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Announcing the Formation of Our New Academic Advisory Council

By Ameinu Office

The Third Narrative Academic Advisory Council


We are progressive 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.


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 Council will function as an advisory body to The Third Narrative (TTN), facilitated by Ameinu.  The Council will seek to create a unique, middle ground, organizing space at TTN for progressive academics and will engage academics from across North America 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 Council, 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.


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

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:

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

Doron Ben-Atar, Professor of History, Fordham 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

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

Zachary Braiterman, Professor of Religion, Syracuse University

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

Flora Davidson, Professor Emerita of Political Science & Urban Studies, Barnard College, Columbia 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

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

Peter Eisenstadt, Independent historian and author

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

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

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

Judith L. Goldstein, Professor of Anthropology, Vassar College

Anne Golomb Hoffman, Professor of English, Fordham University

David Gordis, President Emeritus of Rabbinics, Hebrew College

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

Daniel Horowitz, Emeritus American Studies, Smith College

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

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

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

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

Rebecca Lesses, Professor of Jewish Studies, Ithaca College

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

Joe Lockard, Associate Professor of English, Arizona State University

Judith Lynne Goldstein, Professor of Anthropology, Vassar College

Barry Lyons, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Wayne State University

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

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

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

Yehudah Mirsky, Associate Professor of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University

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

Claire Potter, Professor of History, The New School

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

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

Seth Schwartz, Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Classical Jewish Civilization, Columbia University

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

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

Cherryl Smith, Professor of English, California State University Sacramento

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

Seymour Spilerman, Professor of Sociology, Columbia University

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

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

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

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

Marsha Weinraub, Professor of Psychology, Temple University

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

Alan Wolfe, Professor of Political Science, Boston College

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 Council, please click here.

5 Responses to “Announcing the Formation of Our New Academic Advisory Council”

  1. Reader20
    March 18, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    Great and a long overdue effort. The propositions that supporting Israel means being “right wing” or “unquestioningly” supporting the current government of Israel need to be answered, as you have. A couple of queries that I hope you can address in due course:

    First, how can one support boycotting the occupied territories, as Mr. Beinart does, and be a signatory to this statement? Is that answer that Mr. Beinart (along possibly with other signatories) is OK with “economic” boycotts but not “academic” boycotts?

    And if the sole concern is with the danger of blacklisting and stigmatizing academics in Israel, does that mean that your group is willing to make common cause with those who support boycotting Israel inside the Green Line, so long as they make an exception for academic activities?

    Second, why exactly is it problematic to argue that government funding should be denied to support institutions or individuals engaged in academic boycotting activities, particularly where such activities are based on invidiously discriminatory motives? Frankly, I am not sure how I feel about this issue, but it seems not to be as clear as your statement makes it out to be. Certainly, denying such benefits seems to me to be qualitatively different from speech suppression.

    In any event, best of luck in the project.

  2. Alan Jay Weisbard
    March 18, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

    I am Professor Emeritus of Law and Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and have been active in pro-peace efforts compatible with your principles for more than 40 years. I am writing to volunteer to serve on your academic advisory council if space is still available. Alan Jay Weisbard, 608-833-3007,

  3. Dan Verg
    March 19, 2014 at 11:05 pm #

    It’s amazing how many Palestinians signed on for this. My last count showed exactly zero.

  4. March 20, 2014 at 9:35 am #

    My sympathies are with all of you. But though my heart is with you, my head will no longer follow. There comes a point, and that point is problematically identifiable, when one vision of utopia becomes so implausible that its primary effects are to occlude the search for others and enable opposing projects feeding off its theoretical existence, rather than to expand the likelihood of improvement in an increasingly oppressive and increasingly desperate situation. Under current circumstances the campaign for two states requires ignoring or suppressing absolutely key elements in the political landscape. In this regard I note no inclusion within the “third narrative” as presented here of the refugee issue, the right of return, the problem of a shared narrative for 1948, the principle of equality of individual and national rights both within and among political collectivities, the status of lands expropriated within the green line as well as those confiscated across it, and the position and rights of non-Jewish citizens of Israel. When a research program or a political project must condemn most interesting questions to the status of “questions one is not allowed to ask for fear of endangering the paradigm,” it is time for a new paradigm.

    At the very least, raising the banner of the two state solution under current circumstances requires those raising the banner to indicate clearly, not vaguely, the circumstances under which the banner would have to be replaced by another.

  5. Tommyy
    April 1, 2014 at 6:41 am #

    Islam is the problem not Israel and until Islam sanitizes its texts (which is impossible ) you are sadly “Pie in the Sky” operatives who confuse western culture with Islam’s non culture
    so forget pro peace initiatives it can never happen unless all muslims forsake the evil of Islam
    even a two state solution will not work because Islamic Hatred for the Jews (and every other religion) can never abate
    Your hermeneutics are not compatible with Islamic hermeneutics

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