Fact Sheet: Israel’s Ongoing Violence Against Palestinian Academia

Since the narrow defeat of the AAA Resolution 100 days ago, the Israeli state has intensified its flagrant violations of Palestinians’ basic human rights, including attacks on academic freedom. These routine violations include:

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Ultranationalist Group Targets Dissident Israeli Anthropologists

Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions condemns recent efforts to intimidate Israeli scholars who have spoken out against the occupation.

This week, the ultranationalist pressure group Im Tirtzu released a report targeting Israeli anthropologists it accuses of supporting the international boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Last month, 22 Israeli anthropologists anonymously signed a letter supporting the proposed boycott currently being voted on by the American Anthropological Association (AAA). Continue reading

Roberto González: #Anthroboycott Vote Should Not Be Suppressed

[this essay originally appeared on the blog of Academe, the magazine of the American Association of University Professors]

Guest blogger Roberto J. González is an alumnus of UC Berkeley. He is chair of San José State University’s anthropology department and author of several books including Militarizing Culture: Essays on the Warfare State (2010) and Zapotec Science: Farming and Food in the Northern Sierra of Oaxaca (2001). His position on academic boycotts differs from that of the AAUP, which can be found here.

gonzalezLast month, University of California President Janet Napolitano sent a bewildering letter to the American Anthropological Association (AAA), the world’s largest professional association of anthropologists.

The document, co-signed by the chancellors of all 10 UC campuses, expresses concern about a proposed AAA resolution supporting an academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions. It urges “Association members to consider the boycott’s potentially harmful impacts and oppose this resolution.”

Napolitano’s letter betrays an Orwellian disregard for what it claims to protect: academic freedom. Continue reading

Middle East Studies Association Criticizes Israeli Travel Restrictions on Boycott Activist

On 16 May, the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association sent a letter to Israeli authorities criticizing an effective travel ban imposed by Israeli authorities on Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. This is only the latest instance of Israeli restrictions on freedom of expression, especially of critics of government policy.

A copy of the letter is below.


Derailing Democracy?: The Anti-Boycott Playbook Explained

As members of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) cast their ballots on a proposed boycott of Israeli academic institutions, outside organizations are desperately mobilizing to pressure the Association and derail the initiative.

In the interests of educating all members of the Association – whatever their position on the boycott – we are sharing information about these attempts to interfere in the AAA’s democratic processes. We believe sunlight is the best disinfectant, and that an informed membership can better stand together against such pressures. Continue reading

VIDEO: A Palestinian Anthropologist Speaks About Life and Scholarship Under Occupation

What is it like to practice anthropology under occupation? As Birzeit University anthropologist Ala Alazzeh says, Palestinians “don’t have any immunity to conduct research.” They worry that they or their subjects could be targeted by the Israeli army.

Video directed and produced by Mohammad Al-Azza of Lajee Center, Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem.



A Smear in Disguise: Comments on Starrett

[this essay originally appeared on Savage Minds]

By Charles Hirschkind

In “The Symbolic Violence of Choice” (Anthropology News, March 2, 2016), Gregory Starrett denounces the Resolution to Boycott Israeli Academic Institutions currently being considered by AAA members on numerous grounds. Despite a thin and misleading veneer of impartiality, the essay is unequivocal both in its condemnation of the proposed resolution and its disparaging assessment of those who support it. Having read the piece a number of times now, I find it profoundly confused, a set of rhetorical feints disguised as an analysis. But given the timing of its publication, just before AAA members must decide on the boycott initiative, I feel that a serious response is necessary. Continue reading

Solidarity With Turkish Academics Under Attack

Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions expresses its solidarity with scholars in Turkey who have been persecuted for demanding an end to state violence against Kurds and a return to peace negotiations.

Earlier this month, the American Anthropological Association’s Committee for Human Rights (CfHR) wrote to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu concerning the recent crackdown, especially against signatories to the statement entitled “We Will Not Be a Party To This Crime” [“Bu Suça Ortak Olmayacağız”]. We echo the CfHR’s demand for an end to all punitive actions against the signatories of this statement as well as for the Turkish state’s adherence to international human rights standards and to norms of academic freedom.

The cause of academic freedom is indivisible and must be unequivocally defended, whether in Palestine/Israel, Turkey, or the United States.

We will continue to consult with colleagues in Turkey on how best to support their struggle.

We urge those who wish to express their solidarity with Turkish scholars to consider signing the “Open Letter for Academics Under Attack in Turkey.” Continue reading

University of California Faculty Reject Anti-Boycott Pressure

[this post originally appeared on The Berkeley Blog]

On boycotts of Israeli academic institutions: a reply

As anthropologists based in the University of California system, we object to Professor Robert Birgeneau’s and Professor George Breslauer’s attempt to interfere in the American Anthropological Association’s ongoing deliberation over the boycott of Israeli academic institutions (see their Berkeley Blog post).

We find it unacceptable that a former chancellor (Birgeneau) and former executive vice chancellor and provost (Breslauer) would lend their voices to the organized intimidation of critics of Israeli state policy, and we particularly worry about the effect of such intimidation on our junior and more vulnerable colleagues. Continue reading