Solidarity with Palestinians against University of Manchester's partnership with Tel Aviv University - open letter
Dear Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell and the Senate of the University of Manchester,

We, the undersigned, call on the University of Manchester to end its research partnership with Tel Aviv University, a university deeply implicated in Israel's premeditated bombing of civilians and civilian infrastructure in Gaza. This partnership contravenes the University’s ethical commitment to oppose racist violence and oppression, a commitment we request you uphold.

On May 18, Palestinians across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories called a general strike. They demanded an end to Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of Gaza, which has killed 254 Palestinians, including 66 children, wounded more than 1,900, and displaced at least 58,000. They protested the ethnic cleansing of residents of Sheikh Jarrah from their homes in Occupied East Jerusalem, the military attack on Al-Aqsa mosque, and the Israeli mobs attacking Palestinians in the streets and in their homes as police stand by. Fundamentally, the strike called for an end to 73 years of settler colonialism, not a conflict between two equal sides but a brutal regime of expulsion, military occupation, and apartheid, armed and supported by Western nations.

These are the words with which Palestinians have long named their oppression by the Israeli state. They are now also the words of Israel’s largest human-rights organisation, B’Tselem (1), and the words of the international human-rights organisation Human Rights Watch (2). They are the words of the letter of Palestinian solidarity endorsed by 221 international architecture and planning organizations (3), and another signed by an astonishing 129 gender-studies departments in the United States alone (4). We could go on. Declarations and practical measures of solidarity with Palestinians are growing by the day, part of a global movement against all racial and intersecting forms of oppression.

Palestinians also have good reason to expect support from the University of Manchester. Our University publicly states, “We at the University of Manchester condemn all racist violence and oppression.” We assert “a role in removing systemic inequities and speaking up for those without a voice” (5). However, not only does the University of Manchester fail to speak up for Palestinians and heed their call for material support, but we also forge a strategic partnership with Tel Aviv University, an institution deeply implicated in their violent oppression.

Israeli universities have played a key role in planning, implementing, and justifying Israel’s occupation, and Tel Aviv is no exception. Across a range of disciplines from mechanical engineering to philosophy, Tel Aviv University is heavily and openly involved in research and development in weapons and surveillance technologies, and in military strategy and operational theory (6). It has described itself thus: “In the rough and tumble reality of the Middle East, Tel Aviv University is at the front line of the critical work to maintain Israel’s military and technological edge,” noting “much of that research remains classified” (7). To give only one example, Tel Aviv University is home to the Institute for National Security Studies which takes credit for developing the “Dahiya Doctrine.” This is a military doctrine of disproportionate force, adopted by the Israeli army, which privileges civilian over and above military targets and advocates, as one of its designers at TAU put it, “the destruction of homes and infrastructure, and the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people” (8).

This implicates Tel Aviv University in the deliberate and premeditated bombing of civilians and civilian infrastructure in Gaza – war crimes, in other words, as the UN has described previous military assaults on the people of Gaza. “If there is a hell on earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza,” the UN Secretary-General said against the Israeli onslaught (9). Israel should be held to account “for the atrocities it has committed over the last 12 days,” is the view of the head of Oxfam in Israel and the Palestinian Territories (10).

But the atrocities don't end with the fragile ceasefire. After 14 years of devastating blockade by one of the most powerful militaries in the world, the two million people of Gaza effectively live in an open-air prison, where 80% rely on international aid to survive, 90% of the water is undrinkable, and electricity supply is intermittent, with crippling effects on economic activity and health and sanitation services. Amidst a global pandemic, 50% of essential medicines were at zero stock even before Israel’s latest onslaught. The military assault and blockade of Gaza also has appalling psychological consequences, inflicting untold trauma on a population where over 50% are under 18 (11). Meanwhile, in a deliberate act of aggression, Israeli police have launched a wave of arrests targeting Israeli Palestinians who rallied in support of Sheikh Jarrah, Al-Aqsa, and Gaza, thus far totalling 1,550 since May 9 (12).

For these reasons, we cannot, in all conscience, allow the research partnership with Tel Aviv University to continue. It brings our University into disrepute to publicly claim anti-racism while forging a partnership with an institution deeply implicated in racial violence and suffering. It’s also dangerous, for it discredits and hence weakens the claim to anti-racism, turning opposition to racism into empty phrases to use for public relations and marketing, when we should on the contrary be speaking out and taking principled and practical measures against racial oppression. Above all, this partnership makes our University complicit in the brutalisation, blockade, maiming, and killing of Palestinians who have suffered at the hands of the Israeli state for 73 years.

We request that you uphold the University’s own anti-racist ethical principles by ending the strategic partnership with Tel Aviv University.

**Scroll down to the bottom to sign - the letter is still open for signatures. Strictly for University of Manchester staff (academic/teaching, PS, Emeritus) and postgraduate research students. The list of signatories will be updated daily**

Signed by:

1. Dr Nick Thoburn, Reader in Sociology
2. Dr Simin Fadaee, Senior Lecturer in Sociology
3. Dr Meghan Tinsley, Presidential Fellow in Sociology
4. Dr Elisa Pieri, Lecturer in Sociology
5. Professor Peter Wade, Professor of Social Anthropology
6. Dr Chika Watanabe, Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology
7. Dr. Seth Schindler, Senior Lecturer, Global Development Institute
8. Dr Pritish Behuria, Lecturer, Global Development Institute
9. Dr Kevin Gillan, Senior Lecturer and Deputy Head of Sociology
10. Dr Ümit Kemal Yildiz, Senior Tutor in Education
11. Dr Peter McMylor, Senior Lecturer in Sociology
12. Dr Petra Nordqvist, Senior Lecturer and Co-Director of the Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives
13. Professor Mandy Turner, Professor of Conflict, Peace and Humanitarian Affairs, Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute
14. Professor Bridget Byrne, Department of Sociology
15. Dr Luke Yates, Lecturer in Sociology and SCI
16. Caitlin Schmid, PhD candidate
17. Caroline Martin, IT Services
18. Stian Soiland-Reyes, Department of Computer Science
19. Dr David Alderson, Senior Lecturer in Modern Literature
20. Dr Jonathan Shapiro, Reader, Computer Science
21. Prof Khalid Nadvi, Professor of International Development, Global Development Institute
22. Judy Thorne, PhD candidate, Social Anthropology
23. Dr Remi Joseph-Salisbury, Presidential Fellow, Ethnicity and Inequalities
24. Vlad Schüler-Costa, PhD candidate, Social Anthropology
25. Claudia Eggart, PGR, Social Anthropology
26. Marie Kerguelen , PhD student
27. Aleksandra Szymczyk, PhD researcher, Department of Social Anthropology
28. Mariela Sánchez-Belmont Montiel , PhD student, Social Anthropology
29. Morgan Rhys Powell, PhD candidate, School of Social Sciences
30. Dr Amy Zhang, Lecturer in Urban Planning
31. Dr Michelle Obeid , Lecturer in Social Anthropology
32. ElSayed ElSehamy, PGR, Social Anthropology
33. Pedro Silva Rocha Lima, PhD candidate
34. Prof Julian Williams, Manchester Institute of Education, SEED
35. Sara Pozzi, PhD candidate, Social Anthropology
36. Santiago Irribarra, PGR, Social Anthropology
37. Dr Sophina Choudry, Presidential Fellow, Manchester Institute of Education, SEED
38. Dr Tom Gillespie, Hallsworth Research Fellow, Global Development Institute
39. Tim Jacoby, GDI
40. Professor Erica Burman, Manchester Institute of Education
41. Phil Reed, Library
42. Professor Ian Parker, Honorary Professorial Research Fellow, SEED
43. Dr. Luke Bhatia, Lecturer in International Politics
44. Dr Gail Davidge, Research Associate: School of Health Sciences
45. Dr Eyal Clyne, PhD in Israel Studies
46. Franco Galdini, Politics
47. Dr Tanja Bastia, Reader, Global Development Institute
48. Prof Graeme Kirkpatrick, Department of Sociology
49. Dr Deborah Ralls, Leverhulme EC Research Fellow Manchester Institute of Education
50. Artemis Christinaki, PhD student and Teaching Assistant in SEED and HCRI
51. Alexandra Ciocanel, PhD student, Social Anthropology
52. Tom Boyd, PhD student, Social Anthropology
53. Dr Blaise Nkwenti-Azeh, Humanities eLearning Team
54. Dr Andrew Howes, Senior Lecturer, Manchester Institute of Education
55. Rohi Jehan, PhD researcher
56. Dr Piyush Pushkar, PhD candidate, Department of Social Anthropology, and liaison psychiatry doctor, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Trust
57. Dr Laura Swift, Research Administrator, School of Social Sciences
58. Dr Anna Strowe, Lecturer in Translation and Interpreting Studies
59. Dr Sadia Habib, Research Associate, Centre of Dynamic Ethnicity
60. Dr Nadim Mirshak, Lecturer in Sociology
61. Manuela Latchoumaya, PhD candidate, Department of Sociology
62. Dr Kerry Pimblott, Lecturer in International History
63. Dr Neema Begum, Research Associate in Politics
64. Dr Charlotte Branchu, Lecturer, Department of Sociology
65. Manish Sen, PhD candidate, Department of Sociology
66. Madiha Khan, PhD candidate, Department of Sociology
67. Dr Chris Lyon, Senior Tutor, GDI
68. Dr David Swanson, Lecturer, Manchester Institute of Education
69. Dr Nick Jepson, Research Fellow, Global Development Institute
70. Dr Caroline Parker, Presidential Fellow of Medical Anthropology at the Department of Social Anthropology
71. Tiba Bonyad, PhD Candidate
72. Dr Graham Smith, Senior Lecturer, Law
73. Tania Payá Ramírez, PhD candidate, SEED
74. Prof Sam Hickey , Global Development Institute
75. Chris Millson, Library
76. Professor Chris Roberts, Emeritus Professor of Biostatistic, School of Health Sciences
77. Malte Skov, PhD student, Global Development Unit
78. Therese Kelly, PhD candidate, Social Anthropology
79. Sidra Iftikhar, Research Assistant, School of Environment, Education and Development
80. Dr Susan Hogan, PM FSE
81. Jared Davis, PhD candidate, Department of Social Anthropology
82. Dr Jillian McCarthy, Senior Lecturer AMBS
83. Dr Omar Bouamra, Medical Statistician, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health
84. Dr Lina Khraise, Global Development Institute
85. Dr Jasmin Ramovic, Lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies
86. Jose Gustavo Gongora Goloubintseff , PhD candidate, Department of Modern Languages and Cultures
87. Dr Ali Bhagat, Department of Politics
88. Theresa O Bradaigh Bean, Research Associate, Politics/IR
89. Dr Ahmed Bhayat, Research Assistant, Computer Science
90. Dr Molly Geidel, Lecturer, EAC
91. Dr Carl Death, Senior Lecturer, Politics
92. Linzi Stirrup, Project Manager, Physics
93. Prof Kevin Malone, Social and Autoethnographic Composition, Music
94. Dr Roaa Ali, Research Associate, Sociology
95. Dr Jessica Hawkins, Lecturer, Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute
96. Siham Al Hadhrami, PhD student, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
97. Professor Liam Hart, Department of English, American Studies and Creative Writing
98. Dr Scott Midso, Lecturer in Liberal Arts (SALC)
99. Dr Dharmi Kapadia, Lecturer in Sociology
100. Dr Eithne Quinn, Senior Lecturer in English, American Studies and Creative Writing
101. Dr Samuel Couth, Lecturer, Division of Human Communication, Development and Hearing
102. Dr David Calder, Lecturer, Drama
103. Dr. Lauren Banko, Research Associate, History
104. Dr Peter Cave, Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies
105. Katie Fannin, PhD Researcher, SEED
106. Dr Raphael THURET, FBMH, Research Associate
107. Geoff Blunt, Technical Operations Manager, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health
108. Dr Christine Rowland, Research Fellow, School of Health Sciences
109. Dr Emilia Terracciano, Lecturer, History of Art
110. Linda Irish, Assistant eLearning Manager
111. Dr John Piprani, Archaeology Technician
112. Dr Jasmin Ramovic, Lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies
113. Dr George Taylor, Experimental Officer, FBMH
114. Dr Alison Jeffers, Senior Lecturer, Drama
115. Dr Jennet Gummadova, Senior Experimental Officer, FSE
116. Professor Erik Swyngedouw, Geography, School of Education, Environment and Development
117. Roxanne Taylor, PhD candidate, Linguistics and English Language
118. Matthew Burns, Division of Health Sciences, LCTM / Business Support Manager
119. Professor Kieran Walshe, Manchester Business School
120. Zulaikha Alharthi, PhD researcher in chemistry
121. Dr Dave Harris, Mathematics, reader (retired)
122. Joe Lake Rees, SEED
123. Kirsty Watkinson, PhD candidate, SEED
124. James Dougherty, PhD student, Condensed Matter Physics
125. Dr Hamied Haroon, Division of Neuroscience & Experimental Psychology, SBS, FBMH
126. Dr Laura Caradonna, Collection care in the University of Manchester libraries
127. Barbara Waters, Lecturer, Department of Materials
128. Prof. Helen Beebee, Samuel Hall Professor of Philosophy, SoSS
129. Dr Dayo Eseonu
130. Dr James Pattison, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Sociology
131. Dr Leanne Green, Curator (Modern and Contemporary Art), The Whitworth
132. David Hobbs, PhD candidate
133. Stephanie Barrientos Emeritus Professor, Global Development Institute
134. Christopher Page, Technical Operations Manager, FSE
135. Dr Emma Shuttleworth, Lecturer, SEED
136. Alex Wharton, PhD Candidate, School of the Environment, Education and Development
137. Dr Emma Patchwood, Research Fellow. FBMH, SBS, DNEP
138. George Odysseos, History, SALC, GTA
139. Eoin Maguire, PhD candidate, Department of Mathematics
140. Miss Camilla Woodrow-Hill, PhD Student
141. Darius Samadian, PhD candidate, Religion and Theology
142. Dr Annie Dickinson, Library
143. Dr Prasenjit Banerjee, Economics
144. Ms Ruth Daniel, In Place of War
145. Dr Simeon Gill, Senior Lecturer in Fashion Technology
146. Dr Matthew Tyce, Postdoctoral researcher, Global Development Institute
147. Dr Veronique Pin-Fat, Senior Lecturer in International Politics, Dept of Politics
148. C. Iain Sturges, PhD Student, CHSTM
149. Dr Jonathan Crosier, Senior Research Fellow, DEES
150. Dr. Lauren Banko, Research Associate, History
151. Professor Claire Alexander, Department of Sociology
152. Adam Peirce, Industrial Liaison Officer, Henry Royce Institute
153. Alan Nesbitt, Quality Manager in Department of Materials
154. Dr. Monisha Renganathan, Mathematics
155. Morgan Hale, PhD researcher
156. Gabriel Cambraia Neiva, PhD Candidate, Latin American Cultural Studies
157. Dr Scarlet Harris, Research Associate, Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity
158. Zulaikha Alharthi, PhD researcher in chemistry
159. Shahd Hammouri, Phd Candidate, School of Law
160. Amy Cortvriend, PhD candidate, SoSS
161. Luan Cassal, PhD candidate and GTA, Manchester Institute of Education
162. Pat Devine, Honorary Research Fellow, School Social Sciences
163. Ameur Bayar, Research Support Officer, FBMH
164. Professor John Gledhill, Emeritus Professor, Social Anthropology
165. Anne-Marie McCallion, PhD candidate, Philosophy
166. Dr Jenna C. Ashton, Lecturer in Heritage Studies, AHCP
167. Ana Martínez Fernández, PhD candidate, Department of Politics
168. Dr Jenna Mittelmeier, Lecturer in International Education, Manchester Institute of Education
169. Rahima Siddique, PhD Candidate, Politics
170. Dr Emma Martin, Lecturer, Institute for Cultural Practices
171. Professor Diana Mitlin, Global Development Institute
172. Dylan Bradbury, PGR, Latin American Cultural Studies
173. Lynsey Alexander, Professional services
174. Mr. Ahmad Alam, PhD Student and Graduate Teaching Assistant
175. Dr Arjan Keizer, Senior Lecturer, Alliance Manchester Business School
176. Manasij Pal Chowdhury, PhD researcher, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
177. Dr Jérémie Voirol, Research fellow, Department of Social Anthropology
178. Dr Trevor Marshall, Mathematics, retired
179. Dr Gary Motteram, Senior Lecturer, Manchester Institute of Education
180. Dr. Richard Banach, Senior Lecturer, Computer Science
181. Lucy Lernelius, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Widening Participation
182. Alex Webb, Division of Communications, Marketing and Student Recruitment
183. Gloria Elvira Muñoz Romero, PhD student, Faculty of Humanities
184. Rosie Staff, SRWP Intern, Division of Communications, Marketing and Student Recruitment
185. Peninah Wangari-Jones, PhD researcher, Politics
186. Asha Shariff, SRWP Graduate Intern
187. Dr Eloise Moss, Senior Lecturer in Modern British History
188. Dr Sundhya Walther, Presidential Fellow, EAC
189. Serena Robinson, Faculty of Humanities, Teaching, Learning and Student Experience Assistant
190. Dr Monika Kukolova, Honorary Fellow in Drama and Film Studies
191. Professor Vanessa May, Sociology
192. Ivan Paul, PhD candidate, Department of Chemistry
193. Jake Gandy, PhD candidate, History
194. Sophie Hoyle, Student Recruitment and Widening Participation Co-ordinator
195. Dylan Wilby, eLearning Support Administrator
196. Prof Steven Jones, Manchester Institute of Education
197. Dr. Lauren Banko, Research Associate, History
198. Dr. Soumhya Venkatesan, Social Anthropology, Academic staff
199. Anne Stokes, PhD Student and Teaching Assistant in SALC
200. Dr Peter Taylor, Senior Clinical Lecture, School of Health Sciences
201. Dr Wendy Bottero, Sociology
202. Dr. Tine Buffel, Senior lecturer in Sociology
203. Charlie Allen, Project Accountant, Finance
204. Dr Rohini Rai, Research Associate in Sociology
205. Martin Greenwood, PhD Candidate, Sociology
206. Dr Christopher Foster, Presidential Fellow, Global Development Institute
207. Professor Aneez Esmail, School of Health Sciences
208. Sofia Doyle, PhD Student in Politics
209. Dr. Fatema Abdoolcarim, Department of English, American Studies and Creative Writing
210. Dr Antoine Burgard, HCRI, lecturer in history of humanitarianism
211. Joseph Chambers, PhD Student, Geography
213. Humairaa Dudhwala, Manchester University Press
214. Sawyer Phinney, PhD Student, Department of Geography
215. Dr Aoileann Ní Mhurchú, lecturer in international politics
216. Dr Vladimir Jankovic, SMS, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health 217. Gabriel Hawkins-Pottier, PhD Researcher, Physics and Astronomy
218. Professor Miguel Martinez Lucio, Alliance Manchester Business School
219. Roosa Rytkönen, PhD student, Social Anthropology
220. Dr Michaela Barnard, Lecturer, SHS, Faculty of Biology, Medicine & Health
221. Dr. Cristina Temenos, Lecturer, Geography
222. Ros Bell, eLearning Support Officer, UoM Library
223. Shafi Ahmed, Senior Research Technician Versus Arthritis
224. Dr Matthew Walsham, Research Associate, Global Development Institute
225. Ajinkya Deshmukh, PhD candidate, Department of Philosophy
226. Dr Hannah Wadle, Teaching Associate, School of Architecture
227. Amin Hussain, Systems Support Analyst, UoM Library
228. Joshua Winter, PhD Candidate, Department of Physics and Astronomy
229. Saba Mirshafiei, Widening Participation Officer, Law School
230. Dr Leah Gilman, Honorary Research Associate in Sociology
231. Jack Kelly, Research Associate, Division of Population Health
232. Miriam Cadney, Faculty Alumni Officer (Science and Engineering), DDAR
233. Anna Nelson, PhD Candidate (Bioethics & Medical Jurisprudence) and GTA in Law
234. Jackie Carter, Prof of Statistical Literacy
235. Professor Andrew Irving, Social Anthropology




References for the letter:

1. B’Tselem, “We are Israel’s largest human rights group – and we are calling this apartheid,” January 2021, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jan/12/israel-largest-human-rights-group-apartheid

2. Human Rights Watch, “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution”, April 2021, https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution

3. 221 Architecture and urban planning organisations sign solidarity letter: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1xIoEAZ3Hln1dUspnhZ9Eii5OIRlfk_ZRaLVZICbeF7Q/viewform?ts=60a4abb3&fbclid=IwAR0AtRFJt9Hd0QVG7jxqAm8h2lJD-KoYuQVnnOjSokdDe-P-ihedvg_bFcg&edit_requested=true

4. 129 gender studies departments in the US sign Palestinian solidarity letter: http://genderstudiespalestinesolidarity.weebly.com

5. “Black Lives Matter – Letter from Professor Nalin Thakkar, Vice President for Social Responsibility,” 8 June 2020: https://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/black-lives-matter--letter-from-professor-nalin-thakkar-vice-president-for-social-responsibility/

6. “Tel Aviv University – A Leading Israeli Military Research Centre,” briefing paper by SOAS Palestine Society, February 2009, https://pacbi.org/pics/file/SOAS-Palestine-Society-Paper-TAU-Military-Complicity-Feb-2009.pdf

7. “Tel Aviv University Review,” 2008/9, https://english.tau.ac.il/sites/default/files/media_server/TAU%20Review%202008-09.pdf

8. Giora Eiland, ex-Chair of the National Security Council, writing as a senior research fellow at INSS at TAU, “The Third Lebanon War: Target Lebanon,” INSS Strategic Assessment, 11(2), Nov. 2008: 9‐17, p. 16, https://www.inss.org.il/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/FILE1226472866-1.pdf See note 6 for further information about the Dahiya Doctrine.

9 and 10. “We don’t recognise our own city: Israeli barrage redraws the map of Gaza,” the Guardian, 22 May 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/22/we-dont-recognise-our-own-city-israeli-barrage-redraws-the-map-of-gaza

11. “Fifty years of occupation have driven the Palestinian economy into de-development and poverty,” https://unctad.org/news/fifty-years-occupation-have-driven-palestinian-economy-de-development-and-poverty ; OCHA, “Humanitarian Needs Overview – Occupied Palestinian Territories,” 2020, https://www.ochaopt.org/sites/default/files/hno_2020-final.pdf

12. “‘A War Declaration’: Palestinians in Israel decry mass arrests”, Al Jazeera, 24 May 2021, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/24/a-war-declaration-palestinians-in-israel-decry-mass-arrests

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