Over 500 anthropologists join academic boycott of Israel

28th Nov 2014

Elham Asaad Buaras

More than 500 anthropologists, have joined an academic boycott of Israel, with another 77 joining anonymously it has been announced earlier this month. The Washington Post reported that the individuals joined a boycott by the American Studies Association, the oldest and largest group devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history.

The American Anthropological Association is to debate a boycott resolution in December.

The statement says that the signatories oppose “the ongoing Israeli violations of Palestinian rights, including the Israeli military occupation of the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and East Jerusalem,” and are boycotting “Israeli academic institutions that are complicit in these violations.”

Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, its bombardment of the Gaza Strip, is “only the latest reminder that the world’s governments and mainstream media do not hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law,” the statement says.

The signatories said that by “acting in solidarity with Palestinian civil society,” they continue “a disciplinary tradition of support for anticolonial and human-rights struggles, itself an important departure from anthropology’s historical complicity with colonialism.”

They said they won’t “collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions,” teach at or attend conferences at those institutions, and publish in academic journals based in Israel.

They called on Israel to “end the siege of Gaza,” end its occupation of Arab land taken in the 1967 Six Day War and dismantle the settlements and walls.

The signatories also demanded that Israel recognise “the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and the stateless Negev Bedouins to full equality; and respect, protect, and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.”

Meanwhile, more than 250 anthropologists signed another petition endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to boycott Israeli academic institutions in protest at Israel’s systematic human rights violations against the Palestinians.

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