Scholars have launched a campaign to condemn intimidation of Israel’s critics, especially those who support boycotting the regime.
On Wednesday, US historian Rashid Khalidi  and philosopher Judith Butler  published a joint statement, in which they called on educational and cultural institutions to stand up for the principle of freedom of speech.
The renowned scholars also said they would support an international movement to boycott Israel as a tool to change Tel Aviv’s policy against Palestinians.
So far, the campaign has managed to attract 150 signatories, who are prominent academics from around the world.
“It is important to recognize that boycotts are internationally affirmed and constitutionally protected forms of political expression,” the statement read, adding, “Those who support boycotts ought not to become subject to retaliation, surveillance, or censorship when they choose to express their political viewpoint, no matter how offensive that may be to those who disagree.”
The two scholars also said the Israeli regime is “accelerating efforts to curtail speech, to exercise censorship, and to carry out retaliatory action against individuals on the basis of their political views or associations, notably support for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) ” campaign.
The statement also stressed the need for “refusing to become vehicles for censorship and slander,” and called for “rejecting blacklisting, intimidation, and discrimination against certain viewpoints.”
The BDS campaign is part of international efforts to pressure Tel Aviv  to stop illegal constructions in the occupied Palestinian territory.
The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine  has created a major obstacle for the efforts made to establish peace in the Middle East.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967.
The U.N. and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.