Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic institutions works in support of justice and human rights in Israel/Palestine.
Our organizers and supporters are scholars working in all major sub-fields of the discipline, including tenure-track and adjunct faculty, graduate students, post-docs, and practitioners.
The campaign is managed by an organizing collective, whose members include:
Diana Allan, McGill University
Lori Allen, SOAS
Lara Deeb, Scripps College
Chris Dole, Amherst College
Sami Hermez, Northwestern University-Qatar
Darryl Li, University of Chicago
Lisa Rofel, University of California, Santa Cruz
Jonah Rubin, Knox College
Dan Segal, Pitzer College
Ajantha Subramanian, Harvard University
Jessica Winegar, Northwestern University
For media and other queries, write to anthroboycott [at] gmail dot com.
* Institutions listed for identification purposes only
The resolution before us today is not the first time that the American Anthropological Association has considered the question of our ethical and political responsibility to our Palestinian colleagues. A three-year process of education and engagement began with panels at the AAA in 2013 and culminated in a vote by the membership in spring 2016. Over the course of several annual meetings, numerous panels and roundtables took up the questions of conditions on the ground in Palestine, the denial of academic freedom to Palestinians by Israel, and the complicity of Israeli academic institutions in this denial of rights and freedoms.
More than 1,000 anthropologists signed the statement of Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions pledging support for the boycott.
Seeking to preempt the process of learning and engagement that boycott supporters were engaging in, opponents of the boycott put forth an anti-boycott motion at the 2014 AAA business meeting. The historically well attended meeting (until the next year that is) resoundingly rejected this motion.
Responding to the boycott petition, and recognizing the deep concern of the membership, the AAA organized discussions on these questions and formed a Task Force on American Anthropological Association (AAA) Engagement on Israel/Palestine. After undertaking rigorous research, including 120 interviews, a trip to Israel/Palestine, significant background reading, the Task Force unanimously concluded that “there is a strong case for the Association to take action on this issue, and that the Association should do so.”
At the 2015 AAA meeting, more than 1500 people attended the business meeting and voted on two resolutions. One, a countermotion that rejected the boycott of Israeli academic institutions (and any use of boycott as a political tactic) with the claim to offer “dialogue” as an alternative course of action, was overwhelmingly rejected (196-1173). The membership recognized the motion for what it was: a call for inaction and support of the status-quo under the guise of “moderate” action. The resolution calling on the AAA to endorse and implement the boycott of Israeli academic institutions passed by a remarkable margin of 1,040 votes in favor to 136 against.
Nearly half of the AAA membership participated in the final ratification vote, which was defeated by an incredibly narrow 39 vote margin.
In the ensuing years, the “significant limitations on academic freedom [that] have led to substantial deprivations in the health and welfare of Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, as well as within Israel itself” described by the AAA Task Force have only grown more severe.
For information about the previous campaign of 2014-2016, please find our archived website here.