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Hamas welcomes Italian academics' call for BDS

Jan. 30, 2016 9:28 P.M. (Updated: March 30, 2016 4:24 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Hamas movement hailed on Saturday the announcement that academics from 50 Italians universities had signed a petition calling to boycott Israeli universities and research institutes.

According to prominent Italian publication L’Espresso, more than 160 Italian academics came out in support of the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign.

The petition, reportedly the first large-scale BDS effort from Italian academia, said it was “a response to the known and well-documented complicity of Israeli academic institutions with Israeli state violence and the total lack of serious condemnation on their part since the foundation of the State of Israel.”

The BDS campaign specifically targeted Technion, the Israeli Institute of Technology in Haifa, for its prominent role in the Israeli military-industrial complex, and called on Italian universities to severe ties with the institution.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri welcomed the move on Saturday, saying the petition “illustrates the increasing state of isolation the occupation suffers as a result of its crimes.”

Israel has been struggling to tackle a growing Palestinian-led boycott campaign which has had a number of high-profile successes abroad in both academic and artistic fields.

The BDS movement aims to exert political and economic pressure over Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories in a bid to repeat the success of the campaign which ended apartheid in South Africa.

In recent years, some 1,200 academics in Spain, 343 British professors and lecturers and more than 200 South African academics have publicly come out in support of BDS.

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