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

Israeli Anthropologists Support the Boycott

[this post originally appeared on Savage Minds]

Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions is pleased to share this letter we received from 22 Israeli anthropologists endorsing the boycott. As anthropologists critical of state power, who object to Israel’s gross violations of international law and crimes against humanity committed in their names, they urge members of the American Anthropological Association to support them and their Palestinian colleagues in putting pressure on the Israeli state by boycotting the academic institutions which are complicit in these violations and crimes. Due to the increasing atmosphere of intimidation and threats against boycott supporters in Israel, they have all signed anonymously as a collective.

Voting on the resolution is open from April 15-May 31. To join AAA or renew your membership, click here.

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We, the undersigned anthropologists, Israelis and citizens of Israel:

  • endorse the vote from the 2015 AAA Business Meeting in favor of an academic boycott of Israeli institutions,
  • urge our colleagues in the AAA to vote in favor of the resolution for Academic Boycott,
  • reject spurious arguments that blame boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) measures for the rise of the Israeli right, and that the AAA academic boycott is targeting Israeli anthropologists and moderates.

Continue reading

From Israeli citizens, in support of the American Anthropological Association BDS resolution

[this statement originally appeared here]

From Israeli citizens, in support of the American Anthropological Association BDS resolution

 

To the American Anthropological Association,

We are citizens of Israel, from all walks of life, including academics, who support the Palestinian call for BDS [1]. We write to congratulate you on your recent vote to adopt a boycott of Israeli academic institutions in accordance with the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) of complicit Israeli institutions [2]. You have taken a moral position that will impact the lives of millions of people for the better!  Continue reading

Panic in Israeli Media Over Proposed AAA Boycott

This is a translation of a report that aired on Channel 10 in Israel on November 16, 2015.

For more on the boycott’s impact on Israeli public opinion, see I. ben Alek’s essay, “Is an Academic Boycott Effective? Ask Israeli Leaders.”

[click on “CC” for English subtitles]

Is the Largest Ever Academic Boycott Against Israel Coming on Friday?

Anchor: This Friday, the biggest academic boycott resolution against Israel ever is expected to be adopted. And it’s happening, of all places, in the United States at the major association of anthropologists, which numbers twelve thousand members. The fear in Israel is that the resolution would have a snowball effect of boycotts which would be impossible to stop. A report by our education correspondent, Omri Yaniv. Continue reading

It’s not the end of the world, it’s a necessary challenge to our cosmology: An Israeli Student on the Boycott

[this essay originally appeared on Savage Minds]

Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions was thrilled to receive this essay from an Israeli anthropologist working in an Israeli state institution. The post is anonymous in order to protect the person from the attacks such supporters of the boycott from within increasingly face from their colleagues, administrations, and government. For more on Israeli anthropologists’ criticisms of their colleagues’ anti-boycott stances, see hereand here.

Come to the boycott vote on Friday November 20 at 6:15 pm! See Voting at #AAA2015 — What You Need to Know. VOTE YES on Resolution 2, Vote Yes for Justice.

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When I was in first grade my teacher Ms. B. tried to teach us children a lesson on gravity. She drew a large round circle to signify the earth, surrounded by small stick figures placed all around it. ‘You see,’ she explained, ‘gravity works the same way all around the world, that’s why none of the people fall off.’ As citizens of the northern hemisphere we six- and seven-year-olds found this picture very perplexing. ‘We already understand gravity,” we insisted again and again, “we know we don’t float off the floor. We just don’t understand how people don’t fall off the bottom.’

Continue reading

Dissenting Israeli Anthropologists Reject Anti-Boycott Resolution

Some 30 Israeli anthropologists sent the following statement to the American Anthropological Association last month.

Response to the IAA Announcement and Resolution, 18 June, 2015

Last week, the Israeli Anthropological Association passed a resolution condemning the occupation, opposing academic boycott, and calling for “dialogue between willing parties”. The resolution and the adjoining press release are important responses to Palestinian civil society’s call for academic boycott and to the hundreds of anthropologists who have endorsed it. The explicit condemnation of the colonial occupation and of the racial discrimination faced by Israel’s Palestinian citizens (while disregarding the discrimination faced by non-Ashkenazi Jews and other groups) are an important step for any Israeli academic association. We urge our American colleagues to support the IAA in this regard.

Nevertheless, we are convinced that the IAA would not have taken this step were it not for the aforementioned initiative within the AAA. Moreover, the declaration of the IAA does nothing to release Israeli academic institutions at large from their responsibility. In this vein, we find it odd that the IAA would implicitly condition the possibility of “dialogue between willing parties” on rejection of the academic boycott. In our opinion, principled action to address academic complicity with the reproduction of race, class and gender hierarchies and the perpetuation of the colonial occupation is a precondition for true dialogue, which is finally underway now.

In this spirit, we are also critical of the IAA’s claim that “identifying academic institutions with the political regimes of their states contradicts the historical contribution of anthropology to intellectual and political debate.” If anthropology’s “contribution” is one that absolves academic institutions of social accountability, then our discipline will have done more harm than good.

Consequently, we urge the AAA and the discipline at large to continue its exploration of the ways the academe – in the USA and around the world as well as in Israel – is complicit in colonial occupation and other forms of injustice. While sharing the IAA’s commitment to ending the occupation, we refuse to deny the part played by Israeli academic institutions in maintaining an unjust social structure in Israel and in servicing the occupation. Moreover, we refuse to participate in the attempt at defusing what is currently one of the most effective non-violent tools of struggle that Palestinians have developed. We urge the AAA to do the same. This dialogue has finally begun, and it must be allowed to proceed.

Actions Speak Louder: A Response to the IAA’s Anti-Boycott Resolution

On 11 June, the Israeli Anthropological Association (IAA) passed a resolution that called for an end to the occupation and simultaneously expressed opposition to the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions is deeply troubled by the IAA’s decision to pair this long-overdue criticism of the occupation with a formal rejection of Palestinian civil society’s call for an academic boycott.

The IAA resolution appears to be an attempt to derail the ongoing and very productive discussions within the American Anthropological Association (AAA) regarding the Palestinian call for an academic boycott. The AAA will discuss the boycott at this year’s annual meeting, and we urge our AAA colleagues not to be lulled into inaction by the IAA’s recent resolution. Continue reading

A Letter from our Israeli Colleagues

A number of our Israeli colleagues recently wrote an important open letter supporting the open discussion of a boycott among anthropologists and criticizing the Israeli Anthropological Association’s attempts to shut down debate on the matter:

We therefore encourage an open and public discussion of [academic boycotts] along with other possible measures. We wish the American Anthropological Association success in pursuing this debate at the coming Annual Meeting, whether its end result is adoption of the boycott or other measures of censure, or simply a productive professional exchange. We are confident that this critical discussion in no way makes the AAA an unsafe space for us as citizens of Israel opposed to its policies. At the same time, we urge the IAA [Israeli Anthropological Association] to condemn the oppression of the Palestinian people, and especially the recent murderous war in Gaza. In taking such a stance, the IAA would take a first step towards dissociating itself as a body from policies and values that anthropologists cannot support in good faith. Until the IAA does so, its call to avoid discussion of boycott in the name of “dialogue” evades the cause it claims to uphold.