US Anthropology Group Joins Academic Boycott of Israel

The American Anthropological Association has become the largest U.S. scholastic group to pass a resolution to boycott Israeli educational institutions, Peoples Dispatch reports. The measure does not extend to individual academics

Israeli soldier during an incursion into the Jenin Refugee Camp in the occupied West Bank in July. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

By Peoples Dispatch

In a major win for the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) has voted to boycott Israel.

The vote on the resolution was held on July 14 and 15 by electronic ballot, the AAA said in a statement. Those who voted in favor of the resolution in an all-member referendum numbered 2,016, or 71 percent, and 835 voted against. 

The resolution was welcomed by the BDS movement and the Palestinian Campaign for the Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

AAA is now the largest and oldest such association to endorse a boycott of Israel. Reports noted that a similar vote with full attendance on boycotting Israel had failed in 2016, but a preliminary vote a year earlier was in favor of boycotting Israel.

Following the announcement, AAA President Ramona Perez in a statement said that:

“this was indeed a contentious issue, and our differences may have sparked fierce debate, but we have made a collective decision and it is now our duty to forge ahead, united in our commitment to advancing scholarly knowledge, finding solutions to human and social problems, and serving as a guardian of human rights.” 

She added that,

“by means of these actions, AAA will contribute to raising critical awareness of the dynamics of peace and conflict in the region, draw attention to the disproportionate suffering of the Palestinian people as a result of the Occupation and what can be done about it, and expand the space for dialogue on these sensitive and important human rights and academic freedom issues.”

The AAA will not collaborate with Israeli colleges and universities on any educational or academic projects. Additionally, Israeli academic institutions will be excluded from being listed in AAA’s published materials, advertising in AAA publications, participating in joint conferences and republishing and reprinting articles from AAA publications in journals and publications. Individual Israeli academics are exempted from the boycott.

The BDS movement in a statement on its website thanked the AAA and those who took the time to “learn from and listen to Indigenous Palestinian voices.”

It also noted that the vote by the AAA was “wholly consistent with the association’s stated commitment to anti-racism, equality, human rights and social justice and furthers the drive to decolonize anthropology and academia in general.”

The statement said that the AAA was joining other academic associations in the U.S. which have also endorsed a similar boycott of Israel in the recent past, such as the American Studies Association, the Association for Asian American Studies, the Middle East Studies Association, the National Women’s Studies Association and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association.

This article is from Peoples Dispatch.  

Views expressed in this article may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

9 comments for “US Anthropology Group Joins Academic Boycott of Israel

  1. Roslyn Ross
    July 27, 2023 at 18:50

    Good to see. These actions ended apartheid in South Africa and it will end it in Israel.

  2. Greg Grant
    July 27, 2023 at 15:12

    This is great. But when are they going to boycott the U.S. which is every bit as morally corrupt but so much more powerful that the human rights abuses by Israel, as evil and blatant as they are, pale in comparison to the harm the U.S. causes globally. I mean you think Palestinians are treated bad, read Bridge of Courage about how the U.S. treats Guatamalans.

    • Burnis Tuck
      July 27, 2023 at 15:27

      Totally agree!

  3. JoeSixPack
    July 27, 2023 at 14:44

    “The AAA will not collaborate with Israeli colleges and universities on any educational or academic projects.”
    “Individual Israeli academics are exempted from the boycott.”

    What exactly does this accomplish? “Israeli academics” may still publish in AAA publications in journals and publications. Which means as far as research from Israeli academics is concerned, it will still be published.

    • Valerie
      July 27, 2023 at 15:55

      It is somewhat stupid Joe. But then, it appears we live in “the age of stupid”:


      • Aime E Duclos
        July 28, 2023 at 08:26

        I see it as very similar to my belief that the Israeli government is running an apartheid state, so that I’m anti-Israel.
        But I hold no hatred of the Israeli citizens.

        To be anti-Israel is not the same as being antisemitic.

        The organization is the issue, not each citizen.

    • Robert Sinuhe
      July 27, 2023 at 17:02

      I disagree with Joe and Valerie. Not sure what ‘stupid’ means but I take it that she disagrees with the AAA’s move. I must ask what existed before this action by the AAA? Answer–nothing. Any action is action, any inaction is agreement.

    • Mike
      July 28, 2023 at 06:28

      It’s really the only way to put pressure on Israel to honor the two state solution which they totally ignore. The next step is to use an economic boycott just as what was done in S. Africa to help eliminate apartheid. I personally do not buy anything made in Israel as I view it as a pariah state.

      • CaseyG
        July 28, 2023 at 18:52

        I don’t think much positive will happen in Israel. The US has given Israel a lot of money over many, many years—-but the American money seems to make those running Israel even more awful towards Palestinians.

        I feel the same way about the money going to Ukraine. Zylensky was talking to Russia, but then America decided to give lots of money to Ukraine, and sadly everyone but Zylensky loses.

        Meanwhile Palestinians have been treated so badly by Israel for the last 75 years and America doesn’t care. Even when American citizens are killed, by Israelis— no one in the US government seems to care. But then, no matter what happens to the dead Americans, that icky little man , Blinken , seems to always say there’s nothing he can do. I think that there’s nothing he WILL do and that is the problem.

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