Victory in Brazil: “Israel Universities Festival” cancelled after mass mobilization at Unicamp university

Palestinian and Brazilian organizations achieved an important boycott victory in Brazil today, as UNICAMP University cancelled an “Israeli Universities Festival” scheduled to take place today, Monday, 3 April, after a mass mobilization occupied the building and its entrances in advance of the beginning of the scheduled event.

Dozens of Palestinian community, student, women’s, labour and youth organizations, antifascist and antiracist movements and left political parties, came together to confront the planned “Israeli Universities Festival.” The cancellation of the event was announced after demonstrators blocked the entrances to the building while occupying it inside, declaring that they would not allow Brazilian universities to be used for the marketing of occupation, colonialism, apartheid and Zionism.

Rawa Alsagheer, Palestinian activist and representative of Samidoun Brazil, spoke at the close of the rally, saying that this victory was dedicated to the steadfastness of the prisoners’ movement fighting for their lives behind bars, saluting in particular Georges Abdallah, the Lebanese Arab struggler for Palestine jailed in France for over 38 years, who turned 72 behind bars on 2 April; and Walid Daqqah, the Palestinian intellectual, writer and freedom fighter who is facing a severe, rare cancer and is in critical condition even as he remains imprisoned by the occupation for 37 years.

She also delivered a message on behalf of the Masar Badil, the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement, thanking and saluting all of the united movements that came out to demonstrate the strength of the popular support for Palestine, from Palestinian communities and Brazilian movements for social justice, revolutionary organizations and student, youth and women’s organizations, pledging that the struggle will continue until the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea.

The Masar Badil said in a statement, “We affirm that this action at UNICAMP University is a direct example of the future of the Zionist entity and its colonial project in Palestine, which will inevitably fall.”

Earlier, dozens of organizations had gathered in Al Janiah cultural center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to plan a mass response to the announced “Israeli Universities Festival.” The event, and its marketing of the same Zionist universities that are fully complicit in Israeli colonialism, occupation and apartheid, including engaging in research and development for the occupation military, sparked outrage among many in Brazil. An anonymous hacker collective, Etersec, announced the hacking and defacement of the Unicamp website in support of the Palestinian people’s struggle.

Samidoun, the Masar Badil, Alkarama Palestinian Women’s Movement and Al Janiah had previously issued a statement calling for broad participation in the demonstration, declaring:

“Zionist colonialism must be opposed and confronted everywhere, in Palestine and wherever its representatives and apologists are found. And our moral, human and legal duty necessitates refusing to participate in the crime of polishing the image of the Israeli occupation by marketing its programs and projects. This is especially important at a time when the Zionist occupation force are carrying out heinous crimes against the Palestinian people, while the dignity and rights of over 4,700 prisoners are being violated inside the occupation prisons and the occupation army is practicing a policy of assassinations, massacres, siege, home demolitions and more crimes in full view of the so-called  “international community” and “international institutions.”

We call upon activists, trade unionists, and students defending the rights of the peoples in Brazil, from all liberation movements and progressive forces, to stand with us in confronting the forces of imperialism, racism, and fascism, and we expect them to take the correct political and moral stance by working to boycott this activity offensive to the Palestinian struggle, and to declare their clear position on the side of justice, freedom and the Palestinian resistance. No more silence on the crimes of colonialism and racism!”

Organizations joining the action included Sanaud Palestinian Youth, FEPAL, Afronte!, Vamos Aluta, DCE Unicamp, UJC-SP, the Anura, Correnteza, and Faísca collectives, PSTU, Juntos and many more.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes the united front of organizations and movements that came together to confront the marketing of Zionist colonialism in Brazil — and achieved a victory that boosts the morale and encourages student movements and mass organizations around the world calling for the academic boycott of Israel and its institutions and working to achieve boycott victories on their own campuses. It sends a message of strong solidarity from Brazil to the Palestinian people inside Palestine and everywhere in exile and diaspora, including the prisoners fighting for freedom and the refugees struggling for return. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!