Thank You for Supporting Academic Freedom at the AAA.
The AAA BDS Resolution has been DEFEATED!



With 1 supporters


We are circulating a statement in order to voice our opposition to the proposed AAA boycott of Israeli academic institutions, articulate the dangers of such a boycott, and encourage anthropologists to vote on this issue during the upcoming AAA ballot in April.

We are concerned that, while seemingly in service of justice for Palestinian academics and attempting to preserve a separation between Israeli academics and their institutions, the boycott will in fact have a pernicious effect by restricting academic freedom and exchange, endorsing discrimination on the grounds of ethnic and national identity, and breeding distrust and hostility within the AAA. Whatever your views on the Israeli and Palestinian conflict, in foreclosing the free and collegial exchange of ideas and in effect accusing our colleagues and peers of guilt by association, a boycott will certainly not solve the problem. We urge you to take a moment to read this statement, sign, and share with your colleagues.  




How could any social scientist, academic or human being even consider this kind of blatant discrimination? Not least of all the Profession of Anthropology. it is conduct unbecoming of anyone who stands for academic freedom. As many have said throughout history once a single group is discriminated against in this manner, nobody at all is free and humanity is degraded.

< Prev
Next >




The Statement

Don’t Let It Happen!

Don’t let it happen!  A fundamental and long-standing principle of academic life in the United States is that participation “is wholly independent of national boundaries and races and creeds.”  This April, every member of the American Anthropological Association will be asked to vote and to either accept or reject a resolution to boycott all Israeli academic institutions, shun their representatives and isolate their scholars and students (including Israeli anthropologists) by boycotting their academic institutions in the following ways:  

“…those institutions would not be able to be listed in AnthroGuide, advertise in AAA venues, or participate in the AAA Departmental Services Program (DSP), the Career Center, or the Graduate School Fair. In addition, the boycott precludes granting permission to copy and reprint articles from AAA publications to journals and publications based at Israeli institutions. The boycott may also preclude the AAA from selling Anthrosource access to Israeli institutions.”

-AAA BDS Resolution

At the annual business meeting of our association on November 20, 2015 approximately ten percent of the association’s members endorsed the pro-boycott resolution by voting to place it on an electronic ballot.  Now it is up to the entire membership to decide whether that ten percent will carry the day.  Historically, AAA members have not voted in great numbers on general membership ballots.  This time, it is crucial that they do.

Academic boycott proposals are alarming.  They are prompted by the particular political views of their supporters, who in this instance are allied with a Palestinian political movement known as BDS (the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement).  Supporters of the boycott wish to have the AAA in its corporate capacity engage in a series of discriminations and exclusions based entirely on nationality and aimed directly at Israeli universities, colleges and research institutes; and they wish to continue the embargo until the Israel-Palestinian conflict is resolved on terms favored by the BDS movement, which views itself as the voice of Palestinian civil society.  Academic boycott proposals of this sort are alarming because they discourage dissent, restrict the free flow of ideas and scholars, create feelings of distrust and hostility based on ethnicity and national origin towards individual members of the AAA, and make it difficult for those who disagree with the political analysis in question to feel at home in their own academic association.  They violate the very ethos of the world-wide academy and its deepest academic freedom principles. 

They are also alarming because they rely heavily on the dangerous and discredited logic of “complicity” or “guilt by association.”  It is troubling enough that there is already a published account by an Israeli scholar who was explicitly denied a sabbatical placement at a university because the institute to which he applied endorsed a BDS boycott of Israeli academic institutions, even where this was not in accord with overall university policy.  Although the AAA boycott resolution tries to draw a distinction between individual academics and their academic institutions, BDS omnibus definitions of complicity make plain that virtually any contact with Israel institutions and their journals opens individual American anthropologists to what it calls “common sense boycotts.”   The boycott resolution calls upon individual anthropologists to determine whether and how to apply the boycott in their own professional practice.   We believe that once an ethos of discrimination against Israeli academic institutions is officially endorsed the distinction between Jewish Israeli academics and their Israeli academic homes will be easily elided.  If we permit this resolution to pass, thereby mandating AAA institutional support for an academic boycott, it seems likely given the political aims of the BDS movement that there will be an increase in egregious instances of personal targeting of anthropologists on the basis of their political views and ethnic and national identities throughout the profession, with little or no accountability.   It is troubling enough that stories are already circulating in the profession about campaigns at some universities urging the boycott of visiting Israeli scholars and even of Israeli graduate students in the United States who have been told that their advisors won’t write letters of recommendation for them.

University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer addressed the boycott question this way:  academic boycotts are an “assault on the fundamental principles of open discourse, exchange of ideas, and free argumentation, principles that lie at the very foundation of the academy and its missions of discovery, search for understanding, and education.”  It is thus little wonder that academic boycotts have been rejected by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and by more than 100 major higher education institutions across the country, including the American Council on Education, the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. 

If you are alarmed, as we are, at the erosion of academic values, free thinking and collegial trust that this boycott proposal portends, it is crucial that you vote when you receive the upcoming April AAA ballot.  Whatever your political views on the Israeli and Palestinian conflict a boycott targeting the academic homes of our colleagues and peers in another country and unjustly accusing them of guilt by association will not solve the problem.   Help spread the concern that ratification of this resolution is a stake aimed at the heart of academic freedom and will cause significant damage to anthropology as a profession and a discipline.   As concerned anthropologists who have signed below we strongly encourage you to contact your colleagues and urge them to vote – and to vote “No”.


Signed by

1 Supporters Already. Be one of them!


Margo Aaron Argotics/Emory/Columbia
Jon Abbink Univ. Leiden
Sarah Abitbol UFT
David Abrams Johns Hopkins University
Orit Abuhav Beit Berl Collage
Guillermo Algaze University of California San Diego
John Allen Indiana University
Catherine J. Allen George Washington University
Adam Allentuck University of Toronto
Joëlle Allouche CNRS
David Altman Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
Roland Armando Alum University of Pittsburgh
Dorsa Amir Yale University
Jon Anderson Catholic University of America
myrdene anderson purdue university
Eileen Anderson-Fye Case Western Reserve University
TILLIER Anne-marie UMR 5199 PACEA CNRS France
Lisa ANTEBY-YEMINI CNRS-IDEMEC Aix-Marseille University
Kalman Applbaum University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Andrew Apter University of California, Los Angeles
Dan ARBIB Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris
Kimberly Arkin Boston University
Myron (Mike) Aronoff Rutgers University (Emeritus)
Dmitry Arzyutov Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography
Adrien Aszerman
Sheela Athreya Texas A&M University
Scott Atran University of Oxford and University of Michigan
Joelle Bahloul BLOOMINGTON
Paul Ballonoff Ballonoff Consulting
Arthur Bankoff Brooklyn College CUNY
Katherine Barbieri University of South Carolina
Fran Barg University of Pennsylvania
Jerome Barkow Dalhousie University
Guadalupe Barua University of Buenos Aires
Tal Bashan Tel Aviv University
Robert Bate Brooklyn
Bryant Beard Anderson University
Delphine Bechtel Paris Sorbonne
Lia Behar University of Haifa
Nicolas Behar University of Edinburgh
Traci Bekelman University of Colorado
Miriam Belmaker The University of Tulsa
Elaine Bennett Saint Vincent College
Virginia Berenson Orange Coast College. Retired
Elizabeth Berger University of North Carolina
Riva Berleant University of Connecticut
Elois Ann Berlin Retired Assoc. Prof
David Berliner Brussels Free University
Mary Jane Berman Brussels Free University
H. Russell Bernard University of Florida
Robin Bernstein University of Colorado Boulder
Parminder Bhachu Worcester
Irving Biederman University of Southern California
Margaret Blackman The College at Brockport SUNY
Harold Blau Levittown
John Blitz University of Alabama
Maureen (Miriam) Bloom Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Myra Bluebond-Langner University of College London
Lawrence Blum University of Pennsylvania
Ellen Bogue University of California Santa Barbara
Chantal Bordes-Benayoun CNRS Toulouse (France)
David J. Boyd University of California, Davis
Stanley H. Brandes University of California Berkeley
Esther Brass UC Berkeley
T. David Brent University of Chicago Press
Paul Brodwin University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Peter Brown Emory University
Edward Bruner University of Illinois
Ron Brunton Retired
Zeeva Bukai Brooklyn
Mariana Buksdorf Chile
Richard Burger Yale
Susan Cachel Rutgers University
Courtney Cardin Independent
Kevin Carrico University of Oklahoma
Jon Carroll Oakland University, Rochester, MI
Laurence Carucci Montana State University
Rachel Caspari Central Michigan University
Erick Castellanos Ramapo College
Anna Chairetakis (Wood) Association for Cultural Equity, Hunter College, NY
Claudia Chang Sweet Briar College
Bambi Chapin University of Maryland Baltimore County
Miki Chase Johns Hopkins University
Esther Chayes Lichtenberger Institut für angewandte Stimmphysiologie
Cindy Dell Clark Rutgers University
Isabelle R. Clark-Deces Princeton University
Myron Cohen Columbia University
Frayda Cohen University of Pittsburgh
Jeffrey Cohen Columbus, OHio
Judith Cohen Toronto
Mark Collard Simon Fraser University and University of Aberdeen
Della Collins Cook Indiana University
Alanna Cooper Case Western Reserve Univeristy
R. Alan Covey University of Texas at Austin
Jim Crozier Canada
Daniel Crumbo University of Arizona
Steve Daren Daren Laboratories & Scientific Consultants Ltd.
Deepa Das Acevedo University of Chicago
Rohee Dasgupta O.P. Jindal Global University
Joanna Davidson Boston University
Philippe de Lara université Panthéon Assas (PARIS)
Hülya Demirdirek APM - Ankara
William Divale York College, CUNY
Dorothea Dorenz Berkeley
Amihud Doron Law Firm
Han Dorussen University of Essex
Greg Downey Macquarie University
Michelle Dragoo La Habra
Stanley Dubinsky Columbia
Elizabeth Cullen Dunn Indiana University
Dale Eickelman Dartmouth College
Merrill Eisenberg Independent
Riane Eisler CIIS
Nathan Elberg Concordia University
Tamar Elor Hebrew University
Melissa Emery Thompson University of New Mexico
Catherine Emihovich University of Florida
Dr. Ayala Emmett University of Rochester
Lauren Erdreich Levinsky College of Education
Daniel Everett Bentley
Dean Falk Florida State University
Omid Farokh Attorney
Or Fattal Tel Aviv University
Gillian Feeley-Harnik University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Daniel Fein DBF
Douglas Feldman The College at Brockport, SUNY
Jackie Feldman Ben Gurion University of the Negev
Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg Carleton College
Ioulia Fenton Atlanta
Daniel Fessler University of California Los Angeles
Kaja Finkler Retired from Univ. of North Carolina,
Michael Fisch University of Chicago
Michael Fischer MIT
Robin Fox Rutgers University
Georgia Fox CSU Chico
Scott Frank Prospero
Morrie Fred University of Chicago
Carla Freeman Emory University
Caren Freeman University of Virginia
Karin Friederic Wake Forest University
Jonathan Friedman University of California San Diego
Peter Fry Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Jennifer Furin Case Western Reserve University
John Galaty McGill University
Amy Gazin-Schwartz Assumption College
Randi Gellibert Syracuse University alumni
Alexander Georgiev Northwestern University
Marie-Pierre Gibert Université Lumière Lyon 2
pierrette giorno nice
Paula Girshick Indiana University (retired)
Brian Given Carleton University
Brian Given Carleton University
Jack Glazier Oberlin College
Perry Gnivecki Miami University, Oxford and Hamilton, Ohio
Dana Gold University of Western Ontario
Haim Goldfus Ben-Gurion University
Lynne Goldstein Michigan State University
Michael Gordon University of Toronto
Andrew Gordon University of Houston
Alma Gottlieb University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Nelson Graburn University of California Berkeley
Kathryn Grant University of North Florida
Anne Grauer Loyola University Chicago
Patty Gray Maynooth University
Donald Grayson University of Washington
William Green Beloit College
Haskel Greenfield University of Manitoba
Lawrence Greksa Case Western Reserve University
Julian Groves HKUST
Abraham Gruber Palomar College, Emeritus
Stephen Gudeman University of Minnesota
Lauren Gulbas The University of Texas
George Gumerman Santa Fe
Grey Gundaker College of William & Mary
sharon gursky Texas A&M University
Jane I. Guyer John Hopkins University
Marina Hakkarainen European University at St. Petersburg
Meghan Halley Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute
Arnaud Halloy University of Nice Sophia Antipolis
Raymond Hames University of Nebraska
Amir Hampel University of Chicago
Katherine Harbord LJMU
Martha Hare N/A
Sara Harkness University of Connecticut
Gideon Hartman University of Connecticut
Haskel G Levi Haskel G Levi Chicago
Beverly Haviland Brown University
Cameron Hay-Rollins Miami University
Andres Haye Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
Thomas Headland SIL International
Max Heffler Houston
Samuel Heilman New Rochelle
Jeremy Hein University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
ariana hernandez-reguant Tulane University
Zachary Herschensohn Seattle
Michael Herzfeld Harvard University
Bonnie Hewlett Washington State University
Jacob R. Hickman Brigham Young University
Devon Hinton Harvard University
Elizabeth Hinz University of Michigan
Katherine Hirschfield University of Oklahoma
Carolyn Hodges-Simeon Boston University
ralph holloway Columbia University
James F Hopgood Northern Kentucky University.
Barbara Hornum Drexel University
K. Ann Horsburgh Southern Methodist University
Michael Houseman Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE)
Erella Hovers Institute of archaeology, dept of prehistoric archaeology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Jayne Howell California State University Long Beach
Daniel Hruschka Arizona State University
Ana Magdalena Hurtado Yale University
Paulette Hutterer New York
Takeshi Inomata University of Arizona
SueEllen Jacobs University of Washington
Shari Jacobson Susquehanna University
Doranne Jacobson International Images
william jankowiak las vegas
Grazyna Jasienska Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
Robert Jennings University of Chicago
Lori L. Jervis University of Oklahoma
Gunther Jikeli CNRS
Michael Jindra University of Notre Dame
Richard Jones Lee University
Lewis JOnes Indiana University Bloomington
Sara Kafri Cameron University
Susan Kahn Harvard University
Sergei Kan Dartmouth College
Bruce Kapferer University of Bergen
Jerrold Katz Chicago
Stephen Katz Indiana University
Naomi Katz Oakland
Felicia Katz-Harris Museum of International Folk Art
Mike Kaufman University of Chicago
Brett Kaufman Brown University
Alice Kehoe Marquette University
David Kertzer Brown University
Louise Kessel Clinical Psychologist in Private Practice
Irene Ketonen University at Buffalo
Anatoly Khazanov University of Wisconsin-Madison
Carol Kidron University of Haifa
Jennifer King N/A
Ellen Kintz SUNY Geneseo
Lawrence Kirmayer McGill University
Frederick Klaits SUNY at Buffalo
Richard Klein Stanford University
Harriet Klein Stony Brook University
Jill Kleinberg University of Kansas, emerita faculty
Arthur Kleinman Harvard University
dolores klickstein houston
Paul Kockelman Yale University
Jack Kohl University of Toronto
Melvin Konner Emory University
Raoul Kopelman Ann Arbor
Shula kopf Hillside
Jill E. Korbin Case Western University
Jeremy Koster University of Cincinnati
Semen Kozlov Russian Academy of Sciences
Tamar Kremer-Sadlik University of California Los Angeles
Igor Krupnik National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
Jack Kugelmass University of Florida
Steven Kuhn University of Arizona
Adam Kuper London School of Economics and Political Science
Greg Laden Independent Scholar
Jane B. Lancaster University of New Mexico
Arielle Lasky UCLA
Warren Lee Brooklyn College
Elliott Leib San Diego
Robert Lemelson University of California Los Angeles
Aaron Lenihan Santa Fe
Jerome Levi Carleton College
Nancy Levine University of California Los Angeles
Robert A. LeVine Harvard University
Marc Levine University of Oklahoma
Hal Levine Victoria university of Wellington
Ellen Lewin University of Iowa
Herbert S. Lewis University of Wisconsin
Pierre Lienard UNLV
Esteban Lijalad Ciudad de Buenos Aires
Daniel Linger UC Santa Cruz
Nancy Lipkin Stein Florida Atlantic University
Peter Little Emory University
Laurence Loeb University of Utah
michael logan university of tennessee
Carlos David Londoño Sulkin University of Regina
Sonja Luehrmann Simon Fraser University
Tanya Luhrmann Stanford University
Barry Lyons Wayne State University
Ann Magennis Colorado State University
S Maitra University of Nottingham, UK
Alan E. Mann Princeton University
Joseph H. Manson University of California Los Angeles
Robert Marcom Houston Community College System
Sanford Marcus Columbia
Maxine L. Margolis University of Florida
Jonathan Marion University of Arkansas
Maxim Matusevich Seton Hall University
Jack McCoy Stockton University
Dennis B. McGilvray University of Colorado Boulder
Ian McGonigle Harvard University
James McKenna University of Notre Dame
António Medeiros ISCTE - Lisbon University Institute
Samuel Mehr Harvard University
David Meltzer Southern Methodist University
Marc Meyer Rancho Cucamonga
Maureen Meyers University of Mississippi
David Milberg The John Marshall Law School
Naomi Miller Philadelphia
Tovah Mitchell RCBC
John Monaghan University of Illinois at Chicago
Janet Monge University of Pennsylvania
Gilliane Monnier University of Minnesota
Sally Moore Cambridge, MA
Christopher Morgan University of Nevada, Reno
Holley Moyes University of Merced, California
Natalie Munro University of Connecticut
Lee Munroe Pitzer College
Gerald Murray University of Florida
Nancy Nahmias Queens College, CUNY
Richard Nakache Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv
Tenzin Namdul Emory University
Inna Naroditskaya Northwestern University
Jaime Navon Santiago
Marty Nemko UC Berkeley/ UC Davis
Christopher Nichols Simon Fraser University
Mimi Nichter University of Arizona
Kristi Ninnemann Case Western Reserve University
sophie Nizard CNRS, Paris
Elena Nosenko-Stein Moscow Москва
Charles Nuckolls Brigham Young University
Miguel Nussbaum Catholic University of Chile
Martin Ottenheimer Kansas State University
Harriet Joseph Ottenheimer Kansas State University
Susan Pacey-Field UNR
Craig Palmer University of Missouri
Italo Pardo University of Kent, U.K.
ZAWADZKi Paul Université Panthéon Sorbonne, Paris 1
ZAWADZKi Paul Université Panthéon Sorbonne, Paris 1
Alexandra Peck Brown University
Deborah Pellow The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Andrew Pessin Connecticut College
Robert Phillips Ball State University
jane Phillips-Conroy Washington University
Judith Pine Bellingham
Anne Pisor University of California Santa Barbara
Leonard Plotnicov University of Pittsburgh
Helen P Pollard Michigan State University
Sulamith Potter UC Berkeley
Jack Potter University of California at Berkeley
Giuliana B. Prato University of Kent, Canterbury, UK
David Preiss Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Sonya Pritzker University of Alabama
Michael Pytlik Oakland university
Maria Grazia Quieti The American University of Rome
Paul M. Rabinow University of California Berkeley
Ivana Radovanovic University of Kansas
Boris Raev Russian Academy of Sciences
Rakesh Ramkissoon St. John's University
Nigel Rapport University of St Andrews
Joel Ray University of Toronto
Susan Reed Bucknell University
Deborah Reed-Danahay SUNY at Buffalo
Pfeifer Richard Wien
Thomas Rocek University of Delaware
Barry Rolett University of Hawaii
Lawrence Rosen Princeton University
David M. Rosen Fairleigh Dickinson University
Diana Rosen Citrus Heights
Emily Rosen UCLA
Steven Rosen Beersheva
Arlene Rosen University of Texas at Austin
Karen Rosenberg University of Delaware
Abraham Rosman Barnard College and Columbia University
Jennifer Roth-Gordon University of Arizona
Mitchell S Rothman Widener University
Paula G. Rubel Barnard College and Columbia University
Bob Rubinstein University of Maryland Baltimore County
Robert A. Rubinstein The Maxwell School of Syracuse University
Charles Rutheiser Independent Scholar
Steven Sabat Georgetown University
Paula Sabloff Santa Fe Institute
Jeremy Sabloff Santa Fe Institute
Hagar Salamon The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Breanna Salazar los angeles, ca
Frank Salomon University of Wisconsin
Cynthia Saltzman Rutgers University
Philip Carl SALZMAN McGill University
Limor Samimian-Darash Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Victoria Sanford Lehman College, City University of New York
Rebecca Saunders LSU
Michelle Scalise Sugiyama University of Oregon
Sandra Scham The Catholic University of America
Jean Schensul Institute for Community Research
Enid Schildkrout American Museum of Natural History
Alice Schlegel University of Arizona
Paulina Schmer Retired from Princeton
Robert Schon University of Arizona
Carmel Schrire Rutgers University
Joshua Schrock University of Oregon
Norman B. Schwartz University of Delaware
Helen Schwartzman Northwestern University
Christopher Seal Trinity Episcopal Church
Edwin Segal University of Louisville
Gal Sela Tel Aviv University
Linda J. Seligmann George Mason University
rapoport shabtai tel aviv univercity
paul shankman university of colorado-boulder
Pnina Shanzer private dental clinic
Matan Shapiro Ben-Gurion University, Israel
Warren Shapiro Rutgers University
Mandy Shaver University of Waikato
Jennifer Shaw Southcentral Foundation
Noga Shemer University of Connecticut
Thomas Sheridan University of Arizona
Renee Shield Brown University
Moshe Shokeid Tel Aviv University
Bradd Shore Emory University
Jeffrey Shuster None
Richard A. Shweder University of Chicago
Peter E. Siegel Montclair State University
Sydel Silverman City University of New York
Eric Silverman Wheelock College
Leni M. Silverstein Independent Consultant
Leni Silverstein New York
Scott Simon University of Ottawa
Julia Sloane University of California, San Diego
Carolyn Smith-Morris Southern Methodist University
Vania Smith-Oka University of Notre Dame
Craig Smitheram University of California, San Diego
Elisa Sobo San Diego State University
José Sobral University of Lisbon, Institute of Social Sciences
Olga Soffer University of Illinois
Joseph Sokal San Marcos
Anna Sokolova institute for ethnology and anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences
Olga Solomon University of Southern California
Richard Sosis University of Connecticut
Seymour Spilerman Columbia University
Richard Stamps Oakland
Howard F. Stein University of Oklahoma
Alan Stein University of Connecticut
Robert Sternberg Cornell University
Phillips Stevens Buffalo
Teresa Stoikes retired
Paul Stoller West Chester University
Dawn Stricklin Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Karen Strier University of Wisconsin
Martha Stroud University of Southern California
Lawrence Sugiyama University of Oregon
Leah Susman Brandeis University
Ida Susser Hunter College and Grad Center/CUNY
Perry Swergold Cornell University alumni
Niku T'arhechu T'arhesi University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Martha Tappen Roseville
Zbyněk Tarant Department of Middle-Eastern Studies, University of West Bohemia
Ian Tattersall American Museum of Natural History
Jerry Teitel University of Toronto
Seinenu Thein University of California Berkeley
Gilbert Tostevin University of Minnesota
John Traphagan University of Texas at Austin
Elizabeth Traube Wesleyan University
Susan Trencher George Mason University
Aaron Tromp Tel Aviv
Christian Tryon Harvard University
Greg Urban University of Pennsylvania
William von Hippel University of Queensland
Shelley Wachsmann Texas A&M University
James Waldram University of Saskatchewan
Ronald Wardrop Buckman
Rubie S. Watson Harvard University
James L. Watson Harvard University
Jo Weaver University of Alabama
Thomas Weaver University of Arizona
Shalva Weil Hebrew University
Susan Weinstein SUNY Buffalo
Melvin Weintraub Brooklyn
Thomas Weisner University of California Los Angeles
Mark Weiss Retired
Rachel Werczberger Jerusalem
James Wertsch Washington University in St. Louis
Merry White Boston University
Peter Whiteley American Museum of Natural History
Polly Wiessner University of Utah
Brackette F. Williams University of Arizona
Michael Wilson University of Minnesota
Carol Worthman Emory University
Allan Young McGill University
Jeffrey Zaltzman University of Toronto
Harriett Zeller AJC
Joe Zias Retired
John Ziker Boise State University
Richard Zimmer Sonoma State University
Stephen Zolvinski Indiana University Northwest, Gary, Indiana
Marcela Zoufala Prague Centre for Jewish Studies, Charles University
Ezra Zubrow University at Buffalo
Oded Zucker EDRIS

Sign it!

Please only sign this statement if you are a member of the AAA or an anthropologist. If you would like to show your support, please submit a testimonial to be featured on our page. Thank you for your support!

Submit Testimonial


Questions? Comments? Let’s discuss!

You can also visit us on Facebook or Twitter.



News & Additional Statements in Opposition to AAA BDS Resolution

Postscript: BSD, Moral Simplification, and the Collapse of the “Progressive” Statements

Postscript: BSD, Moral Simplification, and the Collapse of the “Progressive”
By Jonathan Friedman, Department of Anthropology, University of California, San Diego

I have been watching this development since the AAA meetings in November.  I voted without the slightest hesitation against the boycott.  I was first astonished and angered by the BDS statement and even wrote a nasty letter which I did not send. There are plenty of slogans around equating Israel with the Nazis and with Apartheid. On the other hand even the AAA task force on Israel/Palestine argues, quite inconsequentially, that Israel is basically a white settler colony (2015) (but see Goldberg’s critique 2016).  The interpretive framework, then, is a de-legitimization of the state of Israel, on the amusing grounds that it is just like the United States which is not about to be boycotted by American Anthropologists who are concerned about their careers.  It is also noteworthy that settler colonies are colonies settled by a mother country that is already in control of the colonized territory which does not fit the historical reality of Israel.  This is not just a one-sided assessment. It totally ignores a long history of conflict since the 1920’s.    And is it the Jews who initiated the conflict? Was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem a freedom fighter who simply made some erroneous alliances, i.e. with Hitler.  Why not? The Mufti was an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood which from the start was violently anti-Semitic and then pro-Nazi and all of this long before the state of Israel was founded.  And today, Hamas, a virtual branch of the Brotherhood states in its Charter that the Jews must be eliminated.  The point here is that this hostility is not just a reaction to Israeli aggression.  One might of course argue that the Jews have no place in the Middle East and that the existence of a state is simply an example of occupation or colonialism.  BDS does not make such an argument since hypocrisy about such issues is more politically viable, but there are plenty of insinuations.. It would be easier to deal with the argument if it were more forthright (as in the case of Hamas).  

Read more

Jon Anderson’s Thoughts on the Boycott Statements

I’ve long considered Israeli treatment of Palestinians to be deplorable at all levels, from land-grabbing to de-legitimization and constraints on their institutions. Boycott, divestment and sanctions directed at the Israeli state is an apt political response to these practices, as earlier against South Africa. But I cannot support an academic boycott and will vote against the AAA resolution for two reasons.

Throughout my professional life I’ve worked for inclusion – as a founding member of the Association’s Middle East Section to establish Middle East Anthropology within the AAA, as MES president in 2011-12, to include Arab-American issues sharing information about research in its purview, as editor of the Middle East Studies Association Bulletin to broaden its remit as MESA’s journal of review to include exhibitions, Internet and other digital material, and essays on research materials and methods as part of the craft in interdisciplinary Middle East Studies. In my view, academic freedom is indivisible and enhancing scholarship the priority for an academic association.

The BDS resolution before the AAA calls for excluding Israeli academic institutions, which I find problematic to square with academic freedom either philosophically or operationally. The argument that it is directed not against individual Israeli scholars, who are still welcome to participate in the AAA, but against their academic institutions, which are not, strikes me as bogus and sociologically inept. Its echoes of efforts by the State of Israel to de-legitimize Palestinian institutions and treat Palestinians as isolated individuals are beyond irony, as if identities did not derive from and find expression through institutions, which is also central to the critical cultural studies moot that has blossomed in contemporary anthropology of the Middle East.

I can support BDS, and even an AAA resolution condemning the State of Israel’s policies and treatment of Palestinians and its own citizens who are Arab; but this resolution crosses the line for a professional association devoted to promoting academic freedom in general and scholarship in particular, and it explicitly rejects the principle of inclusion that has been a core teaching of anthropology and positioning in the public sphere from the beginning.

Read more

Russell Berman on “Academic Boycotts and Professional Responsibility” Statements

Academic Boycotts and Professional Responsibility

Delivered at the Annual Convention of the American Philosophical Association,  San Francisco, March 31, 2016

                            Russell A. Berman
                            Stanford University

I was invited to speak on this panel, having been reassured that it would be devoted to academic boycotts, in general, but I cannot say that I was surprised to discover that half of the titles here advocate one and only one boycott target. I will therefore make some remarks concerning academic boycotts in general, to which I object on principle, but also comment on the campaign against Israeli universities in particular. I expect that we will hear boycott proponents denounce the apartheid character of Israeli society or policies of genocide and other such mythologies that the boycott movement has disseminated and which the APA may eventually be asked to endorse. But let’s leave the propaganda for the discussion section.

Read more

Scott Simon’s Thoughts on the Boycott Statements

Scott Simon’s Thoughts on the Boycott

I grew up in Indiana, hearing stories about the Holocaust, but believing anti-Semitism was an evil of the past. If anything, I thought it was an ideology held by a minority of poor whites who occasionally marched through the streets of Cincinnati draped in white robes. My naivety should have ended when, while walking through the streets of Old Jerusalem speaking German, a young Palestinian approached us to say, “We love Germans, because we love Hitler. Don’t worry. We will finish off the project you people have left undone.” I nonetheless returned to the United States, hoping that Israelis and Palestinians would eventually live side-by-side peacefully in their own independent states.

Read more

Michael Fisch Statements

I am an American and Israeli citizen. I served in the IDF from 1987-1991. I then studied and taught at Tel Aviv University. These experiences have given me insight into the complexities of the situation between Israelis and Palestinians, complexities that the BDS threatens to reduce to a simplistic position of political comfort. The BDS will only work in favor of Israeli Right politics of religious nationalism driven by the rhetoric of fear and the claim that the world is always against Israel. We need to help the Israeli left by helping the academic institutions that provide them means to live and think, and a place to foster progressive dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.

Read more

Marshall Sahlins’ comments on recent pro-boycott communications Statements

“Ridiculous for Americans to boycott Israeli academics for crimes in which their own government has been complicit, which could not happen without US support of Israel, militarily, materially, and politically. This is not calling attention to these crimes; it is diverting attention from their causes and remedies.”

-Marshall Sahlins, University of Chicago

Video of Richard Shweder on Academic Boycott Statements

“(The boycott) is proposed in an almost Orwellian spirit where one is asked explicitly to exclude membership on the basis of national identity.”

-Professor Richard Shweder, University of Chicago

Statement Reaffirming the University of Chicago’s Position on Divestment and Academic Boycotts Statements

Statement Reaffirming the University’s Position on Divestment and Academic Boycotts

The University of Chicago will not divest from companies for doing business in Israel and opposes academic boycotts aimed at specific nations, including Israel. The University is restating its policy to address questions regarding its institutional position.

The University does not take social or political stances on issues outside its core mission. Using investments or other means to advance a social or political position held by some segment of the University community would only diminish the University’s distinctive contribution – providing a home and environment for faculty and students to engage freely and openly on the widest range of issues. The Kalven Report outlines this approach and the values behind it, concluding that preserving the freedom of individual scholars to argue for or against any issue of political controversy requires “a heavy presumption against” collective political action by the University itself. 

Read more

David Rosen for PoLAR Journal on “The BDS Attack in Israeli Anthropology” News

The BDS Attack in Israeli Anthropology

The vote on whether the American Anthropological Association (AAA) will boycott Israeli Academic Institutions is going forward despite the bylaws of the association which make membership open to all individuals and institutions, including Israeli institutions; Federal, state and local laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of national origin; and the Association’s Articles of Incorporation that prohibit the organization from engaging in propaganda. These political and legal issues have been buried under the momentum of the BDS motion targeting Israeli anthropology.

Read more

Richard Shweder for Huffington Post on “Targeting the Israeli Academy: Will Anthropologists Have the Courage to Just Say “No”?” News

Targeting the Israeli Academy: Will Anthropologists Have the Courage to Just Say “No”?

Should members of the American Anthropological Association, as a group, shun Israeli universities and research organizations? Should the American Anthropological Association, as an organization, place an embargo on the free flow of scholarly and scientific information to Israeli libraries and journals? Voting begins on April 15 on a proposal to do both.

The proposal has a history. Since 2005 an international Palestinian political movement known as the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) has been targeting the Israeli academy, trying to gain support for boycott resolutions by universities and professional academic societies in the United States and Europe. To date their success has been limited. Two academic societies, the Association of Asian American Studies and the American Studies Association, finally signed on in 2013 but more recently in 2016 a boycott proposal was decisively rejected by the American Historical Association.

Read more

M. Cameron Hay’s thoughts on the boycott Statements

Why am I against the boycott?

Anthropology is a field staunchly dedicated to decrying the processes of Othering, replacing them with understanding, respect, and appreciation of the constraints and concerns of local moral worlds.  The processes of Othering are a slippery slope, and history tells us only too well that initial steps taken to judge, label, or circumscribe a society or group — through linguistic markers, ID cards, or political actions like boycotts – often lead to other steps of Othering on a downward spiral towards dehumanization.  Engaging in acts of Othering is antithetical to anthropology.  The proposed boycott, singling out the academic institutions of one nation-state, is an act of Othering.  Instead, anthropologists should be engaged in what we do best: research to increase mutual understanding, respect, and appreciation of the constraints and concerns of local moral worlds on the path towards peace.

Read more

Michael Herzfeld’s Thoughts on the Boycott Statements


One does not have to approve of a national government’s policies in order to disagree with the idea of a blanket boycott of that country’s universities.  I personally abhor the current Israeli government’s treatment of the Arab populations under its control.  I also abhor any of the many ways in which academic freedom is increasingly restricted, whether through official Israeli suppression of Palestinian academic activity or as a result of political and religious fanaticism in this country and elsewhere.  I am on record as having fought for academic freedom, particularly against nationalist attacks on academic work recognizing minority issues and rights.  The freedom to speak openly is one of academia’s fundamental principles and a necessary component of the search for knowledge and understanding.  It would therefore be inconsistent for me to support a sweeping boycott of Israeli academic institutions, for a very simple reason:  such a boycott, whatever its proponents may claim, is likely to encourage intolerance on all sides of the current conflict. 

Read more

An essay by Gregory Starrett on “The Symbolic Violence of Choice” NewsStatements

The Symbolic Violence of Choice

An essay by Angela VandenBroek on why she signed the petition against the AAA boycott Statements

“Why I signed” (the petition AGAINST academic boycott of Israeli institutions)

I have signed the petition against the academic boycott of Israeli institutions by the American Anthropological Association. After signing, I felt as if I had taken my stand and have since mostly stayed away from the contentious spaces of debate that are populated largely by pro-boycott anthropologists at this year’s meeting. I had hoped that scholars who had signed the anti-boycott petition and were more advanced in their careers and more entangled with research in this area would bring to the table a better explanation than I could. I also felt that if the boycott came to pass, that I would not fight it as it is better than no action at all and likely would not have devastating effects (either positive or negative).

Read more

Statement by Vice Chancellor of McGill after student vote on BDS boycott resolution Statements

Dear members of the McGill community,

The General Assembly of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) recently passed a motion to support the Boycott, Divest and Sanction campaign against Israel. That decision has been defeated in a subsequent online ratification process.

The University as an institution has not commented publicly until now out of respect for the student governance process. Students respect our governance processes; we do not interfere with theirs, or their right to put such motions within the context of their affairs.

Read more

Steven Pinker’s Thoughts on the Boycott Statements

“Against Selective Demonization”

The current Israeli government does things that many of us deplore. But are their policies really so atrocious, so beyond the pale of acceptable behavior of nation-states, that they call for a unique symbolic statement that abrogates personal fairness and academic freedom? It helps to put the Israel-Palestine conflict in global and historical perspective—something that anthropologists, of all people, might be expected to do. The Center for Systemic Peace tries to quantify the human cost of armed conflict. Their data show that for all the world’s obsession with the Israel-Palestine conflict, it has been responsible for a small proportion of the total human cost of war: approximately 22,000 deaths over six decades, coming in at 96th place among the armed conflicts, and at 14th place among ongoing conflicts. That does not mean that the violence is acceptable, but it does raise questions about invidious demonization. Why no boycotts against academics from China, India, Russia, or Pakistan, to take a few examples, which have also been embroiled in occupations and violent conflicts, and which, unlike Israel, face no existential threat or enemies with genocidal statements in their charters? In a world of repressive governments and ongoing conflicts, isn’t there something unsavory about singling the citizens of one of these countries for unique vilification and punishment?

-Steven Pinker, Harvard University

Read more

Paul Rabinow’s thoughts on the boycott Statements

“Boycott Thoughts: Moral Scales”

I have asked several of my senior colleagues what are the moral grounds or the moral scale that has led them to support a boycott of Israeli Universities? Is Israeli worse than Syria? Or Egypt? Or Burundi? Or Russia? Or Iran? And the list goes on and on.  I have NEVER received a reasoned answer to this question. A distinguished colleague just shrugged and said “why not?” She has not signed the boycott list because she wants to continue working in Israeli in order to reveal and denounce what she considers to be nefarious practices there.

Read more

Alma Gottlieb’s blog on the BDS AAA Boycott Statements

“How BDS Risks Going over to the Dark Side; or, Why I am Ashamed of My Association”

I get the logic of economic boycotts for political reasons. In high school, I stopped buying grapes to support Cesar Chavez’ protest of the slave-like working conditions of Mexican farm workers in grape vineyards. I also stopped buying Saran Wrap, to protest Dow Chemical’s manufacture of napalm for killing civilians in Vietnam. When I became engaged, I informed my fiancé that I was disinterested in a diamond ring, to avoid supporting the apartheid regime that produced much of the world’s diamonds.

Read more

David Rosen’s essay on the AAA boycott Statements

“BDS and the Rise of Post-Factual Anthropology”

Four anthropology professors stood at the entrance of the ballroom at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver last November, where members of the American Anthropological Association would soon vote to boycott Israeli academic institutions, organized by the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement (BDS).

Each professor held up one of a series of enlarged maps that purported to show a visual history of the shrinking Palestinian lands since the beginning of the British Mandate in 1918. The maps, however, had erased a key historical fact, namely that in 1922 the British administratively severed 75 percent of Mandatory Palestine and ultimately transformed it into the country of Jordan, whose population, by the most conservative estimates, is at least fifty percent Palestinian. Indeed, Jordan is the only country in the world that has a Palestinian queen. That part of “shrinking Palestine” was missing from the maps.

Read more

Noam Chomsky opposes cultural boycott of Israel Statements

“If you’re an activist it’s second nature to ask what are the consequences of my choices, not I’ll do it because it makes me feels good,” US academic Noam Chomsky tells Mehdi Hasan in this web extra. The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) pro-Palestinian movement has called for the boycott not only of Israeli-made goods, but also of cultural and educational products and institutions.

While Chomsky supports BDS campaigns “aimed at the occupied territories”, he says he is opposed to those “actions against Israel itself”. “Just as I do not suggest boycotting Harvard University and my own university, even though the United States is involved in horrific acts. […] You might as well boycott the United States,” the academic adds.

Read more

Eugene Kontorovich for the Washington Post on how “Academic Israel boycotts can violate corporate law” News

Winter is the season of many academic association annual meetings — and with them, a predictable wave of proposals for these groups to boycott Israel. I have an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal, co-authored with “Deal Professor” Steven Davidoff Solomon, explaining how boycotts by scholarly associations can violate corporate law, allowing members to sue to enjoin the measures.

Academic association boycott actions may be invalid under the ultra vires doctrine of corporate law. That rule limits a corporation from acting beyond its chartered purposes. In the modern era, ultra vires has little relevance for regular “all lawful purpose” for-profit companies. However, it still matters for non-profits, which often specifically limit their activities and goals in their constitution. Such constitutional limitations are binding, and corporate actions that go beyond the express constitutional powers and purposes can be enjoined.

Read more

Herbert Lewis’s reaction to the final report of the AAA Task Force Statements

A Reaction to the Report of the Task Force to the Executive Committee

“As AAA President Monica Heller has noted elsewhere, the Executive Board’s view is that the debate over Israel/Palestine is historically important and anthropologically relevant. The association is well placed to offer AAA members a chance to gain an anthropologically informed perspective on the region and on the broader questions it raises, and to participate in productive conversations about them.”  (Introduction p.1)

Read more

Melvin Konner’s op-ed on the anthro boycott Statements

As a recipient of the American Anthropological Association’s “Anthropology in Media” Award, I am dismayed by the AAA’s recent decision to boycott Israel’s academics and their institutions. This was approved by those present at a November business meeting (about a tenth of the members) and will be put to the whole membership in the coming months. It was based on a deeply flawed “task force” report on the situation of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

The report was a skewed sample of interviews and distorted interpretations of widely available data. For example, it notes that “although there had been marked improvement in Palestine as a whole between 1990 and 2013 – mortality rates for children under age 5 years were four to five times higher than in Israel.” One has to study the accompanying graph to see that the decline in Palestinian under-5 mortality was much steeper than that in Israel, so that the absolute difference between the two was approximately halved during that period.

Read more

Richard Shweder’s statement opposing the AAA BDS resolution Statements

“In Defense of the No Action Option: Institutional Neutrality, Speaking for Oneself, and the Hazards of Corporate Political Opinions”

A talk prepared for the panel on “A House Divided: Politics, Professional Mobilization, and Academic Freedom in American Anthropology,” November 20, 2015 American Anthropological Association Meetings, Denver, Colorado.  

This is the full extent of the reasoning about the No action option as it appears in the report of the Task Force on AAA Engagement on Israel-Palestine (TFIP): “The gravity of the situation in Israel/Palestine and the widespread concern over this situation among AAA members is such that the Task Force recommends unanimously against inaction.” I am moved to critically respond to that recommendation. Why? Because I see wisdom and courage in the no action option; and real value too, not the least of which is the preservation of the value of academic freedom in our own academic institutions, including the American Anthropological Association.  

Read more

Statement by former provost of Berkeley opposes anthropology boycott proposal Statements

“We urge UC Berkeley’s anthropologists to campaign against this resolution and to resist the idea of an academic boycott. We have two main reasons for this call: (1) the double standard implicit in the resolution; and (2) the impact of such boycotts on the purposes and credibility of academia.

First, the double standard: We find such an institutional initiative against Israel disturbing, when extensive slaughters are taking place elsewhere in the Middle East, causing deaths and casualties literally thousands of times greater than the casualties among Palestinians at the hands of Israelis. Surely, all Muslim lives matter.

Read more

Nick Dirk’s opposition to the ASA boycott of Israeli academic institutions Statements

“A recent decision by the American Studies Association, ASA, to impose an academic boycott on Israel is a regrettable step that subverts academic freedom. Any limit on the open exchange of knowledge and ideas stands in direct opposition to the scholarly values and goals we uphold as an institution. UC Berkeley fully supports the position taken by the Association of American Universities, AAU, against this academic boycott.”

-Berkeley News, “Chancellor opposes academic boycott of Israel”

Read more


The BDS AAA Resolution We Want to Defeat

This resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions was endorsed by a vote of 1040-136 at the American Anthropological Association business meeting on November 20, 2015. It will now be forwarded to the entire membership of the AAA for a final vote via electronic ballot in spring 2016.

The resolution was submitted by Nadia Abu El-Haj, Lila Abu-Lughod, Fida J. Adely, Talal Asad, Amahl Bishara, Brian Boyd, Karen Brodkin, Steven C. Caton, Lara Deeb, Donald L. Donham, Ilana Feldman, Les W. Field, Sondra Hale, Thomas Blom Hansen, Engseng Ho, Rhoda Kanaaneh, Ahmed Kanna, J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, Nadine Naber, Julie Peteet, Jemima Pierre, David Price, Junaid Rana, Lisa Rofel, Daniel A. Segal, Ajantha Subramanian, Michael Taussig, and Jessica Winegar.


Whereas for decades, despite condemnation by the United Nations and other international bodies, the Israeli state has denied Palestinians — including scholars and students — their fundamental rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination through ethnic cleansing, colonization, discrimination, and military occupation; and

Whereas the United States plays a decisive role in enabling Israel’s systematic violations of Palestinians’ basic rights under international law, and U.S. academic institutions facilitate Israeli academic institutions’ complicity by continuing to maintain close, extensive and privileged ties with them; and whereas the AAA is a leading U.S.-based academic association; and

Whereas anthropological frameworks and methods, ethnographic and archaeological, are actively used by the Israeli state to further occupation and colonization; and whereas the AAA has committed in its Statement of Purpose to “Take action on behalf of the entire profession” and “Promote the… constant improvement of professional standards in anthropology;” and

Whereas the AAA’s 1999 Declaration on Anthropology and Human Rights states, “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” and “the AAA has an ethical responsibility to protest and oppose… deprivation;” and whereas the AAA has historically upheld those rights, including the right to education and academic freedom, for peoples around the world; and

Whereas Israel has obstructed Palestinians’ right to education by destroying Palestinian universities and schools in military strikes; periodically raiding and forcing those institutions to close; preventing Palestinian anthropologists from freely studying their own society; preventing Palestinian archaeologists from accessing, studying, stewarding, or protecting their own cultural heritage; and restricting Palestinians’ movement which limits their ability to attend and work at universities, travel to conferences, and study abroad; and

Whereas the Israeli state and universities systematically deny Palestinian students in Israeli educational institutions rights and resources equal to their Jewish Israeli counterparts; and

Whereas Israeli scholars and students who criticize Israeli state policies and who support the academic boycott of Israeli institutions do so under threat of sanction; and

Whereas Israel routinely harasses and imposes severe restrictions on foreign academics seeking to attend conferences or conduct research in the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as on scholars of Palestinian origin who wish to travel to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories; and

Whereas Israeli academic institutions have been directly and indirectly complicit in the Israeli state’s systematic maintenance of the occupation and denial of basic rights to Palestinians, by providing planning, policy, and technological expertise for furthering Palestinian dispossession; and

Whereas the vast majority of Palestinian civil society organizations, including the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors, have called for an international boycott of Israeli academic institutions as part of the broader boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement; now therefore

Be it resolved that the AAA as an Association endorses and will honor this call from Palestinian civil society to boycott Israeli academic institutions until such time as these institutions end their complicity in violating Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law; and

Be it further resolved that the AAA leadership, in accord with the governance procedures of the Association’s bylaws, is charged with implementing this boycott and determining how to do so with reference to both (a) the Association’s own mission, and (b) the attached appendix; and

Be it further resolved that this boycott pertains to Israeli academic institutions only and not to individual scholars, and also that individual anthropologists are free to determine whether and how they will apply the boycott in their own professional practice; and

Be it further resolved that in implementing this boycott, the AAA will support the rights of students and scholars everywhere to engage in research and public speaking about Israel/Palestine and in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.



Background for the Resolution

For decades, Israel’s colonization of Palestine and the accompanying widespread and systematic abuses it has committed have been a matter of public record, extensively documented by the United Nations and leading human rights organizations. These have included violations of academic freedom and the right to education. Israeli academic institutions are party to these abuses.

An academic boycott has an important role to play in pressuring Israel to end these abuses. Israel stands apart from other states that routinely engage in mass human rights abuses due to the level of support it receives from the United States. At the governmental level, Israel is the leading recipient — in absolute and per capita terms — of official U.S. aid, much of which goes to purchase weapons used to oppress, maim, and kill Palestinians. More than with any other country, the U.S. regularly thwarts any concerted action at the United Nations to curb Israel’s abuses, in the face of near-universal condemnation by the international community. Furthermore, Israel enjoys extensive ties with academic and cultural institutions in the U.S. As a result, Israel depends on the U.S. not only for diplomatic and military aid, but also for its sense of legitimacy in the face of international condemnation.

The academic boycott is an act of protest against Israel’s violations and an act of solidarity with our Palestinian colleagues. It is also a rejection of the support that the U.S. government provides Israel, enabling it to act with impunity. Israel’s dependence on the U.S. makes it vulnerable to popular pressure, such as boycotts, from U.S. organizations. Boycott functions by making complicity with the status quo burdensome for Israeli academic institutions. It provides a concrete and proven way that scholars can participate in amplifying that pressure. The academic boycott has also already prompted conversation and learning among many in the United States, Israel/Palestine, and elsewhere. The extraordinary efforts of the Israeli state and organizations opposed to criticism of Israel to counteract the boycott are signs that it is effective.  

As a discipline with origins inextricably tied to the history of colonialism, anthropologists are well-placed to recognize and speak out against colonial practices, especially when they are supported by our government and within our society. The AAA has taken strong stances against such violations of rights in the past, via resolutions as well as boycotts. Boycotts have been effective in similar struggles for liberation and justice, including in apartheid South Africa. This boycott is called for by over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations, including all Palestinian universities. Several other U.S.-based academic associations have endorsed the boycott, including the American Studies Association, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, the Association of Asian American Studies, the Critical Ethnic Studies Association, the Peace and Justice Studies Association, and the Association for Humanist Sociology. All of these associations remain perfectly healthy – financially, legally, and in terms of membership numbers – after doing so. The National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies passed a boycott resolution at their April 2015 conference, and discussion of the boycott continues at the National Women’s Studies Association, the Modern Languages Association, and elsewhere.

Implementation of the Boycott

This resolution calls for the AAA — as an Association — to implement an academic boycott of Israeli institutions. If the boycott is adopted, the AAA will refrain from any formal collaborations or other relationships with Israeli academic institutions, including the Israeli Anthropological Association. There are no such relationships at this time, so adopting the boycott would formalize the current status quo in this regard.

The resolution applies to academic institutions only. 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. Indeed, one of its goals is to encourage dialogue about human and academic rights in Israel/Palestine grounded in a set of shared principles of justice.

This resolution does not impose any requirements on AAA members acting in their individual capacities. Under this resolution, individual members will remain free to make their own decisions about whether or not to support the boycott in their own professional practice, such as whether to accept Israeli grants, attend conferences in Israel, or publish in Israeli journals.

The boycott would affect Israeli institutions in the following ways: those institutions would not be able to be listed in AnthroGuide, advertise in AAA venues, or participate in the AAA Departmental Services Program (DSP), the Career Center, or the Graduate School Fair. In addition, the boycott precludes granting permission to copy and reprint articles from AAA publications to journals and publications based at Israeli institutions.

The boycott may also preclude the AAA from selling Anthrosource access to Israeli institutions. However, individual AAA members from Israel would still have access to Anthrosource through their personal membership. Permanent residents of Israel qualify for AAA membership at the rate for “Less Developed Countries,” which is $US 30 per year. This is the same rate that applies to Palestinians in Israel/Palestine as well as in the broader Middle East/North Africa region.

We anticipate that endorsing the boycott will have minimal financial ramifications for the AAA. Currently, there are no Israeli institutional members of the DSP, so there will be no financial losses in that regard. Other academic associations that have adopted the boycott have seen their membership numbers increase and none of those associations have sustained significant legal costs. If the boycott is adopted, the AAA leadership would be entrusted to determine how best to proceed in order to ensure its implementation to the greatest extent possible while maintaining the financial viability of the Association.


How could any social scientist, academic or human being even consider this kind of blatant discrimination? Not least of all the Profession of Anthropology. it is conduct unbecoming of anyone who stands for academic freedom. As many have said throughout history once a single group is discriminated against in this manner, nobody at all is free and humanity is degraded.

The call for boycott demonstrates, once more, how inconsistent U.S.-American anthropologists have become. I am resolutely vs. the boycott. Indeed, I’d like to interface w/ Israeli institutions.

For what real reason? Guilt by association is no logical reason at all! Let's not join the ill educated, illogical individuals in Congress and do something illogical as well. After all, aren't Anthropologists Scientist? You know, well-educated, thoughtful, critical thinkers, weighing and balancing data, not running on emotion?

The University of Chicago's President Zimmer has taken a clear stand against academic boycotts, just as many of his predecessors have done. Universities—and professional associations such as the American Anthropological Association—are the place for the free exchange of ideas. One can have strong opinions about the Israeli-Palestinian situation and these views should be debated and strongly represented. Passage of the April resolution will degrade the AAA's credibility as an academic and professional institution.

Let's not let it happen!

Excellent position paper. The Term BDS should be properly translated into Bullying, Deceit and Slander as that is what it is. It must be stopped in its tracks--for the future of world-wide academia, for the protection of academics and all countries, for the prevention of what is often veiled anti-Semitism at the macro- scale and to protect the good name and inherent credibility of the AAA.

I won't be able to vote in the AAA ballot because I resigned from the AAA - not directly because of this, but because of things like this.

I support this resistance to the BDS boycott.

I oppose the AAA singling out Israel for boycott.

I am in complete agreement with this statement and plan to share it with as many colleagues as possible. It is time to stand up for academic freedom and prevent attempts to turn the AAA into a radical NGO.

The boycott is absurd and is contrary to our general ideals.

I oppose any boycotts, especially as one-sided as this. Try to apply the same criteria to other countries and see how many more you can boycott.

The proposed boycott especially will target and mute the many Israeli academics, Jewish, Palestinian, and secular, who have for many years struggled actively against the regime's inhumanity and Arab intransigence.

As an Israeli academic, I reject the Boycott movement in spite of my opposition to the current policy of the government, since I do not believe that it will move policy into a more constructive direction, and will isolate the sane professionals who are working towards change and criticism of the present government.

The founders of BDS openly stand for the elimination of the state of Israel.

I oppose all academic boycotts.

Academic punishment of a society/nation by way of location is unacceptable. Academia and political conflict are not one and the same and blocking academics from participation from AAA related events silences the voices of those who can potential speak to certain issues from a true emic perspective.

The only stable and liberal democracy in the area, having to defend itself as it has since 1948...

Be fair. Either divest globally, or do not divest at all.

I agree with your Mission Statement.

I have already stated my opposition to the AAA resolution re the BDS movement in a letter to its officers.

Support dialogue, oppose boycott.

Stop, just stop with sophistry and slander.

I agree with the text of this message.

The boycott is not wrong merely because it conflicts with academic principles, but because it supports a genocidal campaign against a free and democratic nation.

The boycott is a violation of the fundamental principles of the World Council of Anthropological Associations, of which the AAA is a member.

I am against the boycott.

It is difficult to imagine how intelligent people can be so misinformed
To support BDS in the only democracy that the region has ever known
The world is backwards

As a fellow of the Am. Anthro. Assoc. I am very much against the Anthro boycott! Please reconsider.

I fail to see why this boycott is a good idea.

This sets a dangerous precedent and is narrowly targeted at the human rights violations of one nation, while ignoring similar atrocities in the US.

The AAA is our key organization which should not require its members to sign on to particular political positions. We must support academic freedom.

This represents yet another potential blunder by the AAA. It's at least as damaging to the discipline as the Chagnon witchhunt and the "we're no longer scientists" debacle. This nonsense needs to stop. Professional societies must be apolitical.

Both Israelis and Palestinians are victims of the same, broader geopolitics that ravage the mid east. Academic boycotts only furthers the problem.

Academic research should be above politics.

Academic freedom and the exchange of ideas is critical for the discipline of anthropology. The boycott reflects perhaps a failure in our shared discipline to instill nuanced critical thinking skills within global, regional, and local contexts that is both holistic and multi-vocal in spirit.

Israel is receiving unfair treatment and academic departments are unfairly targeting Israel in the BDS campaign.

This sounds perilously close to book-burning.

Free academic exchange is the basis of an ever-improving understanding of human nature. As a member of AAA, I don't want to see us start down this slippery slope of exclusionary practices -- especially us, a discipline committed to breaking down barriers, not building them up!

I do not support the boycott.

Legalize freedom!

Please do not lower the academic respectability of the AAA.

I understand the sentiment of people who call for boycotts of West Bank settlements. I cannot understand the sentiment of someone who would boycott Israeli academics.

Academic boycotts can backfire on the very persons who sponsor them.

I fully support this move to foil an anti-democratic attempt to prevent the free expression of ideas.

Perhaps we need multiple AAAs. One could represent Anthropology as a discipline, the others could represent the political views of selected anthropologists. Maybe one could boycott Israel, another the Palestineans, a third one France, a fourth one Spain, and so on.

The BDS academic boycott of Israel is misguided hostility.

Anthropology teaches us to find a common language, not build walls

I hope many others will sign this!

I stand firmly with the Against Anthro Boycott position. Guilt by association, the limiting of academic freedom, the discrimination by ethnicity/nationality is plain wrong. Anthropology can and should do better than that. I am for an equitable resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but BDS is NOT the way.

People should engage in honest and robust dialogue, and as long as they are willing to do so, no boycotts.

If the boycott measure passes it will be a black mark on the field of anthropology.

To pass this is to admit that academic freedom is dead. When a small group with their narrow political agenda can carry the day then no one is safe.

I support academic freedom, so I do not support the AAA boycott of Israeli Institutions.

Boycotting Israeli universities does not promote peace and tolerance, is an attack on academic freedom, and creates new antagonisms against the most liberal sectors of Israel. This will make a two-state solution less likely. As the peace process is halted by a lack of reasonable, courageous and sensible leaders on both sides, this is not the time to boycott Israel or Palestine. This is the time to engage with their cultural and educational institutions.

Discourse can only be effective if everyone has a voice.

It's tragic though unsurprising that BDS's purportedly liberal agenda lands itself in agreement with the racists and fascists of the extreme right. As a student I benefited tremendously from Israeli scholarship, and would not want others to miss out on those same opportunities.

I am opposed to boycotts against all collective entities, and certainly against this one.

When we boycott China, Russia, Sudan, Myanmar and a host of Middle Eastern nations where the rights of women, gays and religious / cultural minorities are routinely violated then we can consider Israel. Some people say "Israel" instead of "Jew" because they want to avoid anti-Semitism. Others, because they want to mask their anti- Semitism.

It is important to keep politics from masquerading as science.

Academic freedom should transcend over any bias, discrimination and politics.

I'm in absolute agreement with the mission statement.

I am opposed to this boycott. It is an act of hypocrisy and an embarrassment to the profession. It is also an affront to intellectual freedom.

The idea of boycotting Israeli scholars and academic institutions is repugnant!

I agree with statement.

I oppose a preposterous boycott which is irrelevant to the serious political issue falsely invoked here.

Please don't allow a hateful few destroy the field of Anthropology for the rest (which is what will happen if this boycott resolution is approved).

While boycotts may be entirely effective when the target of the boycott happens to profit from negative consequences to others, I see no purpose to this boycott; moreover, it seems to be an avenue to impede, not facilitate, resolution to the stated problems.

I am strongly opposed to the proposed AAA boycott against Israel. There is no justification to supporting a boycott against Israel (the only democracy in the Middle East) prior to a boycott against ISIS, Iran, North Korea, China, Uzbekistan, Somalia, Libya, Hamas, Hezbolleh, Boko Haram, and others. This proposal is inherently anti-Semitic, and beneath the dignity and purpose of the American Anthropological Association. While most of us, including myself, support a two-state (or three-state) solution to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, with the Middle East in such turmoil, this is not an opportune time to try to force this to be imposed on Israel.

Boycott is shortsighted. Only hurts our colleagues.

This effort by the AAA is ignorant of the facts in Israel and limits scholarship, it does not promote it. It also limits important work already being done in Israel by those who are trying to understand the past and the current situations. This is a horrible display of anti Israeli bias.

Learned societies have no business trying to force direct political action on their members by majoritarian votes. It is completely alien to their purpose. Nor have they any right to conduct individual witch hunts against their own members. I parted ways with the AAA establishment over its attempts to punish our South African colleagues for the actions of their government and their scurrilous treatment of Napoleon Chagnon. I suspect they are a lost cause but I hope the members rebel (as they did with Chagnon) and repudiate this latest effort at thought control.

Israeli academics have been at the forefront in supporting dialogue, and this boycott hurts them and their students.

They also have not boycotted us because of our government's actions currently, or in the last fifty years of US intervention across the world.

I abhor the current Israeli government’s treatment of the Arab populations under its control. But I also abhor any of the many ways in which academic freedom is increasingly restricted, including official Israeli suppression of Palestinian academic activity. I am on record as having fought against nationalist attacks, specifically in the Greek-speaking world, against academic work recognizing minority issues and rights, and as having defended individuals’ academic freedom in this country as well. It would therefore be inconsistent for me to support a sweeping boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Rather, I would urge our Association to demand that the Israeli universities provide proof that they are not actively involved in any programs that negatively target Palestinian or other minority groups, or that they desist immediately from any such collaboration with the Israeli government. If they fail to respond (and our Israeli colleagues must take the lead in demanding that they do so), I would then wholeheartedly support a boycott specifically targeting those universities that had offended in this way, and I would also support targeting American universities that continued to collaborate with those institutions in work that was demonstrably deleterious to the wellbeing of Palestinians living under Israeli rule. It may be that the offending institutions will turn out to be in the majority, but, in that case, the boycott will have a specific goal and a morally defensible argument. A generic boycott would backfire, and could also encourage the persecution of Palestinians who expressed doubts of the kind that I have suggested here; it is noteworthy that few enough have come forward as it is (and we have no way of knowing whether they would all unequivocally endorse the boycott if they felt that they had complete freedom to decide). Academic freedom means academic freedom for all, and the efforts expended on the boycott would have been far better employed by working for full and unfettered freedom of speech for all Palestinian academics. The current, generic boycott call undermines our right to fight for that important goal.

Shame, shame that such a distinguished body as the AAA should even consider an academic boycott but delighted to see it provoke such strong response. It was solidarity in the academic community that ultimately put a stop to McCarthyism. I hope it can do this again.

I'm dismayed that anthropologists would participate in the BDS movement against Israel. Your field of study would be among the most knowledgeable about the 3000 year history of Israel and the fact that there were no Palestinians before the 1967 war by the Arab countries against Israel. The Palestinians have been offered so many options over the years and have refused them over and over. It is apparent that the Palestinians, so many from Syria and Jordan, want all of Israel. From the river to the sea and to be judenrein. I am not an anthropologist but took three college level anthropology courses as extras because of my respect for the subject. Now I want to respect the anthropology association and ask you to review this decision - it does not fit your area of study to boycott Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.

  • Phil Stevens

    I strongly support the petition.

  • Tom Sheridan

    The boycott of Israeli academic institutions implies that Israel is a uniquely egregious violator of human rights. What about Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Turkey, who are also staunch U.S. allies in the region? And why stop at the Middle East? This is selective — and absurdly ineffective — outrage at its most academically precious worst.


Leave Comment