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U.S. anthropologists vote to boycott Israeli academia

American Anthropological Association votes resoundingly to sever all ties with Israeli academic institutions, as a response to Israel’s ‘widespread, systematic, and ongoing violations of Palestinian rights.’

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) overwhelmingly passed a resolution to support the boycott of Israeli academic institutions during its annual business meeting on Friday. The resolution will go into effect only if it is approved by a final vote of all association members sometime in the coming months.

With over 10,000 members, AAA is by far the largest academic association in the United States to endorse the boycott at an annual meeting.

The resolution, which was resoundingly approved by a vote of 1040-136, will sever all ties between the AAA and Israeli academic institutions, although Israeli academics will be able to take part in events organized by the association. Moreover, every member of the AAA will be able to decide for her or himself whether or not to implement the decision in their work.

According to a statement by “Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions,” a group actively involved in supporting the resolution over the past few years, the “historic result” is a response to Israel’s “widespread, systematic, and ongoing violations of Palestinian rights, as well as to protest the complicity of Israeli academic institutions in these abuses.”

The group’s website lists several examples of the direct involvement of Israel’s academic institutions in the occupation, including the establishment of a university in the West Bank, the development of weapons and combat doctrines used by the military in the occupied territories, the decision by the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC) to provide academic credits to students involved in hasbara efforts, etc.

According to the group’s site, a competing resolution rejecting the boycott under the guise of promoting “engagement” was soundly defeated by a vote of 1173-196.

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    1. Robert

      Yet another exercise in futility by well-intentioned people whose own alma-maters train the psychologists who develop CIA torture-interrogation techniques, the anthropologists hired by mining and oil companies to help break down indigenous resistance to their operations, the physicists and engineers who develop weapons of mass destruction and targeted assassination and even run in contract with the Pentagon research facilities to that effect. And please don’t bring up South Africa. Apartheid was defeated from the inside by the mass mobilization of mainly Black and Colored workers under the leadership of the non-racial African National Congress and other mass organizations including labor unions who in fighting for a non-racial, non-sectarian republic, eventually made Apartheid laws practically unenforceable. In the case of the Israel/Palestine region such a movement has yet to develop, a movement that to succeed will have to include Palestinians, Jews, African refugees and other immigrant workers.

      Reply to Comment
      • Merkava

        Hold on tightly to your silly fantasies and “South Africa Apartheid” mumbo jumbo, because that’s all you have and all you gonna get, “Robert”. Lol…..

        Reply to Comment
        • "Robert"


          Reply to Comment
          • Merkava

            What vexes you, “Robert”? Isn’t it amazing that you can SIMULTANEOUSLY post as Robert and “Robert”? First you post as Robert (without the quotation marks). Then you come back and post as “Robert” (with quotation marks!). To do that you required TWO accounts with TWO different email-addresses, you know? So, which Robert are you? You ain’t very clever, “Robert”, are you? Maybe BEN/Eliza/AverageAmerican/Eva/Lauren can help you out in answering that question…..LoL….

            Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      By making explicit the basis for this move–the direct involvement of Israel’s academic institutions in the occupation–it seems to me that this academic boycott is relatively more substantive, judicious, and credible than previous ones.

      Reply to Comment
      • Merkava

        My good friend, BEN, you are wrong as usual. There is NO real boycott. Here are the facts:

        1. Israeli academics will NOT be boycotted. The resolution stresses the distinction between individuals and institutions, and states that “Israeli scholars will still be welcome to participate in AAA meetings, use funds from their institutions to attend the meetings, publish in AAA journals and take part in other AAA activities in their individual capacities. The boycott does not preclude communication and collaboration with individual Israeli scholars.”

        2. the proposed boycott relates only to Israeli institutions, BUT, Israeli institutions have NO collaborations with the AAA. They never had and have no need for the AAA. Our Anthropological Institutions are among the best in the world!


        What remains of your boycott, BEN? Do the math, old man.

        Moreover, Israel will single out those who co-operate with the boycott and impose its own counter boycott measures on them. Private Israeli citizens and organizations will publicize who the boycotters are along with the skeleton in their closets.

        You ain’t, very clever, BEN, are you?

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          Prof. Peretz Lavie, president of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and chairman of the Association of University Heads in Israel:

          “The phenomenon of academic boycotts has intensified and in recent years expanded beyond the marginal radical borders of academia and onto leading US campuses. This phenomenon is likely to cause heavy damage to research, reliant on international cooperation, which in turn will also affect industry, the economy, and the future resilience of the State of Israel. As long as the American Anthropological Association, which is one of the largest professional associations in the US, will adopt the decision officially by the organization’s institutions, it may sway other associations to take similar declarative decisions.”

          Reply to Comment
          • Merkava

            Ok, BEN, you have copied and pasted the speculative and precautionary opinion of Prof. Peretz Lavie (which is neither unique to him nor new!), without understanding what he is saying and why.

            Now, back to REALITY.


            1. Can you provide data showing that “the phenomenon of academic boycotts has intensified and in recent years expanded beyond the marginal radical borders of academia and onto leading US campuses.”

            2. Can you provide data showing that “this phenomenon” HAS caused “heavy damage” or “any damage” “to research, reliant on international cooperation, which in turn will also affect industry, the economy, and the future resilience of the State of Israel”.

            3. How is the boycott of the AAA a boycott, when in fact it is business as usual – as I demonstrated to you in my post above?

            4. Are you aware of any States Of The Union that have passed anti-boycott laws, Federal laws that prohibit boycott of the Jewish State (https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/enforcement/oac), US and European Universities that have rejected boycott of the Jewish State, European Supreme Courts that have Ruled against Boycott, etc? If yes, how does that factor in “As long as the American Anthropological Association, which is one of the largest professional associations in the US, will adopt the decision officially by the organization’s institutions, it may sway other associations to take similar declarative decisions”?

            Does BEN have the intellectual and analytical power to answer these questions, OR, is he satisfied with swallowing just any speculative opinion line, hook and sinker, just so he can continue to wallow in his ignorance and hateful fantasy of hate?

            Let the debate begin. Put forward you coherent and well thought-thru arguments, BEN.

            The clock starts now! We are waiting……

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          • Gustav

            Rejoice Benny. But remember this…

            He who laughs last, laughs best.

            The Jews were always the canary in the mine. Bad things always happened to Jews first before other people experienced the same evil.

            Israel, the Jewish state, fulfulls the same role. Mull on that Benny-leh…

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            I’ve mulled it and find it fear-mongering, manipulative and lacking in substance.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Yes Benny just keep on repeating that to yourself. You are obviously wilfully blind to history. But hey, I expect nothing less from you.

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          • Merkava

            Oh no…BEN is on the run – yet again!

            Pls. answer the questions above, BEN. Don’t be a coward. You might want to respond as Eva (one of your aliases among which Eliza and Lauren, roflmao!). Maybe then I will go easy on you, because Eva is the name of one of my ex-chic.

            Pls., BEN, present your coherent arguments. We are waiting…..

            Reply to Comment
          • David

            Wow Ben yoy have a couple of very worried insecure and threatened troll Zionists you are doing something right. Keep it up they can only troll and are set in stone with their beliefs and opions. :0)

            Reply to Comment
          • Merkava

            Obviously BEN is in need of emotional support after taking in severe beatings and, getting no emotional support, BEN is now posing as “David” (besides “Average American”, etc.) to console himself? Gee!

            Knock it off, psych-o!

            In any case, the questions are still unanswered. Pls. answer the questions, David…..eh….sorry…..BEN! You can run, BUT you can’t hide….

            Reply to Comment
      • Ron Temis

        Ah no, it’s the same old anti-Semitic crap. Did this Association EVER boycott anyone else?

        Reply to Comment
        • SJ

          Very proud to be an anthropologist- took your time AAA, but nicely done. If it wasn’t important we wouldn’t be hearing such hateful comments against it. Here’s to winning the spring vote- and to the MLA passing the next resolution in support of BDS.

          Reply to Comment
    3. Average American

      This article is not about the specifics of this anthropological society. It’s about Israel’s actions and the desire to do something about them. Israel knows everyone in the world can see what they’re doing, but they don’t care and they won’t stop. Israel’s objective, its charter, is to lebensraum The Jewish Nation into the whole of The Land Of Israel, whoever is already there, whatever borders they unilaterally decide that to be, but for sure it’s alot bigger than the current Jewish State. Look at WZO maps. Read quotes from Begin. Listen to their current government. These antrhopologists are trying to do what they can about it.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Average, you have a fixation on the term lebenstraum.

        Why? Coz you want to prove the unprovable you racist little scum. Watsa matta? Ya can’t take the guilt for the racism that the likes of you practiced against the Jewish people throughout history? You have pangs of guilt and now you are trying to smear us with guilt which scum like you practiced against us? Do you think that will negate your guilt, you lying little hater?

        Ya won’t succeed. The only thing you will succeed in doing is to prove to us is how important the Jewish state is. Here, we are the majority and scummy racists like you can’t tread all over us. If you try, you get a bloody nose. Kapish, Average?

        Reply to Comment
    4. Ben

      I highly recommend this compelling essay by Stanford University Professor of Anthropology Thomas Blom Hansen.


      Hansen’s essay shows the actually striking similarities between the South African boycott situation and the current Israeli situation, and utterly dispels the demonized images of the AAA boycott’s rationale and motives. And dispels also the various rationales peddled as to how a boycott hurts those it is trying to help. It’s fresh air.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Hansen is fair, judicious, intelligent, and considerate, and draws on long experience with both South Africa and with Israel.
        He draws on youthful experiences as both an anti-Apartheid activist and as a supporter of Israel. And he describes how that support changed as events in the occupied territories forced a re-evaluation; and how that re-evaluation is driven not just by political organizations but by a range of civil society organizations, professionals and academics–who “after years of attempts at collaborating with Israeli counterparts have reached an impasse. Their inevitable conclusion is that only comprehensive global boycott, divestment and sanctions aimed at the aggressive policies of the state of Israel can begin to change the desperate situation of millions of Palestinians.”

        Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Read also the opposing essay offered by Professors David Rosen and Alex Weingrod. They focus on how the boycott will hurt Israeli anthropologists. Certainly it will. They attempt to buttress their argument with a broader and familiar talking point: that Israeli universities are “centers of political critique and liberal thought” and that the AAA boycott threatens to “shut-down debate and communication among anthropologists regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict, and to drive out the voices that favor dialogue and informed discussion.” But Hansen has already anticipated them:

        “Joining an academic boycott of selected Israeli institutions is for me first and foremost an appropriate way of supporting our embattled Palestinian colleagues at their financially deprived and marginalized academic institutions. It is also a way of communicating to our Israeli colleagues in the academy that we are not afraid of taking a clear stand on this issue and that we would encourage them to do the same. In the 1980s South Africa, draconian emergency laws curtailed what academics and others could say and do in the public. No such strictures apply to Israeli academics. Yet, surprisingly few have come out in solidarity with their Palestinian colleagues, or in open protest against the systematic violation of Palestinian human rights by the Israeli state.”

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          Boycott of fools.

          Only extreme left wingers, extreme right wingers and idiots will partake in it and even out of those extremists, only a subset of them will go near this stupid boycott. The ones that do, will shoot themselves in their collective feet coz they themselves will be hurt by it.

          Benny-leh. Your destiny is wall to wall disappointment. LOL.

          Reply to Comment
    5. Amadeus

      BDS has so far done a good job, but this is not enough to force Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and lift the siege laid against the Palestinian civil life, namely the racist wall. This can be simply done by suing Israel at The Supreme Court in The Hague. Only then will the order of life in Palestine and the Middle East return to normal, and the killing and imprisonment of children stop once and for all.

      Reply to Comment
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