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October 16 Statement

The AnthroBoycott Collective stands for safety, justice, equality, and freedom for all people and calls on the US government to stop the imminent genocide of Palestinians. 

We mourn the many Palestinian and Israeli lives already taken. At this critical moment, we call for the protection of life from further devastating violence. We call on members of the AAA and all scholars to pressure their elected representatives to end Israel's war on Palestinians in Gaza. 

Israel is currently enacting brutal collective punishment of 2.3 million Palestinians in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip, cutting off electricity and denying people access to food, drinking water, electricity, fuel, and communication with the world. Israel is bombarding Gaza amidst open calls for war crimes and genocide coming from the Israeli state and military leaders. Lethal violence against Palestinians and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian villages in the West Bank are also escalating. Politicians around the world, including many of our own representatives, are enabling this brutality through statements of unconditional support of Israel and through massive shipments of weapons.

As faculty and students based in North America and Europe, it is imperative that we raise our voices and urge our universities and academic associations to speak out for full Palestinian rights and demand that our governments cease arming Israel and sanctioning its genocidal violence against Palestinians in Gaza. 

This is above all a time to act against an impending genocide, as well as a time for us as anthropologists, students, and educators to teach and learn. Corporate media in the U.S. and Europe overwhelmingly supports its own colonial and settler-colonial perspectives, and participates in the racialized dehumanization of Palestinians.

It is critical to pay attention to the history and context of what is happening in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel. No one can be safe until occupation, siege, and injustice end. Below are some links to credible sources to help you understand:


1- Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Israel’s 75-year settler-colonial system across historic Palestine

2- Israel’s Apartheid Regime: Israel’s apartheid regime that numerous legal scholars and human rights organizations have documented and named as such

3- Settler Violence: the rising levels of violence that Israeli settlers, emboldened by their far-right government, use to terrorize Palestinians forcing them to leave their homes and lands

4- Calls for Ethnic Cleansing: the increasingly bold calls and actions on the ground by Israel’s fascistic government for the ethnic cleansing of the rest of Palestine

5- Israel's Permit Regime: the system of military dictatorship that controls every aspect of Palestinian movement in the occupied territory

6- Israel’s Permanent Siege of Gaza and Humanitarian Impact: the stifling 16-year siege of the Gaza Strip that has drastically reduced Palestinians’ life chances on every measure;

7- Hamas, Armed Struggle, and Resistance in Gaza: the history of Palestinian resistance in Gaza and the emergence of Hamas

8- Prisoners: Israel’s arbitrary deprivation of Palestinians’ liberty, and the steadily deteriorating conditions of Palestinian political prisoners held in Israel jails

9- Refugees and The Great March of Return: refugees’ inability to return to their homes, noting that a large majority of people in Gaza are refugees dispossessed of their lands in 1948

10- International Law: the unwillingness of the international community to hold Israel to account or uphold internationally agreed norms and law

11- Jewish organizations, media outlets, and experts on genocide calling to stop the genocide

12- Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS): what you can do to support Palestinian freedom, justice, and equality through BDS

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Vote Yes Now  (July 3, 2023)

Have you voted on the proposed boycott resolution yet?

Join the Association of Black Anthropologists, Middle East Section, and the boards of the Association for Feminist Anthropology, Association of Latina/o and Latinx Anthropologists, and Critical Urban Anthropology Association in expressing your solidarity with our Palestinian colleagues by supporting the boycott resolution. 

Vote “Yes, Adopt the resolution as presented” on the ballot to boycott Israeli academic institutions! 

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Stand Against Colonial Violence  (June 29, 2023)

What does it mean to support the boycott of Israeli academic institutions while working and living in another settler-colonial state? Along with our Palestinian colleagues who are calling for this boycott, we stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples around the world, and understand their struggles as interconnected in both ideological and material ways.

There are many parallels between Israeli and U.S settler colonial tactics. As J. Kēhaulani Kauanui—a Kānaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) scholar of sovereignty, settler colonialism, and decolonization—points out in this powerful piece, “Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians is modeled on the U.S. violence against Native Americans, especially with regard to frontier-era wars of aggression, expulsion and forced removal. This was recognizable to the council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), which issued a declaration in support for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions in 2014.”

Many anthropologists today speak of decolonizing our discipline. Decolonization requires attention to Indigenous sovereignty and land dispossession around the world. In different locations, it demands a variety of strategies. Kauanui writes that “Anthropologists can and should stand against colonial violence in all of its forms,” and suggests two concrete ways to do so: support the land back movement that addresses dispossession of Indigenous peoples in the U.S.; and support the academic boycott of Israeli institutions that addresses the dispossession of Palestinians.

Kauanui concludes, “When we take a principled stance against all modes of oppression, we cultivate the ethical consistency that is part of the work of anti-normalization ‘at home.’ At the same time, we can respond to the urgent call from Palestinian civil society to stand in solidarity with those facing immediate genocidal dispossession. Voting for the AAA resolution in support of academic boycott is one small gesture in responding to that call; it is the least we can do.”

For more information, visit and check out our primer “Ten Reasons to Vote for Boycott.”

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Association of Black Anthropologists endorses the boycott   (June 23, 2023)

Rejecting “the colonial inclination to speak for oppressed peoples,” and “respecting that…Palestinian civil societies know what will be most useful in their struggle toward liberation,” the Association of Black Anthropologists has endorsed the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

Please join them and vote YES now on the proposed boycott resolution before the American Anthropological Association!

As the Association of Black Anthropologists’ statement explains, there are “striking similarities between the Netanyahu government’s abhorrent treatment of Palestinians and Arabs on one hand and the South African National Party’s institution of apartheid against Black Africans writ large.”

Opponents have labeled this vote “divisive.” But the fight against apartheid in South Africa was divisive, too. “We Shouldn’t Fear Being ‘Divisive’ in Pursuit of Justice,” as Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement, reminds us in a new piece in The Nation. “Demanding justice and resisting injustice have always been, by definition, controversial, but they’ve also always been ethically necessary.” He notes that both the Black Lives Matter movement and “authoritative calls for freedom, justice, and unmitigated equality voiced by Indigenous nations have often been suppressed, demonized, or plainly dismissed as ‘divisive’... by colonial authorities and…those in the West invested in maintaining or justifying colonial systems of oppression.”

Challenging the idea that divisiveness is a reason to refuse to take a stand, Barghouti concludes that “there are compelling cases that demand righting an ethically indefensible wrong where divisiveness is not merely acceptable but also ethically necessary.” Standing in solidarity with our Palestinian colleagues by voting yes for boycott is one of those cases.

For more information, visit and check out our primer “Ten Reasons to Vote for Boycott.”

If you can’t find your ballot, first check your spam folder for an email with the subject “Voting Opens on the Referendum…,” then check that your AAA membership is current. If it is, and you still can’t find your ballot, please email

If it isn’t, and you can afford to do so, please renew your membership, ideally by July 4, so you can vote!

Take the ethically necessary stand and vote “Yes, Adopt the resolution as presented” on the ballot to boycott Israeli academic institutions!

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The Power of Boycott   (June 12, 2023)

An academic boycott is a powerful act that provides hope and offers solidarity to Palestinians. It supports them in their struggle and is a way to resist Israeli apartheid.

This boycott responds to the call from our Palestinian colleagues who struggle under Israeli military occupation and settler colonialism. The letter from the Federation of Unions of Palestinian Universities Professors and Employees explains how this vote will help them and why they are asking us to take this action. They write: “This is a specific call from the oppressed Indigenous community not to collaborate with the oppressor’s institutions precisely because of their active collusion in the system of our dispossession.” 

As anthropologists, we recognize that answering a Palestinian call for action will have tangible effects. The Israeli government has labelled the BDS movement a strategic threat, alongside Iran—a clear indication of the boycott’s power as a tool of political leverage. Vocal opponents of the AAA’s upcoming vote understand the power of boycott; their questioning and belittling of its usefulness only reaffirms its relevance. Calls to support Palestinian scholars are welcome, and should accompany this boycott, not replace it.

If the AAA, an association of around 11,000 members, endorses this boycott, it will join institutions including the Middle East Studies Association, American Studies Association, National Women’s Studies Association, Association for Asian American Studies, and Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. Building together, we will motivate other associations and groups to join this urgent struggle for Palestinian rights. This is what solidarity looks like.

Vote for academic boycott starting on June 15!

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Middle East Scholars Endorse Boycott   (May 30, 2023)

Anthropologists and other scholars whose research is focused on Palestine and the broader Middle East overwhelmingly support the Palestinian call to boycott Israeli academic institutions.

In June 2021, 93.5% of members of the Middle East Section of the AAA voted in favor of a resolution boycotting Israeli academic institutions. These anthropologists of the Middle East were joined by their area studies colleagues across disciplines in March 2022, when 82% of voting members of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) ratified a resolution endorsing the Palestinian call for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions of Israel, including an academic boycott. Similar to the resolution on which AAA members will vote on June 15, the MESA resolution “calls for an academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions for their complicity in Israel’s violations of human rights and international law through their provision of direct assistance to the military and intelligence establishments.” 

The vast majority of Middle East experts in these major professional associations endorse the Palestinian call for an academic boycott because they understand that it is the best tool we as scholars have at this time to fight the gross injustices our Palestinian colleagues face. They understand boycott as a way to stand in solidarity with Palestinian scholars whose academic freedom is regularly violated by the Israeli state. Voting for boycott is a way to hold the Israeli state accountable for its ongoing violations of human rights.

Our colleagues in Middle East Studies, including anthropologists of the region, understand that a vote to boycott is a vote for justice and a stance against ongoing

settler-colonialism, apartheid, and systemic racism.

Anthropologists and the AAA share these social justice values. It is time for us to affirm these commitments and endorse the boycott as well.

Look for a ballot from the AAA in your inbox on June 15 and vote “yes.”

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Israeli Academics Make a Case for the Boycott   (May 24, 2023)

The Palestinian civil society’s call to boycott Israeli universities is an appeal to hold these institutions accountable. Israeli universities are complicit in Israel’s violation of Palestinians’ inalienable rights. Principled Israelis have joined the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Israeli academics, such as historian Ilan Pappe and political scientist Neve Gordon, have shown why the academic boycott is both effective and warranted. In a letter backing the current AAA resolution, Israeli scholars wrote: “we recognize our obligation to stand with Palestinians as they call for international intervention until Israel recognizes their rights and complies with international law.”

These scholars know first hand that on Israeli campuses, academic freedom is under siege. University administrations repress faculty research and student expression critical of Israeli settler-colonialism and apartheid. Palestinian students have faced escalating suppression, interrogations, and violent arrests by campus security as well as by Israeli security forces. 

Palestinian universities have been increasingly isolated by Israeli policies limiting their international collaboration and exchanges. Palestinian students face Israeli military interrogations, torture, and administrative detention. As of the 2022-2023 academic year, there are at least 70 Palestinian university students who are

political prisoners in Israeli military prisons. Israeli academia actively sustains this oppression. Israeli universities maintain the occupation of Palestinian territory by offering tailored academic degree programs to train Israeli soldiers, and the Israeli police and secret police, forces whose daily work violates Palestinian human rights and international law. The academic boycott of Israeli universities seeks to address these injustices.

Join Palestinians and their Israeli supporters to guarantee academic freedom for all. Vote YES on June 15.

To hear directly from Palestinian scholars discussing what our vote would mean for them, tune into our webinar on May 31, at 11:00 AM-12:00

PM EST (8:00-9:00 AM PST) at 

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An Ongoing Catastrophe in Palestine   (May 15, 2023)

May 15 marks the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, when close to a million Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their homes and lands, and 530 villages were destroyed. What began in 1948 is far from over. Israeli policies of siege, land confiscations, settlement building, mass eviction, demolition of schools and homes have only accelerated in recent years, forming part of a carefully implemented state project of de-Arabization and apartheid. The forced relocation of Palestinian Bedouins from the Negev, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, and the seasonal bombardment of Gaza are but three fronts in what Palestinians call their “ongoing Nakba.”

Cultural destruction and settler colonialism on this scale should have a claim on the moral imagination of anthropologists. The first AAA boycott resolution in 2016 fell short of passing by a hair’s breadth. During the seven years since, the plight of Palestinians living under Israeli settler-colonial rule has only become more urgent.

Last year was the deadliest for West Bank Palestinians in nearly two decades, with 146 killed, more than half under the age of 25. The recent death of a hunger striker has brought into focus the plight of Palestinians held in administrative detention without charge and trial, including growing numbers of children, some as young as twelve. The hard limits of Palestinian freedom of expression were revealed when Israeli forces gunned down veteran Al Jazeera journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, in May 2022, and raided the offices of six Palestinian NGOs a few months later. One of these NGOs, Bisan, is a research center led by a scholar at Birzeit University. As academics and members of the international community, we must heed the Palestinian call to pressure the Israeli state to end over 75 years of Palestinian dispossession.

Be on the right side of history, and stand with Palestinian human rights by voting “yes” on June 15th.

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A Vote for Boycott Supports Academic Freedom For All   (May 9, 2023)

Supporting academic freedom is ever more urgent, as conditions of academic life deteriorate globally. A vote for the academic boycott of Israeli institutions is a vote in support of academic freedom for all. Supporting academic freedom doesn’t mean much if we don’t support it for every academic—including our Palestinian colleagues.

And Palestinian colleagues face extreme restrictions on their academic freedom every single day, with the complicity of Israeli universities. 

As the Federation of Unions of Palestinian University Professors and Employees confirmed in a letter to the AAA on 4 May 2023: “Israeli universities work in the service of the Israeli government for the development of the policies, technology, doctrines, and justifications for Israel’s rampant and ongoing colonial oppression of Palestinians.” Palestinian universities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are subject to closures and raids by the Israeli military, and the abduction and torture of students and faculty is a regular occurrence. 

In 2022, the Israeli military government instituted a new policy to further isolate and control Palestinian universities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, by determining which students, researchers, and faculty will be permitted to join Palestinian institutions. This new policy has been condemned by Human Rights Watch as a violation of international law, as well as by several academic associations. The Middle East Studies Association’s Committee on Academic Freedom condemned it “as an attack on the Palestinians’ right to education.” In their call for colleagues to oppose this policy, members of Insaniyyat, the Society of Palestinian Anthropologists, explain that “the regulations will exacerbate the already besieged status of Palestinian higher education, further legitimize its de facto international isolation, while divesting it of the ability to exercise basic decisions that are a fundamental condition for academic freedom.”

By voting to endorse the boycott, anthropologists are standing up for Palestinian academic freedom. Voting for boycott is defending the right to academic freedom for all.

Look for a ballot from the AAA in your inbox on June 15 and vote “yes.”

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Why Boycott Israeli Academic Institutions Now?   (May 2, 2023)

There are times when academic boycotts are necessary. This is one of those times.

Our Palestinian colleagues, who have called on us to stand in solidarity with them by supporting this academic boycott, regularly contend with Israeli military raids on their campuses, systematic impediments to their ability to travel (including to international conferences), and severe restrictions on bringing visiting faculty. These policies are consistent with a system of apartheid.

Mainstream human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations, have found Israel to be committing apartheid, a crime against humanity. 

Many academic associations and universities in the United States took part in the international boycott against universities in apartheid South Africa. Then, as now, an academic boycott of institutions is a vital and effective tool for social change. This is a boycott of academic institutions, not of individuals. It aims to create conditions in which true academic freedom is enjoyed by all scholars in Palestine/Israel equally, regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity.

We have resources to help you think through these issues. Thea Abu El-Haj and Fida Adely’s “Violating the Right to Education for Palestinians” and Dina Omar’s “We Are All Uncomfortable” are good starting points. We have also collected a range of materials to help AAA members understand how such a resolution would affect our association and our relationships with colleagues and institutions in Israel.

Look for a ballot from the AAA in your inbox on June 15 and vote “yes.” 

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AAA Resolution a “Message of Hope"   (April 20, 2023)

A Message to Anthropologists from our Palestinian Colleagues

In a couple of months (June 15-July 14), you will be voting on whether the American Anthropological Association should adopt a boycott resolution in support of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. 

We Must Vote for the Resolution

Voting in favor of boycott means you have listened to Palestinian civil society, including Palestinian academics, who have called for the boycott of institutions complicit in Israeli apartheid and violations of international law. In his moving essay, Palestinian anthropologist Rami Salameh explains why a vote for boycott is a “message of hope” and a lifeline for “a promise of justice.” Voting in favor of the boycott means you have heeded what Rami and his colleagues are requesting: a show of solidarity and a refusal of systemic Israeli violence and oppression.

Learn More and Act

Our Palestinian colleagues’ call for BDS is one reason to vote in favor of the AAA’s academic boycott of Israeli institutions. If you’d like to read more about why this boycott is necessary, effective, and important, please visit our website: Read what your colleagues who are knowledgeable about the situation have to say. 

The time for action is now! 

Look for a ballot from the AAA in your inbox on June 15 and vote “yes.” 

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Vote Scheduled for June 15-July 14

Responding to the petition members submitted on March 3, the American Anthropological Association has scheduled a vote on the boycott of Israeli academic institutions from June 15-July 14

Make sure your AAA membership is active and watch your email for information about how to vote.

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