Over 250 anthropologists join the call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

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

The full statement and signatory list can also be found at

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

These include at least:

30 untenured faculty

5 post-doctoral fellows

5 graduate students

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

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

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Has MW considered how they will deal with future lists with inevitably far higher numbers of signatories.

I would also be interested in how Israel will deal with them. Call them all self hating Jews and antisemitic Jew haters, I suspect.
I suppose netanyahu can go to the UN and expose these meddling academics. He can bring his own supporters. Not many others seem to be swallowing his bs.

Is it pure coincidence that more than one of the targeted professors are on AMCHA’s list…???? However, now 40 of America’s leading Jewish studies professors, including Hasia Diner of New York University and Robert Alter of the University of California, Berkeley, have signed a statement calling AMCHA’s actions “deplorable” and a threat to academic freedom. Bernard Avishai, a business professor who splits his time between Dartmouth College and Hebrew University and who has written extensively… Read more »

That’s great news. BDS will only work if it spreads through not just businesses, but through education, entertainment and media venues as well. Here’s another BDS action in Oakland, California, recently: Pro-Palestine protesters again thwart Israeli cargo ship “The frustrated shipments all belonged to the Zim Integrated Shipping Services, Israel’s largest cargo-shipping business and one of the biggest in the world. According to the company’s website, it has an annual turnover of almost $4bn and… Read more »

Normally I would support this sort of boycott on the grounds of Israel’s moral turpitude but given that it’s anthropologists I wonder if the need to study the fascinating anthropology of Israeli Hebrew speakers and how they see their world in their inimitable all f*cked up style wouldn’t outweigh the benefit of the boycott. Because if whatever they are exhibiting could be named maybe we could start to fix it.

That’s great news. BDS will only work if it spreads through not just businesses, but through education, entertainment and media venues as well.
Please see petition titled –
“Language Experts Protest the Proposal to Change the Status of Arabic in Israel”