The Boycott Debate: Whose Voices Matter?

Voting is currently underway on whether the American Anthropological Association (AAA) will endorse Palestinian civil society’s call to boycott Israeli academic institutions. Over the weekend, many AAA members received messages from a group called Anthropologists for Dialogue on Israel/Palestine (ADIP), urging them to vote against the proposed boycott. The email message, and accompanying videos of Israeli anthropologists, demonstrates several troubling trends on the part of boycott opponents.

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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.



Palestinian Anthropologists Speak (4): Ruba Salih

[this post originally appeared on Jadaliyya as part of a series of reflections composed by Palestinian anthropologists in commemoration of Nakba Day]

Academic Freedom, Ethics, and Responsibility: The Silencing and Censoring of Palestine in Western Liberal Academia

by Ruba Salih

A few months ago a story was published on theYedioth Hakkibutz magazine. The first page of the magazine headlined: “We have expelled, bombed, and killed” and recalled an interview with Mr. Kahanovich, a former combatant in the paramilitary underground terrorist unit Palmach. The interview contained Mr. Kahanovich’s confession about his role and participation in the expulsion and killing of Palestinian civilians during 1948. A few months before, Kahanovich was interviewed as part of a project carried out by Zochrot  (Remembering) an Israeli organization whose priority is to bring to light the silenced Palestinian memories and narratives of 1948, which Palestinians remember as the Nakba (catastrophe). In the interview Kahanovich touched upon one of the most dramatic aspects of the 1948 war: the killing in cold blood of Palestinian civilians who were seeking to go back to their villages after the Israeli military and paramilitary units had occupied the villages and expelled the original inhabitants, or made them run away in search for safety.

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Palestinian Anthropologists Speak (3): Amahl Bishara

[this post originally appeared on Jadaliyya as part of a series of reflections composed by Palestinian anthropologists in commemoration of Nakba Day]

Wearing Catastrophe on Our Chests

by Amahl Bishara

[Photo by Mohammad Al-Azza]

Last year around this time, my family and I were in Bethlehem dining with a seasoned American activist when my three-year-old daughter leaned over and whispered in my ear with a fierce intensity: “Tell her about the Nakba!” When I relayed her suggestion to the rest of the table, we all smiled, since this friend knew quite well about the Nakba. The word literally means catastropheand it has come to signify Palestinians’ displacement and dispossession at the hands of Zionist militias and then the Israeli army. It turned 750,000 Palestinians into refugees, destroyed more than four hundred villages, and dismantled Palestinian urban life. In fact, my daughter’s impulse was right on: More people need to see the Nakba at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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