Call for academic boycott of Israel at the University of Bergen

416770797_1029906321404757_5807087296122681982_n.jpgCall for academic boycott of Israel at the University of Bergen

(Open to sign for anyone, not only students and staff, but also concerned community members.)


Open Letter to the University of Bergen


Dear Principal Margareth Hagen & Rest of the board of UiB,

We, students, staff and affiliates of the University of Bergen, extend our solidarity to the Palestinian people and call for the University to implement an academic boycott of Israel with immediate effect. Norwegian scholars have assembled in recent weeks to call for boycotts at their respective institutions and likewise, building on calls by academics across the nation, from Birzeit University, and recently from students and staff from UiO, we wish to direct this call to our own, University of Bergen. We are currently witnessing genocide and ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Israeli occupation against the people of Palestine, in Gaza as well as the West Bank. The estimated death toll in Gaza, including those presumed dead who are missing under rubble of bombarded infrastructure, is rapidly advancing, or has advanced beyond 30,000 by the time of writing. Beyond this, tens of thousands more are injured, while millions direly lack basic necessities such as foodstuffs, water, sanitation equipment, shelter and warmth, while in turn has caused infectious diseases to go rampant in Gaza - causing an unmatched humanitarian crisis. Civilians are being terrorized and killed in the West Bank as well, where there is no form of organized resistance against the unlawful occupation (a total of 483 dead and 12,769 injured from January to late December 2023). Massive damages to Palestinian infrastructure, which include residential housing, places of worship, hospitals and medical vehicles, food supply stores, and educational facilities make it clear that Israel has no intention of allowing a future Palestinian society in Gaza.

In regard to the call for specifically academic boycott, we need to bring to your attention that the educational sector in Gaza is near ruined, with over 70% destroyed by only December. It is confirmed that multiple Universities are entirely destroyed by relentless and indiscriminate bombing by Israeli occupation forces. As students and academics, we deeply mourn the mass murder of fellow students and other educational staff. A number of students at UiB are Palestinian and personally affected by the ongoing genocide. Thus, we feel obliged to take a clear stance against the occupation, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and countless other human rights violations Palestinians are victim to.

We unequivocally stand in solidarity with all of Palestine and support all calls for ceasefire and ends to occupation. Simultaneously, we strongly condemn Norwegian companies’ direct and indirect arms supply to Israeli occupation forces, Nammo and Kongsberg being guilty of this – narrowly avoiding Norwegian law through immoral foreign exportation law loopholes. Likewise, we strongly condemn the Government Pension Fund of Norway for still owning investments amounting to over NOK in at least 66 companies that operate illegally and immorally in settlements on the West Bank. We strongly support and encourage divestment from companies that help sustain Israeli apartheid and further calls for trade embargo against Israel. We recognize that Norway has not yet done enough to put pressure on Israel to put a halt to their brutal occupation. This is why it is necessary for us to join the global condemnation of Israels despicable and inexcusable crimes against humanity.

The current siege is not a consequence of the 7th of October, but an acceleration of settler colonization, ethnic cleansing, and genocide and other crimes against humanity that have been committed against Palestinians for the better part of a century now – which is precisely what has caused the need for armed resistance in first place. We also need to remind once again that Israel enforces an apartheid regime in blatant violation of international law, even with the financial and military support of institutions and governments globally. All things considered; it should be obvious to the reader that the oppressor naturally doesn’t seek a peaceful solution.

As students of UiO, whose call for boycott is exemplary, worded eloquently; "it is our duty as students and educators, to stand by the principles of critical inquiry and learning". It seems necessary to remind the University of Bergen that it is the educational sector's tasks to be critical of all kinds of oppressive structures, and to advocate knowledge and truth at all times.

Norway hasn't done enough, nor has the University of Bergen – who still have failed to make any efforts to abolish the exchange programs between UiB and Tel Aviv University, and who still endorse brands that aid Israel’s apartheid regime (such as Dell & HP).
We also need to call out the obvious and embarrassing double standard the University of Bergen has displayed by their unambiguous, albeit correct, condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine (even lighting up the University Museum in Ukrainian colors) - but failing on multiple occasions to explicitly condemn Israels occupation, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and genocide against Palestine.

We recognize that the University if Bergen is supposed to be a space for open conversation, for learning and for striving towards truth always.
The University of Bergen has infringed on these principles, however, by discouraging active learning about Israel's colonization of Palestine, going so far as to dismantle physical displays of support of Palestinian liberation on numerous occasions - not only an unnecessary and inappropriate, but also a costly effort.
UiB has been invested in offering coverage and analysis of Russo-Ukrainian relations, while making nowhere near likeworthy efforts to clear up the “complexities” of the Israeli occupation of Palestine – which even some UiB staff appear to struggle understand, as made apparent by a number of insensitive public utterances regarding the current siege by UiB staff. 


We acutely require a display of moral dignity, and demand that the University of Bergen, one of the largest learning institutions in Norway, immediately does the following:

1. Recognize that Israeli universities are major, willing, and persistent accomplices in Israels oppressive apartheid regime and settler-colony project.
They are involved in developing weapon systems and military doctrine utilized in Israels siege on all of Palestine.

(A relevant example of Israeli academic contribution to Israel's war machine is the Dahiya Doctrine which employs deliberate targeting and destruction of civilian infrastructure in order to put pressure on enemy combatants. This doctrine endorses the controversial use of 'indisproportionate force', and was developed and published by the Institute of National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. This doctrine is heavily critiqued and condemned by many, and we are currently seeing it at its worst effect in Gaza). 

2. Immediately cut ties with all Israeli higher education institutions, including Tel Aviv University, and refuse to partake in events sponsored or organized by Israeli institutions.

In accordance with PACBI guidelines, we emphasize that we do not call for boycott of individual Israeli academics based on their identity. We do call for boycott of representatives of complicit Israeli institutions.

3. Cancel all purchasing agreements with suppliers that have connections with Israeli military and intelligence services that operate in occupied Palestine. This includes Dell and Hewlett-Packard (HP) machinery.

4. Take a clear stance and make a clear public statement condemning Israels occupation, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and genocide against Palestine, whilst calling for an immediate ceasefire and recognition of a Palestinian State and Palestinians right to self-determination.

5. Work dedicatedly to apply all forms of pressure on the Norwegian Government to sanction the Israeli Government, including demanding the Government Pension Fund of Norway divest from all Israeli companies that help sustain Israeli apartheid and illegal settlements.


After we conclude the gathering of signatures for this call, we will present this text, signatures included, to the Board of UiB.

Michel Schafstädt - Bergen4Palestine    Kontakt personen bak underskriftskampanjen

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