Alliance for Academic Freedom


We are progressive and liberal scholars and academics who reject the notion that one has to be either pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian. We believe that empathy for the suffering and aspirations of both peoples, and respect for their national narratives, is essential if there is to be a peaceful solution. Scholars and academics should play a positive role in asking difficult questions, and promoting critical thinking, about the Israel-Palestinian conflict. To achieve this goal we insist on the importance of academic freedom and open intellectual exchange, and so reject calls for academic boycotts and blacklists, as well as efforts to punish academics for their political speech, including even those who support the academic boycotts that we oppose. Click here for statements on academic freedom and other AAF materials.

Statement of Principles

We are committed to the following principles:

a) We respect the humanity of Israelis and Palestinians alike, and believe that all political analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be grounded in empathy for both peoples.

b) We believe in two states as the only way to avoid perpetual conflict, and recognize that since both peoples require national self-expression, the struggle will continue until this is achieved.

c) We believe the Israeli occupation of the West Bank not only deprives Palestinians of their fundamental rights, but is also corrosive to Israeli society and is incompatible with the democratic principles upon which the State of Israel was founded.

d) We accept the obligation to actively oppose violations of human rights, but cannot condone the use of violence targeting civilians as a tool to address grievances, or to promote strategies that would undermine the future viability of each nation.

e) We strongly oppose the rhetoric used by both sides which demonizes and dehumanizes the other, or distorts the history and national aspirations of each people, to promote violence and hatred.

f) We reject the all-too-common binary approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict that seeks to justify one side or the other as all right or all wrong, and sets out to marshal supposed evidence to prove a case of complete guilt or total exoneration. Scholarship and fairness require a more difficult and thoughtful approach. As academics we recognize the subjective perspectives of individuals and peoples, but strive to apply rigorous standards to research and analysis rather than to subsume academic discipline to political expediency.

g) We reject all attempts to undermine or diminish academic freedom and open intellectual exchange, including those cases associated with the Israel-Palestine debate. Academic boycotts and blacklists are discriminatory per se and undercut the purpose of the academy: the pursuit of knowledge. Likewise, we are against legislative and other efforts by domestic or foreign interests that seek to diminish the academic freedom of those scholars who might propose, endorse, or promote academic boycotts, even if we strongly disagree with these tactics.


The Alliance for Academic Freedom (AAF), facilitated by Ameinu, will seek to create a unique, middle ground, organizing space for progressive and liberal college or university faculty, academic staff, and administrators, adjunct instructors, researchers, and graduate students to undertake the following activities:

  • Oversee the preparation of written materials on issues related to academic freedom and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;
  • Coordinate the sharing of information on efforts to promote anti-Israel boycotts and blacklists among academic associations, and efforts to punish academics for their political speech about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the speech of those who support the academic boycotts that we oppose;
  • Promote the values of academic freedom and open intellectual exchange, as well as the perspectives of the alliance, through traditional and social media;
  • Organize advocacy campaigns on specific academic freedom issues;
  • Develop proactive outreach plans to promote the values of academic freedom, and more generally the free expression and exchange of ideas, particularly as they relate to the Middle East, in academic institutions and associations;
  • Provide speakers and other resources to individual campuses where academic freedom is threatened; and
  • Create opportunities for progressive faculty to collaborate with like-minded undergraduate and graduate students on individual campuses to work together for academic freedom and open intellectual exchange.

AAF Executive Committee:

Cary Nelson, Chair, Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts & Sciences Emeritus, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Susana Cavallo, PhD, Professor of Spanish, Loyola University Chicago
David Greenberg, Professor of History, Rutgers University
Rebecca Lesses, Jewish Studies, Ithaca College
Jeffry V. Mallow, Professor of Physics Emeritus, Loyola University Chicago
Stan Nadel, Historian, University of Portland, Salzburg Austria Center
Kenneth Stern, Director, Bard Center for the Study of Hate

If you are an academic interested in joining the AAF, please click here.

Founding Members:

Eric Alterman, CUNY Distinguished Professor of English and Journalism, Brooklyn College

Yael Aronoff, Associate Professor of International Relations and Associate Director of Jewish Studies, James Madison College and Jewish Studies, Michigan State University

Peter Beinart, Associate Professor of Journalism and Political Science, City University of NY

Michael Bérubé, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature and Director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, Penn State University

David Biale, Emanuel Ringelblum Distinguished Professor of Jewish History, University of California, Davis

Steven M. Cohen, Research Professor of Jewish Social Policy, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Hasia Diner, Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History, New York University

Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, Distinguished Professor, Graduate Center, City University of NY

Sara Evans, Regents Professor Emerita, Department of History, University of Minnesota

Claude S. Fischer, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley

Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Joseph S. Atha Professor of Humanities; Professor of English, and Director of American Studies, Stanford University

Sam Fleischacker, Professor of Philosophy, University of Illinois-Chicago; Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford (2013-14)

Todd Gitlin, Professor of Journalism and Sociology; Chair, Ph. D. Program in Communications, Columbia University

Chad Alan Goldberg, Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

David Greenberg, Associate Professor of History and of Journalism and Media Studies, Rutgers University

Harold Hellenbrand, Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs, California State University, Northridge

Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College

Carole Joffe, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of California, Davis

Ira Katznelson, Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University

Michael Kazin, Professor of History, Georgetown University

Ari Y. Kelman, Jim Joseph Chair in Education and Jewish Studies, Associate Professor of Education, Stanford University

Alice Kessler-Harris, R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of History, Columbia University

Rebecca Kobrin, Russell and Bettina Knapp Assistant Professor of American Jewish History, Columbia University

Nicholas Lemann, Professor of Journalism and Dean Emeritus, Columbia University School of Journalism

Steven Lubet, Williams Memorial Professor of Law, Northwestern University School of Law

Jeffry Mallow, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Loyola University, Chicago

Maud Mandel, Associate Professor of Judaic Studies and History, Brown University

Elaine Tyler May, Regents Professor, Departments of American Studies and History, University of Minnesota

Deborah Dash Moore, Director of the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies and Frederick G.L. Huetwell Professor of History, University of Michigan

Leslie Morris, Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor of German, University of Minnesota

José C. Moya, Professor of History and Director, Forum on Migration, Barnard College; Director, Institute of Latin American Studies, Columbia University

Sharon Ann Musher, Associate Professor of History and Director of M.A. in American Studies, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

David N. Myers, Robert N. Burr Department Chair and Professor of Jewish History, UCLA

Cary Nelson, Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Derek J. Penslar, Samuel Zacks Professor of Jewish History, University of Toronto

Riv-Ellen Prell, Professor of American Studies and Director of Center for Jewish Studies, University of Minnesota.

Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, Merle Curti Associate Professor of History, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Brent Sasley, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Texas at Arlington

Beverly Schneider, Psychoanalysis, National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis

Gershon Shafir, Professor of Sociology, University of California, San Diego

Judith Shulevitz, Adjunct Assistant Professor of English, Barnard College

Catherine Bodard Silver, Professor Emerita (Sociology), Brooklyn College and Graduate Center, CUNY

Seymour Spilerman, Julian C. Levi Professor of Sociology, Columbia University

Ken Stern, Independent Scholar, former Assistant Visiting Professor of Jewish Studies, Bard College

Mira Sucharov, Associate Professor of Political Science, Carleton University, Ottawa

Ann Swidler, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley

Siva Vaidhyanathan, Robertson Professor; Chair, Department of Media Studies, The University of Virginia

Kenneth Waltzer, Professor of History, James Madison College; Director of Jewish Studies, Michigan State University

Judith B. Walzer, Former Provost and Professor of Literature, New School, NY

Michael Walzer, Professor Emeritus, Institute for Advanced Studies

Dov Waxman, Associate Professor of Political Science, Baruch College and Graduate Center, City University of New York; Co-Director of the Middle East Center for Peace, Culture, and Development, Northeastern University

Beth C. Weitzman, Vice Dean; Professor, Health and Public Policy, NYU Steinhardt

Beth S. Wenger, Professor of History; Chair, History Department, University of Pennsylvania

Jeff Weintraub, Social & Political Theorist and Political Sociologist, Most recently at the University of Pennsylvania and Bryn Mawr College

Kate Wittenstein, Professor in History and Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies, Adolfus College

Steven Zipperstein, Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History, Stanford University

Council Members:

Avner Baz, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Tufts University

David Bell, Sidney and Ruth Lapidus Professor of History, Princeton University

Jonathan Bendor, Professor of Business, Stanford University

Alan Benjamin, Lecturer in Jewish Studies, The Pennsylvania State University

Ernst Benjamin, former General Secretary and Director of Research AAUP

Jonathan Berger, Professor of Music,  Stanford University

Marc Bernstein, Professor of Jewish and Muslim Studies, Michigan State University

Aaron Bobick, Professor of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology

Zachary Braiterman, Professor of Religion, Syracuse University

Joseph Brooks, PhD Candidate in Linguistics, University of California, Santa Barbara

David Brusin, Senior Lecturer of Foreign Languages and Literature, University of Wisconsin– Milwaukee

Geoffrey Claussen, Lori and Eric Sklut Scholar in Jewish Studies and Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Elon University

Mitchell Cohen, Professor of Political Science, Baruch College and Graduate Center

Stephen Cohen, Professor of Law, Georgetown

Galeet Dardashti, Visiting Scholar, Israel Studies, New York University

John Delaney, Retired Professor of Law, City University Law School

Morris Dickstein, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English, Graduate Center, City University of New York

Steven Diner, Professor of History, Rutgers University-Newark

Alan Dowty, Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame

Peter Dreier, EP Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics; Chair, Urban & Environmental Policy Department, Occidental College

Nick Dyrenfurth, Adjunct Research Fellow in History, University of California, Davis

John Efron, Koret Professor of Jewish History, University of California-Berkeley

Steve Eichel, Adjunct Professor of Psychology, Philadelphia University

Peter Eisenstadt, Independent historian and author

Josh Feigelson, Graduate Student, Religious Studies, Northwestern University

Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Stanford University

Michael Frisch, Professor and Senior Research Scholar, State University of NY at Buffalo Technology Incubator

Jay Geller, Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Culture, Vanderbilt Divinity School

Alan Gitelson, Professor of Political Science, Loyola University Chicago

Miriyam Glazer, Professor of Literature, Communication & Media, American Jewish University

Myrna Goldenberg, Director Emerita of Humanities Institute; Professor Emerita, English Department, Montgomery College, MD

Karla Goldman, Sol Drachler Professor of Social Work, University or Michigan

Michael Gottsegen, Visiting Scholar of Religious Studies, Brown University

David Gordis, President Emeritus of Rabbinics, Hebrew College

Henry Greenspan, Lecturer IV (senior), Academic Advisor, University of Michigan

Martha Hare, Independent Scholar

Aaron Hass, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Science, UCLA School of Medicine

Anne Golomb Hoffman, Professor of English, Fordham University

Bethamie Horowitz, Research Assistant Professor of Jewish Education, NYU

Steven Jacobs, Aaron Aronov Endowed Chair of Judaic Studies/Associate Professor, The University of Alabama

Robert Jennings, PhD Student Anthropology/Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

Robert Johnston, Professor of History, University of Illinois at Chicago

David Kader, Professor of Law, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University

Samuel Kassow, Professor of History, Trinity College

David Kaufman, Independent scholar, former Chair of Jewish Studies, Hofstra University

Evan Kent, Instructor in Jewish music, Hebrew Union College

Eve Keller, Professor of English and Director of Honors Program, Fordham College Rose Hill, Fordham University

Deeana Klepper, Associate Professor of Religion and History, Boston University

Jack Kugelmass, Director and Professor of Jewish Studies/Anthropology, University of Florida

Elaine Leeder, Dean Emerita of the School of Social Sciences and a Professor of Sociology, Sonoma State University

Lori Lefkovitz, Professor of English, Northeastern U

Liel Leibovitz, Visiting Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University

Rebecca Lesses, Professor of Jewish Studies, Ithaca College

Amy-Jill Levine, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies; Professor of Jewish Studies, Vanderbilt University

Jennifer Lewis, Assistant Professor of Math Education, College of Education, Wayne State University

Joe Lockard, Associate Professor of English, Arizona State University

Steven Lukes, Professor of Sociology, New York University

Berel Lutsky, Professor of Art,University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc

Judith Lynne Goldstein, Professor of Anthropology, Vassar College

Barry Lyons, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Wayne State University

Christopher MacDonald-Dennis, Dean of Multicultural Life, Macalester College

Frances Malino, Sophia Moses Robison Professor of Jewish Studies and History, Wellesley College

Jonathan Malino, Professor and Weissenfluh Chair of Ethics and Religion, Guilford College

Daniel Mandell, Professor of History, Truman State University

Barbara Mann, Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Studies, Jewish Theological Seminary

Edward Marks, Adjunct Professor, Graduate Clinical Counseling, La Salle University

Philip Mendes, Associate Professor of Social Work, Monash University

Joshua Meyers, Graduate Student, History, Stanford

Tony Michels, George L. Mosse Associate Professor of American Jewish History, University of Wisconsin– Madison

Stan Nadel, Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Portland–Salzburg Austria Program

Charles Neuman, Physics Associate Professor ,City University of New York- Queensborough Community College

Louis Newman, Associate Dean of the College; John M. and Elizabeth W. Musser Professor of Religious Studies, Carleton College

Anita Norich, Tikva Frymer-Kensky Collegiate Professor of English and Judaic Studies, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

Nigel Paneth, Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Michigan State University

Sharrona Pearl, Assistant Professor at The Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

Tracy Pintchman, Professor of Theology and Director of International Studies Program, Loyola University Chicago

Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Independent Scholar

Claire Potter, Professor of History, The New School

Karen Prager, Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, and Behavioral and Brain Sciences, The University of Texas at Dallas

Elliot Ratzman, Assistant Professor of Religion, Temple University

Nancy Reichman, Professor of Sociology and Criminology, University of Denver

Barbara Risman, Professor and Head of Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago

Michele Rivkin-Fish, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Judith Mendelsohn Rood, Professor of History, Biola University

David Rosen, Professor of Anthropology, Fairleigh Dickinson University

Ruth Rosen, Professor Emerita of History, University of California, Davis

Warren Rosenblum, Associate Professor & Chair of History, Politics, and International Relations, Webster University

Shahar Sadeh, Adjunct Professor, Columbia University Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies

Steve Salop, Professor of Economics and Law, Georgetown Univ Law Center

Maurice Samuels, Betty Jane Anlyan Professor of French and Director of the Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism, Yale University

Irwin Sandler, Regents’ Professor Emeritus; Research Professor of Psychology, Arizona State University

Jill Schneiderman, Professor Earth Science and Geography, Vassar College

Daniel Schwartz, Associate Professor of History; Director of Judaic Studies Program, George Washington University

Jan Schwarz, Associate Professor, Centre of Languages and Literatures, Lund University

Chaim Seidler-Feller, Lecturer, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures Department, UCLA

Yonathan Shapir, Physics and Astronomy, Joint Appointments in the Math and Chemical Engineering Depts, University of Rochester

Eugene Sheppard, Associate Professor of Modern Jewish Thought, Near Eastern & Judaic Studies Department, Brandeis University

Martin Shichtman, Professor of English/Director of Jewish Studies, Eastern Michigan University

Jeffrey Shoulson, Professor, Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, University of Connecticut

John Shuler, Bibliographer/Liaison for the College of Urban Planning & Public Affairs,Jane Addams College of Social Work and Government Information/Documents Librarian, University of Illinois at Chicago

Katherine Sibley, Professor of History, St. Joseph’s University

Jennifer Siegel, Associate Professor of History, The Ohio State University

Gila Silverman, PhD candidate, Anthropology, University of Arizona

Cherryl Smith, Professor of English, California State University Sacramento

Robert Snyder, Associate Professor and Director of American Studies, Rutgers University- Newark

Gerald Sorokin, Executive Director of Hillel Foundation, University of Iowa

Daniel Soyer, Professor of History, Fordham University

Seymour Spilerman, Professor of Sociology, Columbia University

Michael Stanislawski, Nathan J. Miller Professor of Jewish History, Columbia University

Shalom Staub, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Civic Engagement, Dickinson College

Allen Steinberg, Emeritus Associate Professor of History, University of Iowa

Michael Steinitz, Professor of Physics, St. Francis Xavier University

Anna Taylor, Professor of Neurobiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Magda Teter, Shvidler Chair in Judaic Studies and Professor of History, Fordham University

Irene Tucker, Professor of English, University of California, Irvine

Milton Viorst, Independent Scholar

Roger Waldinger, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, UCLA

Marsha Weinraub, Professor of Psychology, Temple University

Alan J Weisbard, Professor Emeritus of Law and Jewish Studies, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Michael Weisberg, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania

Howard Wettstein, Professor of Philosophy, UC Riverside

Carol Winograd, Associate Prof. Emerita of Medicine, Stanford University

Terry Winograd, Professor Emeritus of Computer Science, Stanford University

Jonathan Zasloff, Professor of Law, UCLA

If you are an academic interested in joining the AAF, please click here.