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Progressive Academics Endorse Israeli Anthropologists’ Call to Action

By Alliance for Academic Freedom

End the West Bank Occupation, Reject Academic Boycotts and Promote Dialogue and Peace

New York, NY – June 19, 2015

Cary Nelson, AAF Executive Committee Co-Chair,
Chad Goldberg, AAF Executive Committee Co-Chair,
Gideon Aronoff, The Third Narrative, Director,

The Alliance for Academic Freedom welcomes and endorses the resolution passed by the Israeli Anthropological Association (IAA) on June 11, 2015, calling for the end of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, opposing boycotts of Israel scholars and academic institutions, and supporting constructive dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.

With the forthcoming report by the Task Force on American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) Engagement with Israel/Palestine’s and the annual meeting of the association this fall, we urge AAA’s leaders and members to reject academic boycotts, which are more accurately described as blacklists. Instead, we call on the AAA to stand in solidarity with their Israeli and Palestinian colleagues by opposing occupation and supporting academic freedom, dialogue and peace. We furthermore encourage the anthropologists to invest in the region by drawing on the creative measures suggested by IAA and Anthropologists for Dialogue on Israel and Palestine, such as providing research fellowships for Palestinian anthropologists, supporting joint projects, and offering professional development for educators both in, and teaching about, the area. What academia and the Middle East need most today is more open, good-faith exchanges and collaboration across political divides.


The full IAA Resolution follows. 


IAA Resolution, June 11 2015

1. Upholding human rights, the quest for justice and a hope for a viable future for Israelis, Palestinians, and the Middle East at large, the IAA calls upon the Israeli government to follow UN resolutions and adhere to the initiative of many in the international community by:

A. ending the siege of Gaza and cooperating with the Palestinian leadership, Egypt and the international community in a genuine effort to reconstruct the Gaza strip after the damages inflicted on it in 2014, while safeguarding security for Israelis;

B. negotiating in good faith with the Palestinians towards a just and final settlement of the conflict based on Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967;

C. recognizing the rights of Palestinian and Bedouin Citizens of Israel to full equality, and doing everything necessary to fulfill this right;

D. promoting and implementing a spectrum of dignified, just and effective solutions to the tragedy of Palestinian refugees.

2. Recognizing the important role that moderate segments in Israeli society, including academics,  have played over the years in the difficult struggle for peace in the region, the IAA calls on anthropologists and academics abroad to resist conflating academic institutions with government policies and actions, and to oppose initiatives to boycott universities in Israel. Associating academic institutions with the political regimes they operate in flies in the face of anthropology’s most enduring contribution to intellectual and political sensibilities: its ability to recognize and articulate nuance, deal with social and cultural complexity and avoid essentialization.

3. The IAA urges colleagues abroad to strengthen anthropological research, debate, and teaching in the region; to mobilize anthropological insight and moral integrity for renewed dialogue between willing parties on either side; to help terminate the occupation and to nudge reluctant leaders towards peace.



For a statement by the IAA regarding the resolution see:

One Response to “Progressive Academics Endorse Israeli Anthropologists’ Call to Action”

  1. Martha Hare
    July 3, 2015 at 11:06 am #

    As an anthropologist, I am very pleased with this statement. I was at the AAA in 2014. It was a draining and demoralizing experience, especially for those of us who still think that anthropology is a discipline with much to offer in our complex world. I want to say that I was a brand new member of Ameinu when I saw the resolution being debated at AAA. Ameinu responded to my inquiries immediately and put me in touch with other anthropolgists. I was very impressed.

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