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

4 thoughts on “Over 250 Anthropologists Join the Call for a Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions”

  1. Tragedies like this happen when academics, the very people we expect to examine issues with great depth before taking action, choose to blindly follow a few deeply troubled “leaders.”

    No one was boycotting Iran when the Regime systematically destroyed every single piece of Zoroastrian culture and their collective works of mathematical, literary and scientific achievement. The archaeologists are doing nothing with the systematic destruction of indigenous cultures’ space as the cattle, corn and cane industries overtake the region they’ve called home for centuries–including those formerly uncontacted people. So too, archaeologists are saying NOTHING about Central American governments tearing down ancient pyramids to make way for resorts. Israel is doing none of that.

    We all know how important the Levant is to archaeology and the context of agroindustrial society’s birth. Several of my former professors (Jewish and not Jewish) have engaged in ground-breaking research there in everything from Neandertal skulls to ancient bee keeping.

    Plus, as someone who believes in Peace, the only way to peace is through keeping the channels of open dialogue alive with light and free communication. Just like in the US, Israeli institutions of learning are a bastion of social change and social justice advocacy and silencing that voice on a global scale is a terrible idea.

    Most of the people who are our age there NEED those voices to be heard because, ever since the anti-peace branch of the Palestinian community launched the first Intifada in the 1980s, there’s been less and less exposure to each other’s communities. Fear breeds isolationism and academic boycotts are isolationism at their pinnacle of ineptitude.

    You have no idea how disappointed this makes me. Anyone who is boycotting is taking a stand against the very dialogue that might salvage the peace process.

    1. Edit: The archaeologists are doing nothing with the systematic destruction of indigenous BRAZILIAN cultures’ space as the cattle, corn and cane industries overtake the region they’ve called home for centuries–including those formerly uncontacted people.

      1. An excellent letter from some Israeli colleagues in support of a free and open discussion about the boycott thoughtfully addresses these points: https://sites.google.com/site/anthropoligstsletter/.

        They argue that the image of Israeli universities as lonely islands of dissent is sorely misplaced and point out the irony of attempts to invoke “dialogue” as a pretext to shut down discussion of the boycott.

        Also very important: the boycott does not prevent collaboration with allies inside the Israeli academy. Under the boycott, individual Israeli scholars can still be invited to conferences outside Israel, publish in academic journals outside Israel, and the like. The guidelines are flexible: for example, because we do not call on Israelis to boycott their own institutions, an Israeli scholar with state funds can still be invited to a conference abroad. For more information, see the guidelines published by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel: http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1108

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