More Than 500 Anthropologists Join Academic Boycott of Israel

Academics say they oppose Israel's `violations of Palestinian rights' and are boycotting `Israeli academic institutions that are complicit.'

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A protester holds a sign that reads 'Boycott Israel' during a protest in Berlin against the Israel-Gaza war, August 1, 2014.
A protester holds a sign that reads 'Boycott Israel' during a protest in Berlin against the Israel-Gaza war, August 1, 2014.Credit: Reuters

More than 500 anthropologists, including some from top U.S. universities, have publicly joined an academic boycott of Israel, with another 77 joining anonymously.

The Washington Post reported that the individuals joined a boycott announced in February by the American Studies Association, the oldest and largest group devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history.

The people signed on to the boycott as individuals, the Post reported, adding that 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 seven-week conflict with Hamas militants in 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 recognize "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."