US academic and cultural BDS campaign condemns convictions of Irvine 11

The US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) released a press statement on 3 October condemning the recent convictions of the Irvine 11. They are urging scholars and academic institutions nationwide to admonish the guilty charges and stand in solidarity with the Irvine 11 students, who were convicted on 23 September of criminal conspiracy and disruption charges after they staged a non-violent, civil disobedience protest during a speech by an Israeli official last year

USACBI stated:

The US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) today joins a growing coalition of civil rights and advocacy organizations around the globe in condemning the shocking verdict in the Irvine 11 trial.

… It is appalling that these Arab and Muslim American students are being criminalized for protesting the human rights violations in the Israeli war on Gaza in 2008-09 that left at least 400 children dead and destroyed numerous educational institutions. We call for a reversal of this outrageous verdict that makes a mockery of freedom of political expression and that has already had a chilling effect on campus activism. Many Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim American students today are too afraid to openly express their political views on Palestine and to engage in public politics due to the Irvine 11 case. Was this the intended effect of the case? If so, we should all be found “guilty” of exercising our democratic rights and engaging in conscientious objection to the violation of human rights in regions where the US government is unfortunately on the wrong side of justice and self-determination.

USACBI is incredibly alarmed by this verdict because it serves to legally blur the line between criminal acts and student acts of political dissidence thereby bringing into fruition the systematic repression of Pro-Palestinian student activism as well as the intimidation of Palestine solidarity groups within the UC system.

USACBI is appalled by this model of punishment and is concerned about the future of free speech within the UC system. We urge other scholars and academic institutions to aid in the preservation of civil liberties by condemning the Orange County District Attorney for bringing this case against the students. Finally USACBI stands in solidarity with the Irvine 11.


Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).