U.S. philosopher Judith Butler smiles before she received the Theodor-W.-Adorno award
U.S. philosopher Judith Butler smiles before she received the Theodor W. Adorno award of the city of Frankfurt, central Germany, Sept. 11, 2012. Photo by AP
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Whether one is for or against Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) as a means to change the current situation in Palestine-Israel, it is important to recognize that boycotts are internationally affirmed and constitutionally protected forms of political expression. As non-violent instruments to effect political change, boycotts cannot be outlawed without trampling on a constitutionally protected right to political speech. Those who support boycotts ought not to become subject to retaliation, surveillance, or censorship when they choose to express their political viewpoint, no matter how offensive that may be to those who disagree.

We are now witnessing accelerating efforts to curtail speech, to exercise censorship, and to carry out retaliatory action against individuals on the basis of their political views or associations, notably support for BDS. We ask cultural and educational institutions to have the courage and the principle to stand for, and safeguard, the very principles of free expression and the free exchange of ideas that make those institutions possible. This means refusing to accede to bullying, intimidation, and threats aimed at silencing speakers because of their actual or perceived political views. It also means refusing to impose a political litmus test on speakers and artists when they are invited to speak or show their work. We ask that educational and cultural institutions recommit themselves to upholding principles of open debate, and to remain venues for staging expressions of an array of views, including controversial ones. Only by refusing to become vehicles for censorship and slander, and rejecting blacklisting, intimidation, and discrimination against certain viewpoints, can these institutions live up to their purpose as centers of learning and culture.

Judith Butler
Professor of Comparative Literature, UC Berkeley

Rashid Khalidi
Edward Said Professor in Modern Arab Studies, Columbia University


Etienne Balibar
Emeritus Professor, Paris-Nanterre

Natalie Zemon Davis
Professor of History

Deborah Eisenberg
Writer

Eve Ensler
Playwright/Activist

Samera Esmeir
Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley

Khaled Fahmy
Professor, The American University in Cairo

Katherine Franke
Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Columbia Law School

Paul Gilroy
London

Naomi Klein
Author and Journalist

Jacqueline Rose
Professor of English, Queen Mary University of London

Mariam C Said
Individual

Joan W Scott
Institute for Advanced Study

Professor Lynne Segal
University of London

Wallace Shawn
Writer

Lila Abu-Lughod
Columbia University

Sara Ahmed
Goldsmiths, University of London

Udi Aloni
Filmmaker and writer

Richard Appelbaum
MacArthur Foundation Chair, Global & International Studies, UCSB

Elsa Auerbach
Professor Emerita, UMass Boston

Lisa Baraitser
Birkbeck, University of London

Yael Bartana
Artist

Rosalyn Baxandall
SUNY Old Westbury Distinguished Prof Emeritus

Joel Beinin
Donald J McLachlan Professor of History, Stanford Univerrsity

Emanuela Bianchi
New York University

Omri Boehm
New School for Social Research, Assistant Professor

John Borneman
Princeton University

Nicolas Bousserez
Research Associate, University of Colorado at Boulder

Sarah Bracke
Harvard Divinity School

Naomi Braine
Brooklyn College

Laurie A. Brand
University of Southern California

Renate Bridenthal
Professor, retired from CUNY

Wendy Brown
UC Berkeley

Shale Brownstein
Retired psychiatrist HHC

Susan Buck-Morss
Distinguished Professor, CUNY Graduate Center

Eduardo Cadava
Princeton University

Margaret Cerullo
Hampshire College

Sally Charnow
Hofstra University, Professor of History

Alexandra Chasin
New School for Social Research

Eric Cheyfitz
Professor, Cornell University

Kandice Chuh
Professor of English, CUNY Graduate Center

Ilene Cohen
Editor

Elliott Colla
Georgetown University

Christopher Connery
Professor, University of California Santa Cruz

Stuart Davis
Cornell University

Walt Davis
Retired minister/professor

Ashley Dawson
Professor, English Department, CUNY

Colin Dayan
Vanderbilt University

Brett de Bary
Professor, Asian Studies and Comparative Literature, Cornell University

Beshara Doumani
Professor of History, Brown University

Lisa Duggan
Professor, New York University

Nancy du Plessis
Artist

David Eng
University of Pennsylvania

Darlene Evans
Cornell University

Sara Farris
Assistant Professor, Goldsmiths, University of London

Leila Farsakh
Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston

Pnina Feiler
Physicians for Human Rights

Kathy E. Ferguson
Professor, Departments of Political Science and Women's Studies, University of Hawai'i

Elle Flanders
Filmmaker

Jeff Fort
University of California, Davis

Cynthia Franklin
Professor of English, University of Hawaii

Carla Freccero
Professor

Jamie Fuller
Artist

Jennifer Gaboury
Hunter College, CUNY

Ellen Gruber Garvey
Ph.D.

Michael Gilsenan
Prof. Michael Gilsenan

Neve Gordon

Samira Haj
Professor

Lisa Hajjar
Professor of Sociology, University of CA-Santa Barbara

J. Halberstam
Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, USC

Sondra Hale
Research Professor, University of California, Los Angeles

Abdellah Hammoudi
Professor , Princeton University

Beth Harris
Associate Professor, Ithaca College

Professor Emerita, Princeton University

Salah D. Hassan
Associate Professor, MSU

Gail Hershatter
University of California, Santa Cruz

Neil Hertz
Johns Hopkins University

Marianne Hirsch
Professor, Columbia University

Andrew Hsiao
Verso Books

Elizabeth Ingenthron
Graduate Theological Union

Margo Jefferson
Writer

Joseph Jeon
Pomona College

Jeanette Jouili
College of Charleston

Moon-Kie Jung
University of Illinois

Ann Jungman
Writer

Amy Kaplan
University of Pennsylvania

Carolyn L. Karcher
Professor Emerita, Temple University

Suvir Kaul
A M Rosenthal Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Elizabeth Kendall
Associate Professor, New School

Arang Keshavarzian
Faculty member, New York University

Dr. Gail Lewis
Reader in Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck College

Risa Lieberwitz
Professor, Cornell University

Audrea Lim
Verso Books

David Lloyd
University of California, Riverside

Zachary Lockman
New York University

Ania Loomba
Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Miriam R. Lowi
Professor, The College of New Jersey

Sandra R Mackie
Reverend

Saba Mahmood
UC Berkeley, Associate Professor

Harriet Malinowitz
Professor of English, Long Island University, Brooklyn

Curtis Marez
Associate Professor, University of California, San Diego

Mario Martone
Cornell University

Barry Maxwell
Senior Lecturer, Cornell University

Rela Mazali
Author & Independent Scholar

Jeffrey Menlick
University of Massachusetts Boston

Brinkley Messick
Columbia University

Jennifer Miller
Circus Amok, Director

University of Southern California

Susette Min
University of California, Davis

Chandra Talpade Mohanty
Syracuse University

Aurora Levins Morales
Writer

Fred Moten
University of California, Riverside

Yasser Munif
Emerson College

Tad Mutersbaugh
Professor of Geography, University of Kentucky

Chiara Nappi

Manijeh Nasrabadi
New York University

David Palumbo-Liu
Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor, Stanford

Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert
Professor, Vassar College

Rosalind Petchesky
Distinguished Professor Emerita, Hunter College & the Graduate Center CUNY

Silvia Posocco
Birkbeck, University of London

Vijay Prashad
Trinity College

Sara Pursley
Associate Editor, International Journal of Middle East Studies

Bruce Robbins
Columbia University

Corey Robin
Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center

Andrew Ross
New York University

Dr. Catherine Rottenberg

John Carlos Rowe

Rachel Rubin
Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston

Leticia Sabsay
Birkbeck College, Univeristy of London

Neil Saccamano
Cornell University

Ilan Safit
Dept. of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Pace University

Josefina Saldaña
Professor, New York University

Paul Sawyer
Cornell University

James Schamus
Columbia University

C. Heike Schotten
Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts Boston

Sarah Schulman
Distinguished Professor of the Humanities CUNY College of Staten Island

Sherene Seikaly
Director of Middle East Studies Center, American University in Cairo

Karen Shimakawa
Associate Professor

Lincoln Shlensky
University of Victoria

Marc Siegel
Ast. Professor, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany

Victor Silverman
Chair, Department of History, Pomona College

David Simpson
U of California-Davis

Jeffrey Skoller
Professor, UC Berkeley

Darryl A. Smith
Associate Professor, Pomona College

Alisa Solomon
Professor, Columbia University

Dov Waxman
Professor

Robert Warrior
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Kathy Wazana
Documentary filmmaker

Max Weiss
Princeton University

Laura Wernick
Fordham University

Lisa Westarp
Grace Memorial Episcopal Church

John M. Willis
Assistant Professor, University of Colorado

Dagmawi Woubshet
Cornell University, Associate Professor

Rachel Zolf
Writer