jeffry V. Mallow Loyola University Chicago
Ernst Benjamin Independent Scholar
Rachel F. Brenner, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Chaim Seidler-Feller University of California, Los Angeles
Jonathan Malino Guilford College
Miriam Kastner University of California, San Diego