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‘We may no longer be permitted—nor permit ourselves—to enter Israel,’ 172 scholars write

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Yesterday we mentioned an open letter signed by scholars of Jewish studies deploring Israel’s passage of a law last week barring travel by those who support boycotts against Israel, including BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) and boycotts of settlement goods. The letter is being circulated by University of California scholar David Biale, who shared it with us, along with the names of the 172 signatories. 

We, the undersigned scholars of Jewish studies, write to express our dismay over the bill passed on March 6 by the Israeli Knesset that would bar entry to any foreigner who supports the BDS movement or supports boycotting settlements or goods produced in the occupied territories. We are researchers with a wide range of professional, social, and personal ties to Israel and a diverse array of ideological positions. But we are unified in our belief that this law represents a further blow to the democratic foundations of Israel, continuing the process of erosion wrought by a recent series of bills including the Regulation Law, the Suspension of MKs Law, and the NGO Law, as well as the earlier Boycott Law. This is unacceptable.

We recall the words of Israel’s Proclamation of Independence promising “full freedom of conscience, worship, education and culture” to all in its midst. We also recall the yearning expressed in it to “admit Israel into the family of nations.” Recent policies, culminating in the latest Law of March 6, move Israel further away from these founding ideals. To begin imposing constraints on thought and speech, in this case directed against foreigners, is dangerous in and of itself. It joins a growing wave of anti-democratic acts in regimes the world over. But it also portends a time when these same constraints might be directed against Israel’s own citizens, especially those who do not support the primacy of Israel’s Jewish character over its democratic aspirations.

Among us are those who oppose the BDS movement, those who oppose BDS but support a settlement boycott, and those who support BDS. In spite of our different views, we stand in strong opposition to the new law. It will be bad for Israel, bad for the cause of democracy at this fragile moment, and bad for the principles of free speech and thought on which our scholarship is based. We hope that the Israeli judiciary will overturn the new law and assure us that our political speech will not prevent us from continuing our rich scholarly interactions with Israeli colleagues in the field of Jewish studies. Should the law stand, we may no longer be permitted—nor permit ourselves—to enter the State of Israel.


Inbal Amit-Palombo

Bonnie Anderson, CUNY

Jessica Andruss, University of Virginia

Joyce Antler, Brandeis University

Ari Ariel, University of Iowa

Janet Krasner Aronson, Brandeis University

Dianne Ashton, Rowan University

Mark Baker, Monash University

Michael Barnett, George Washington University

Albert Baumgarten, Bar Ilan University

Elissa Bemporad, Queens College, CUNY

Mara Benjamin, St. Olaf College

Sarah Benor

Joel Berkowitz, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Lila Corwin Berman, Temple University

Nathaniel Berman, Brown University

Judah Bernstein, NYU/Rutgers

David Biale, UC Davis

Jeffrey Blutinger, California State University, Long Beach

Jonathan Boyarin, Cornell University

Yonatan Brafman

Zachary Braiterman, Syracuse University

Ross Brann, Cornell University

Samuel Brody, University of Kansas

Micha Brumlik, Zentrum Jüdische Studien Betlin, Brandenburg

Andrew Bush, Vassar College

Debra Caplan, Baruch College, CUNY

Jessica Carr

Flora Cassen, UNC Chapel Hill

Sally Charnow, Hoftra University

Aryeh Cohen, American Jewish University

Julia Cohen, Vanderbilt

Judith Cohen

Steven Cohen, HUC-JIR

Alon Confino, University of Virginia, Ben-Gurion University

Jessica Cooperman, Muhlenberg College

Max Daniel, UCLA

Galeet Dardashti, NYU

Rebecca Davis, University of Delaware

Carolyn Dean, Yale University

Evelyn Dean-Olmsted, University of Puerto Rico

Rachel Deblinger, UC Santa Cruz

Irit Dekel, University of Virginia

Nathaniel Deutsch

Hasia Diner, New York University

Daniella Doron, Monash University

Jodi Eichler-Levine, Lehigh University

Susan Einbinder, University of Connecticut

Barat Ellman, Fordham University

Marjorie N. Feld

Kirsten Fermaglich, Michigan State University

Reuven Firestone, Hebrew Union College

Talya Fishman, University of Pennsylvania

Louis Fishman, Brooklyn College, CUNY

David Fishman, Jewish Theological Seminary

Arnold Franklin, Queens College, CUNY

Joshua Furman, Rice University

Libby Garland, Kingsborough Community College, CUNY

Barbara Geller, Wellesley College

Ora Gelley, North Carolina State University

Judith Gerson, Rutgers University

Pinchas Giller, American Jewish University

Erin Graff Zivin, University of Southern California

Cheryl Greenberg, Trinity College

Jeffrey Grossman, University of Virginia

Atina Grossmann, Cooper Union

Aaron Hahn Tapper, University of San Francisco

Liora Halperin, University of Colorado Boulder

Sarah Hammerschlag, University of Chicago

Rachel Havrelock, University of Illinois at Chicago

Alma Heckman

Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth College

Bethamie Horowitz, NYU

Aaron W Hughes , University of Rochester

Sarah Imhoff, Indiana University

Daniel Itzkovitz, Stonehill College

Jack Jacobs, City University of New York

Ari Joskowicz, Vanderbilt University

Jonathan Judaken, Rhodes College

Marion Kaplan, NYU

Brett Kaplan, University of Illinois

Debra Kaufman, Professor Emerita Northeastern University

Michael Kaufman, Retired Professor

Martin Kavka, Florida State University

Agnes Kelemen, Central European University

Ari Y Kelman, Stanford University

Evan Kent, Hebrew Union College

Arthur Kiron, University of Pennsylvania

Michael Kochen, University of Goettingen

Rachel Kranson, University of Pittsburgh

Jonathan Krasner, Brandeis University

Joshua Krug, NYU

Jacob Labendz, Penn State

Hartley Lachter, Lehigh University

Yitz Landes, Princeton University

J. Shawn Landres, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

Berel Lang, Wesleyan University

Lori Lefkovitz, Northeastern University

Paul Lerner, University of Southern California

Arielle Levites, Hebrew College

Laura Levitt, Temple University

Lital Levy, Princeton University

Jason Lustig, UCLA

Shaul Magid, Indiana University

Nadia Malinovich, Université de Picardie/Sciences Po

Charles Manekin, University of Maryland

Barbara Mann

Jessica Marglin, University of Southern California

Tony Michels, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Deborah Dash Moore, University of Michigan

Leslie Morris, University of Minnesota

Eva Mroczek, UC Davis

Harriet Murav, University of Illinois Urbana

David Myers, UCLA

Margaret Olin, Yale University

Ranen Omer-Sherman, University of Louisvlle

Bruce Phillips, Hebrew Union College/USC

Noam Pianko, University of Washington

Shachar Pinsker, University of Michigan

Hannah Pollin-Galay, University of Massachusetts

Riv-Ellen Prell, Univesity of Minnesota

Shari Rabin, College of Charleston

Elliot Ratzman, Swarthmore College

Annette Yoshiko Reed, University of Pennsylvania

Gail Reimer, Jewish Women’s Archive

Kate Rosenblatt, University of Michigan

Bruce Rosenstock, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Lawrence Rosenwald, Wellesley College

Michael Rothberg, UCLA

Nora Rubel, University of Rochester

Jennifer Sartori, Northeastern University

Stuart Schoefeld, York University

Joshua Schreier, Vassar College

Daniel Schwartz, George Washington University

Don Schwartz, California State University, Long Beach

Joshua Shanes, College of Charleston

Noah Shenker, Monash University

Eugene Sheppard, Brandeis University

Amy Shevitz, Arizona State University

David Shneer, University of Colorado, Boulder

Sam Shonkoff, University of Chicago

Jeffrey Shoulson, University of Connecticut

Sam Shuman, University of Michigan

Mara Sobotka

Daniel Soyer, Fordham University

Deborah Starr, Cornell University

Sarah Abrevaya Stein, UCLA

Rebecca Stein, Duke University

Lior Sternfeld, Penn State University

Max Strassfeld, University of Arizona

Mira Sucharov, Carleton University

Shelly Tenenbaum, Clark University

David Teutsch, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Ruth Tsoffar, University of Michigan

Irene Tucker, University of California, Irvine

Jeffrey Veidlinger, University of Michigan

Alana Vincent, University of Chester

Kora von Witelsbach, Cornell University

Jeffrey Wallen, Hampshire College

Mira Wasserman, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Deborah Waxman, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Lauren Weingarden

Alan Jay Weisbard, University of Wisconsin

Shayna Weiss

Beth Wenger, University of Pennsylvania

Sebastian Wogenstein, University of Connecticut

Diane Wolf, UC Davis

Diane Wolfthal, Rice University

Michael Zank, Boston University

Saul Zaritt, Harvard University

Yael Zerubavel, Rutgers University

Maja Zuckerman, Stanford University

172 signatories as of March 12, 2017, 11 AM PST

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this post included the signatory “Adolph Hitler, National Socialist University of Berlin.” We are sorry to our readers for failing to catch this. David Biale who circulated the letter said, “It’s clear that someone was trying to sabotage our statement and we’re discussing how to put safeguards in place so it doesn’t happen again.”
Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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27 Responses

  1. giladg on March 13, 2017, 7:33 am

    Phillip, does this mean you are not going to make any further trips to Israel? That’s it? Sobering thought. Things must be getting serious.
    By the way, did you read the report today. Intel will by buying an Israeli company for 15 Billion US Dollars. And also, gas has started to flow to Jordan. Israel badly needs the extra bucks.

    • jon s on March 13, 2017, 1:18 pm

      Yes, this has been huge news here today, the “biggest ever” deal relating to the Israeli economy:

      • Maghlawatan on March 13, 2017, 3:15 pm

        $15bn is not much. Israel is cute in that regard. If a Jew farts and it’s a big fart Haaretz will publish it.

      • eljay on March 13, 2017, 3:35 pm

        || Maghlawatan: $15bn is not much. … ||

        Except that it’s roughly 5x the ~$3B Israel gets from the U.S. every year, which is usually touted as being too much.

    • amigo on March 13, 2017, 1:31 pm

      “By the way, did you read the report today. Intel will by buying an Israeli company for 15 Billion US Dollars. And also, gas has started to flow to Jordan. Israel badly needs the extra bucks. “.giladg

      Sounds as if it is high time to cut off that 38 billion dollar hand out to poor little Israel.I am sure it could be better spent on the home front to enhance the lives of American Citizens instead of funding war crimes in the blight unto the nations.

    • The Hasbara Buster on March 14, 2017, 2:17 pm

      I recall asking a South African businessman in 1988: “How’s the political situation over there?”. “It’s OK,” he replied. “It’s immoral, but it’s okay. This year, in spite of the boycotts, our economy is growing by 4%, and immigrants are pouring in from all neighboring countries.” That was less than 5 years before the end of Apartheid.

      To paraphrase Bill Clinton: It’s not the economy, stupid.

      • aloeste on March 14, 2017, 9:28 pm

        sounds like what anti-zionists were saying 20-30 years ago….

      • talknic on March 15, 2017, 3:00 am

        @ aloeste March 14, 2017, 9:28 pm

        “sounds like what anti-zionists were saying 20-30 years ago….”

        Israel and Zionists are really slow learners. Steal, lie, falsely accuse and the only people who will like you are either brainwashed, naive or themselves liars. thieves and false accusers

  2. pabelmont on March 13, 2017, 8:49 am

    It’s a beginning. 182 signatories. Out of how many possible?

  3. Talkback on March 13, 2017, 9:17 am

    Well done. BDS has managed to let Israel isolate itself.

  4. W.Jones on March 13, 2017, 10:59 am

    Please explain how this got in the list:
    “Adolph Hitler, National Socialist University of Berlin”

    It’s listed closer to the end and right below
    Rachel Havrelock, University of Illinois at Chicago
    Alma Heckman
    Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth College

  5. Ossinev on March 13, 2017, 1:53 pm

    “Please explain how this got in the list:
    “Adolph Hitler, National Socialist University of Berlin”

    It’s listed closer to the end and right below
    Rachel Havrelock, University of Illinois at Chicago
    Alma Heckman
    Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth College”

    What you have said is nasty,sick and grossly insulting to the individuals listed many of whom no doubt had family members who perished in the Holocaust

    You think you are clever and funny but you are just sad.

    • Mooser on March 13, 2017, 2:14 pm

      “Ossinev” please see the “Editor’s Note” now attached to the list.

      And there are a lot of names which might have been appended to the list which would escape detection a lot longer than “Adolf Hitler”. They need to watch it. What if an ” Prof. Alfred Rosenberg” signed it?

  6. Boo on March 13, 2017, 4:53 pm

    Sad. It’s my Christian “holy land” too, but justice is more important than visiting those special sites. (And anyway, which of those “Jesus Slept Here” signs are authentic?)

    No, until Gazan and West Bank Palestinians can once again worship freely in Al-Masjid al-‘Aqṣā, I too will bar myself from traveling there.

    • RoHa on March 13, 2017, 11:39 pm

      All of them. The guy travelled around a lot.

  7. Ossinev on March 13, 2017, 6:24 pm

    Many thanks for the correction advice.

    @W.Jones – unreserved apologies.

  8. rosross on March 13, 2017, 7:51 pm

    Israel kicks so many own goals that the stupidity level just rises and rises.

    How to alienate people seems to be the art form for Israel. Well done. Alienate academics and next it will be scientists and then it will be every university in the world joining BDS to end the apartheid State of Israel in support of democratic principles.

    • Mooser on March 15, 2017, 1:30 pm

      “How to alienate people seems to be the art form for Israel”

      Maybe Zionists think Jewish exclusivity makes for painless irredentistry?

      • Maghlawatan on March 15, 2017, 3:49 pm

        Jews are very strong in dentistry, Mooser.
        And many Zionists believe that God is with the Zionist project. As if

  9. rosross on March 13, 2017, 7:54 pm


    There are no Gazan or West Bank Palestinians, there are just Palestinians living in Occupied Palestine.

    Gaza is an Israeli held concentration camp in Occupied Palestine and the West Bank is an Israeli euphemism for Palestine because Israel does not want to use the correct name, Occupied Palestine.

    Israelis want to pretend that the Gaza concentration camp is separate from Palestine. It is not. They want to pretend the West Bank is separate from Palestine. It is not. All of it is Occupied Palestine. Everything beyond the UN Mandate is Occupied Palestine.

    • echinococcus on March 14, 2017, 1:07 am

      Well said. Add to that the “UN Mandate” is rather the violated and anyway illegal GA partition proposal area, and it is the Most Occupied Palestine.

  10. aloeste on March 14, 2017, 9:28 pm

    any non-leftists on this list?

    • Mooser on March 14, 2017, 11:26 pm

      “any non-leftists on this list?”

      Maybe one, depending on who you ask, but he got kicked off.

    • talknic on March 15, 2017, 3:06 am

      @ aloeste March 14, 2017, 9:28 pm

      “any non-leftists on this list?”

      Interesting question. Only leftists believe in the law?

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