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PACBI-Statement: Over 250 Anthropologists Join Call for a Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

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1 October 2014

Statement: Over 250 Anthropologists Join Call for a Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

More than 250 anthropologists have signed a statement endorsing the burgeoning movement to boycott Israeli academic institutions in protest of Israel’s systematic human rights violations against the Palestinian people. These violations, in which many Israeli educational institutions are complicit, include  denying Palestinians their right to education and academic freedom.

The full statement and signatory list are at

As scholars who specialize in how power, oppression, and structural violence affect social life, and as witnesses to the State of Israel’s multiple and egregious violations of international law that constitute an assault on Palestinian culture and society, they pledge to abide by their discipline’s stated commitment to “the promotion and protection of the right of people and people’s everywhere to the full realization of their humanity.”

These anthropologists have determined that the policies, actions, and programs of Israeli academic institutions are complicit in the occupation and oppression of Palestinians in Israel and in the Occupied Territories in multiple ways. In calling for this institutional boycott, they pledge not to collaborate on projects and events hosted or funded by Israeli academic institutions, not to teach at or attend conferences or other events at such institutions, and not to publish in academic journals based in Israel. They remain open to collaboration with individual scholars based in the Israeli academy.

The signatories of the statement call on their anthropologist colleagues to join them, along with thousands of members of a growing number of US academic associations (including the American Studies Association, the Association for Asian American Studies, and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association), in answering the call from Palestinian civil society as well as from a number of Israeli anthropologists, to cease legitimizing Israeli academic institutions and thereby condoning their role in the continued suppression of the basic rights of the Palestinian people.

Anthropologists interested in signing this statement should visit:, or email their name and affiliation to:

Media Inquiries:

Nadia Abu El Haj                  
212 854 7628

J. Kēhaulani Kauanui                        
860 638 1264

Lisa Rofel

The Statement

We, the undersigned anthropologists, are circulating this petition to voice our opposition to the ongoing Israeli violations of Palestinian rights, including the Israeli military occupation of the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and East Jerusalem, and to boycott Israeli academic institutions that are complicit in these violations.

The recent military assault on the Gaza Strip by Israel is only the latest reminder that the world’s governments and mainstream media do not hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law. As a community of scholars who study problems of power, oppression, and cultural hegemony, we have a moral responsibility to speak out and demand accountability from Israel and our own governments. Acting in solidarity with Palestinian civil society continues a disciplinary tradition of support for anticolonial and human rights struggles, itself an important departure from anthropology’s historical complicity with colonialism. As laid out in the American Anthropological Association (AAA)’s 1999 Declaration on Anthropology and Human Rights, “Anthropology as a profession is committed to the promotion and protection of the right of people and peoples everywhere to the full realization of their humanity…When any culture or society denies or permits the denial of such opportunity to any of its own members or others, the AAA has an ethical responsibility to protest and oppose such deprivation.”

Israel has maintained an illegal siege on the Gaza Strip for seven years, severely restricting the movement of people and goods in and out of the territory.  Palestinians are also being dispossessed of their lands and livelihoods throughout the West Bank, where Israel’s separation barrier curtails Palestinian freedom of movement and education.  These and other ongoing violations will continue unless people around the world act where their governments have failed.

As employees in institutions of higher learning, we have a particular responsibility to oppose Israel’s widespread and systematic violations of the right to higher education of Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line. In recent months, Israeli forces have raided Al Quds University in Jerusalem, the Arab American University in Jenin, and Birzeit University near Ramallah. In this summer’s assault, Israeli aerial bombardment destroyed much of the Islamic University of Gaza. More generally, the Israeli state discriminates against Palestinian students in Israeli universities and it isolates Palestinian academia by, among other tactics, preventing foreign academics from visiting Palestinian institutions in Gaza and the West Bank. We are also alarmed by the long history of confiscations of Palestinian archives and the destruction of libraries and research centers.

Israeli academic institutions are complicit with the occupation and oppression of Palestinians. Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Bar Ilan University, Haifa University, Technion, and Ben Gurion University have publicly declared their unconditional support for the Israeli military.  Furthermore, there are intimate connections between Israeli academic institutions and the military, security, and political establishments in Israel. To take but one example: Tel Aviv University is directly implicated, through its Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), in developing the Dahiya Doctrine, adopted by the Israeli military in its assaults on Lebanon in 2006 and on Gaza this summer. The Dahiya Doctrine advocates the extensive destruction of civilian infrastructure and “intense suffering” among the civilian population as an “effective” means to subdue any resistance.

As anthropologists, we feel compelled to join academics around the world who support the Palestinian call to boycott Israeli academic institutions. This call is part of a long-standing appeal by Palestinian civil society organizations for the comprehensive implementation of boycotts, divestments, and sanctions (BDS) of Israel, and is supported by the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE).

In responding to the Palestinian call, we seek to practice what the AAA calls an “engaged anthropology” that is “committed to supporting social change efforts that arise from the interaction between community goals and anthropological research.” Anthropological research has illuminated the destructive effects of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian society. And the Palestinian community has called for an academic boycott of Israel as a necessary step to ensuring Palestinian rights, including the right to education.

In accordance with these stated principles in support of rights and justice, anthropologists both independently and through the AAA have taken strong stances on a number of issues: apartheid in South Africa, Namibia, and Burundi; violence against civilians in the former Yugoslavia and Pakistan; violence against indigenous and minority populations in Chile, Brazil, and Bulgaria; the use of torture; the Pinochet coup in Chile; and the misuse of anthropological knowledge in the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain System. As an organization, the AAA has also participated in boycotts on several occasions: of the Fulbright-Chile program in 1975; of the State of Illinois in 1999; of the Hilton hotel chain in 2004; of Coca-Cola in 2006; and of the State of Arizona in 2010.

Boycotting Israeli academic institutions is very much in concert with these previous actions. Our decision now to sign on as individuals to the academic boycott represents a concrete and consequential assertion of our commitment as anthropologists to the struggle of the Palestinian people.

Following in the footsteps of the growing number of US academic associations that have endorsed boycott resolutions, we call on our anthropologist colleagues to boycott Israeli academic institutions.  Given that decades of interaction, cooperation and collaboration with Israeli institutions have not produced mutual understanding or stopped the military occupation and its violations, we believe that this boycott is the only non-violent form of pressure that could persuade Israelis to call for – and act for – meaningful change that could lead to a just peace.  Palestinians must be free to attend universities, in Palestine and internationally, in security. They must have a flourishing, inclusive, well-rounded educational experience. They must be free to meet and learn from scholars from all over the world.

We pledge not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions, not to teach at or to attend conferences and other events at such institutions, and not to publish in academic journals based in Israel. We call for doing so until such time as these institutions end their complicity in violating Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law, and respect the full rights of Palestinians by calling on Israel to:

  1. End its siege of Gaza, its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967, and dismantle the settlements and the walls;
  2. Recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and the stateless Negev Bedouins to full equality; and
  3. Respect, protect, and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.


The Undersigned
[list updated October 1, 2014]

  1. Nahla Abdo, Carleton University
  2. Nadia Abu El-Haj, Columbia University
  3. Lila Abu-Lughod, Columbia University
  4. Fida Adely, Georgetown University
  5. Asad Ahmed, Harvard University
  6. Ananthakrishnan Aiyer, University of Michigan-Flint
  7. Nadje Al-Ali, School of Oriental & African Studies
  8. Diana Allan, Cornell University
  9. Lori Allen, School of Oriental & African Studies
  10.   Mark Anderson, UC Santa Cruz
  11.   Walter Armbrust, Oxford University
  12.   Talal Asad, CUNY Graduate Center
  13.   Barbara Aswad, Wayne State University
  14.   Mariam Banahi, Johns Hopkins University
  15.   Lesley Bartlett, University of Wisconsin
  16.   Debbora Battaglia, Mt. Holyoke College
  17.   Joshua Bell
  18.   Hugo Benavides, Fordham University
  19.   Victoria Bernal, UC Irvine
  20.   Tom Boellstorff, UC Irvine
  21.   John Borneman, Princeton University
  22.   Philippe Bourgois, University of Pennsylvania
  23.   Glenn Bowman, University of Kent
  24.   Karen Brodkin, UCLA
  25.   Kevin Caffrey, Harvard University
  26.   Steven Caton, Harvard University
  27.   Jessica Cattelino, UCLA
  28.   Sharad Chari, University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)
  29.   Dawn Chatty, Oxford University
  30.   Nancy N. Chen, UC Santa Cruz
  31.   David Chicoine, Louisiana State University
  32.   Julie Chu, University of Chicago
  33.   Francis Cody, University of Toronto
  34.   Karen Coelho, Madras Institute of Development Studies
  35.   Jean Comaroff, Harvard University
  36.   John Comaroff, Harvard University
  37.   Nicholas Copeland, Virginia Tech
  38.   Jane Cowan, Sussex University
  39.   Rochelle Davis, Georgetown University
  40.   Anouk de Koning, Radboud University Nijmegen
  41.   Marisol de la Cadena, UC Davis
  42.   Erin Debenport, University of New Mexico
  43.   Lara Deeb, Scripps College
  44.   Michael Dietler, University of Chicago
  45.   Chris Dole, Amherst College
  46.   Donald L. Donham, UC Davis
  47.   Narges Erami, Yale University
  48.   Arturo Escobar, UNC Chapel Hill
  49.   Elizabeth Faier, Wayne State University
  50.   Randa Farah, University of Western Ontario
  51.   James C. Faris, University of Connecticut
  52.   Tessa Farmer, Whittier College
  53.   Ilana Feldman, George Washington University
  54.   Mayanthi Fernando, UC Santa Cruz
  55.   Les Field, University of New Mexico
  56.   Rowan Flad, Harvard University
  57.   Andrew Gardner, University of Puget Sound
  58.   Hildred Geertz, Princeton
  59.   Farha Ghannam, Swarthmore
  60.   Lesley Gill, Vanderbilt University
  61.   Gaston Gordillo, University of British Columbia
  62.   Sarah R. Graff, Arizona State University
  63.   Linda Green, University of Arizona
  64.   Steven Gregory, Columbia University
  65.   Nina Gren, Lund University
  66.   Zareena Grewal, Yale University
  67.   Akhil Gupta, UCLA
  68.   Sherine Hafez, UC Riverside
  69.   Ghassan Hage, University of Melbourne
  70.   Sondra Hale, UCLA
  71.   Sherine Hamdy, Brown University
  72.   Rema Hammami, Bir Zeit University
  73.   Abdellah Hammoudi, Princeton University
  74.   Clara Han, Johns Hopkins University
  75.   Richard Handler, University of Virginia
  76.   Jamil Hanifi, Michigan State University
  77.   Deborah Heath, Lewis and Clark
  78.   Mary Hegland, Santa Clara University
  79.   Stefan Helmreich, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  80.   Sarah Hill, Western Michigan University
  81.   Charles Hirschkind, UC Berkeley
  82.   Engseng Ho, Duke University
  83.   Katherine Hoffman, Northwestern University
  84.   Matthew Hull, University of Michigan
  85.   Farhana Ibrahim, IIT Delhi
  86.   Amrita Ibrahim
  87.   Islah Jad, Bir Zeit University
  88.   Barbara Rose Johnston, Center for Political Ecology
  89.   Carla Jones, University of Colorado at Boulder
  90.   Suad Joseph, UC Davis
  91.   Ann M. Kakaliouras, Whittier College
  92.   Vinay Kamat, University of British Columbia
  93.   Rhoda Kanaaneh, Columbia University
  94.   Sohini Kar, London School of Economics
  95.   Kēhaulani Kauanui, Wesleyan University
  96.   Tobias Kelly, Edinburgh University
  97.   Lamya Khalidi, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France)
  98.   Naveeda Khan, Johns Hopkins University
  99.   Eleana Kim, UC Irvine
  100. Laurie King, Georgetown University
  101. Philip L. Kohl, Wellesley College
  102. Dorinne Kondo, University of Southern California
  103. Nikolas Kosmatopoulos, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
  104. Corinne Kratz, Emory University
  105. Petra Kuppinger, Monmouth College
  106. Chris Kuzawa, Northwestern University
  107. Roger Lancaster, George Mason University
  108. Barbara Larson, University of New Hampshire
  109. Richard Borshay Lee, University of Toronto
  110. Winnie Lem, Trent University
  111. Robert Leopold
  112. Krista Lewis, University of Arkansas
  113. Tania Li, University of Toronto
  114. Anders Linde-Laursen, Eastern Michigan University
  115. Ralph Litzinger, Duke University
  116. Margaret Lock, McGill University
  117. Jeffrey C. Long, University of New Mexico
  118. Catherine Lutz, Brown University
  119. Sarah Lyon, University of Kentucky
  120. Peter Magee, Bryn Mawr
  121. Pardis Mahdavi, Pomona College
  122. Saba Mahmood, UC Berkeley
  123. Lilith Mahmud, UC Irvine
  124. Sunaina Maira, UC Davis
  125. Martin F. Manalansan IV, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  126. Paul Manning, Trent University
  127. Setrag Manoukian, McGill University
  128. Joe Masco, University of Chicago
  129. Kathryn Mathers, Northwestern University
  130. Lorand Matory, Duke University
  131. William Mazzarella, University of Chicago
  132. Carlota McAllister, York University
  133. David McMurray, Oregon State University
  134. Anne Meneley, Trent University
  135. Kalyani Menon, DePaul University
  136. Sofian Merabet, UT Austin
  137. Brinkley Messick, Columbia University
  138. Laurence Michalak, UC Berkeley
  139. Flagg Miller, UC Davis
  140. Ziba Mir-Hosseini, School of Oriental & African Studies
  141. Amira Mittermaier, University of Toronto
  142. Lamia Moghnieh, University of Michigan
  143. Annelies Moors, University of Amsterdam
  144. Viranjini Munasinghe, Cornell University
  145. Martha Mundy, London School of Economics
  146. Donna Murdock, University of the South
  147. Nadine Naber, University of Illinois at Chicago
  148. Diane M. Nelson, Duke University
  149. Jan Nespor, Ohio State University
  150. Fari Nzinga, New Orleans Museum of Art
  151. Michelle Obeid, Manchester University
  152. Marcia Ochoa, UC Santa Cruz
  153. Aihwa Ong, UC Berkeley 
  154. Sherry Ortner, UCLA
  155. Arzoo Osanloo, University of Washington
  156. Esra Özyürek, London School of Economics
  157. Mark Padilla, Florida International University
  158. Stefania Pandolfo, UC Berkeley
  159. Ayşe Parla, Sabancı University
  160. Heather Paxson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  161. Michael G. Peletz, Emory University
  162. Michael Perez, University of Washington
  163. Julie Peteet, University of Louisville
  164. Mark Peterson, Miami University, Ohio
  165. Deborah Poole, Johns Hopkins University
  166. Elliot Prasse-Freeman, Yale University
  167. David H. Price, Saint Martin’s University
  168. Nicolas Puig, Institut de recherche pour le développement
  169. James Quesada, San Francisco State University
  170. Lucinda Ramberg, Cornell University
  171. Junaid Rana, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  172. Vyjayanthi V. Rao, New School for Social Research
  173. Anupama Rao, Columbia University
  174. Amal Rassam, CUNY Queens College
  175. Gayatri Reddy, University of Illinois at Chicago
  176. François Richard, University of Chicago
  177. Mubbashir Rizvi, Georgetown University
  178. Lisa Rofel, UC Santa Cruz
  179. Kaifa Roland, University of Colorado
  180. Danilyn Rutherford, UC Santa Cruz
  181. Moain Sadeq, Qatar University
  182. Christa Salamandra, Lehman College CUNY
  183. Ruba Saleh, School of Oriental & African Studies
  184. Elaine Salo, University of Delaware
  185. Aseel Sawalha, Fordham University
  186. Rosemary Sayigh
  187. Kirsten Scheid, American University of Beirut
  188. Samuli Schielke, Zentrum Moderner Orient (Berlin)
  189. Daniel Segal, Pitzer College
  190. Noa Shaindlinger, University of Toronto
  191. Sima Shakhsari, Wellesley College
  192. Seteney Shami, Arab Council for the Social Sciences
  193. Shalini Shankar, Northwestern University
  194. Jonathan Shannon, Hunter College
  195. Aradhana Sharma, Wesleyan University
  196. Kim Shively, Kutztown University
  197. David Shorter, UCLA
  198. Gerald Sider, CUNY Graduate Center
  199. Audra Simpson, Columbia University
  200. Susan Slyomovics, UCLA
  201. Llyn Smith, Humboldt State University
  202. Gavin Smith, University of Toronto
  203. Claudio Sopranzetti, Oxford University
  204. Emilio Spadola, Colgate University
  205. Judith Stevenson, CSU Long Beach
  206. Ann Laura Stoler, New School for Social Research
  207. Ian Straughn, Brown University
  208. Ajantha Subramanian, Harvard University
  209. Mayssun Succarie, Brown University
  210. Richard Tapper, School of Oriental & African Studies
  211. Mick Taussig, Columbia University
  212. Lucien Taylor, Harvard University
  213. Susan Terrio, Georgetown University
  214. Sitara Thobani, Oxford University
  215. Miriam Ticktin, New School for Social Research
  216. Anna Tsing, UC Santa Cruz
  217. Gina Ulysse, Wesleyan University
  218. Gary Urton, Harvard University
  219. Bregje van Eekelen, Erasmus University
  220. Kamala Visweswaran, UT Austin
  221. Neha Vora, Lafayette College
  222. Christine Walley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  223. Shannon Walsh, City University of Hong Kong
  224. Margot Weiss, Wesleyan University
  225. Harvey Weiss, Yale University
  226. Paige West, Columbia University
  227. Mark Westmoreland, Stockholm University
  228. Livia Wick, American University of Beirut
  229. Jessica Winegar, Northwestern University
  230. Lisa Wynn, Macquarie University
  231. Angela Zito, New York University

In addition, 46 scholars have elected to sign this statement anonymously

These include at least:

  • 30 untenured faculty
  • 5 post-doctoral fellows
  • 5 graduate students 

To sign this statment, click

You can also join by sending your name and affiliation (for purposes of identification only) to anthroboycott [at] gmail [dot] com.

If you wish to sign anonymously, please write “CONFIDENTIAL” in the subject line of your email.

Posted on 02-10-2014

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