Students hung banners for a boycott of Israel on the building of Erasmus University College in May 2021. Image: Erasmus Magazine

Dutch Scholars Urge Academic Boycott of Israeli Universities Post ICJ Ruling


In wake of the landmark ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the Gaza conflict, scholars in The Netherlands are calling on the Dutch universities to take a resolute stance by severing all ties with Israeli higher education institutions and corporations, accusing them of complicity in what they characterize as “aiding and abetting genocide.”

They have urged publicly-funded Dutch higher education institutions to actively contribute towards rebuilding relations with Palestinian institutions of higher education that have been destroyed in the Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip, as well as provide scholarships for Palestinian students and fellowships for faculty members who have lost their universities and livelihoods.

In a statement issued by the Dutch Scholars for Palestine (DSP), researchers and academics underscored that it is not only the duty of third-state governments to immediately implement the orders of the UN’s top court but it concurrently also meant that third-state institutions uphold the principles of international law that are required to prevent complicity in acts of genocide. “For publicly-funded Dutch higher education institutions, this means we no longer have the choice whether to cut ties with Israeli institutions and corporations aiding and abetting genocide. We are morally bound by the broad remit of the ruling and order by the International Court of Justice, the world’s highest judicial authority on international law,” the statement said

DSP further underscored that Israeli universities and many Israeli corporations have been “aiding and abetting” the Israeli government and military, and are profiting from Israel’s illegal siege on Gaza and illegal occupation of Palestinian Territories, making them “complicit in genocide.”

Image: Addison Y. Liu/ The Harvard Crimson

The statement further stated that these measures are no longer a matter of academic debate, but rather a matter of international justice and it is imperative to adhere to the verdict of the preeminent global legal authority, the ICJ. The DSP stated that as universities in the Netherlands that receive public funding and host the ICJ, it is thus incumbent to comply with the ICJ’s directive and uphold the international frameworks established to safeguard humanity from the crime of genocide, which includes the protection of Palestinians. “It is our duty as higher education institutions to take the lead in protecting humanity through immediately incorporating the ICJ’s binding Provisional Measures as a matter of university policy,” it added.

The DSP stated that Israeli military offensive have led to the destruction of all universities and most schools throughout the Gaza Strip and also led to the killing of 4327 students, and 231 teachers and school administrators.

On Friday 26 January, the ICJ ruled in a historic judgement that there is a plausible case of genocide committed by Israel against the Palestinians in Gaza. In a series of Provisional Measures, the court has ordered Israel must take immediate steps to: 

  • Prevent commission of acts falling under Article II of the Genocide Convention, including killing or causing serious bodily or mental harm to Palestinians. 
  • Ensure that its military does not commit any of the aforementioned acts
  • Prevent and punish any incitement to genocide 
  • Enable provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance for Palestinians in Gaza
  • Prevent destruction of any evidence related to allegations of acts of genocide
  • Submit a report to the court on all measures taken to adhere to these orders within one month.

Read the full statement here.

Mariya Nadeem Khan

Mariya is a researcher within the Urban Socio-Spatial Development department at Erasmus University Rotterdam. She has an MA in Development Studies from Erasmus University and a Bachelor’s in International Relations from Leiden University. Her research builds on violence, nationalism, and social movements in South Asia and the GCC. Her other areas of interest include non-Western historiography, alternatives to the capitalist world economy, and Urdu literature.

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