Statement on the American Anthropological Association (AAA) Boycott Resolution

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This membership-wide vote will be the second time that the AAA has considered whether the organization and its members should sever ties with Israeli academic institutions. Back in 2016, the AAA’s full membership was also asked to endorse a similarly deeply divisive measure and voted against a boycott. Seven years later, the principles at stake are unchanged and cutting off relationships with Israeli universities is more ill-advised than ever.

The proposed AAA resolution below will be voted on electronically from June 15-30, 2023.

Below is the text of the resolution which includes an article by article rebuttal:


In 2005, 175 Palestinian civil society organizations, including the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE), issued a call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against the Israeli state, in support of the Palestinian struggle for human and political rights, including the basic right of freedom;

Whereas this call for boycott goes back to the infamously antisemitic Durban Conference of 2001, that glorified both Yassir Arafat and bin Laden, and represents not a support for Palestinian human rights but for the extermination of the State of Israel and the elimination of basic human and political rights for Jews…


The Israeli state operates an apartheid regime from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, including the internationally recognized state of Israel, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank, and The 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid and the 1998 Rome Statute to the International Criminal Court (ICC) define apartheid as a crime against humanity. (See also, and further links below).

Whereas the accusations against apartheid Israel represent a propaganda campaign based on a false definition of apartheid (which NGO activists openly admit) which could apply to any country in the world, but is uniquely applied to Israel, and the real definition of apartheid – separate laws and treatment for minorities – which constitutes a crime against humanity, applies to virtually every (non-democratic) Muslim-majority nation (religious and gender apartheid), including the anticipated Judenrein Palestinian state, is never mentioned by supporters of the alleged Palestinian cause…


Israeli academic institutions are complicit in the Israeli state’s regime of oppression against Palestinians (and see also and also), including by providing research and development of military and surveillance technologies used against Palestinians;

Whereas it is the duty of any state to develop techniques to resist hostile attempts to destroy it, and whereas Israeli academia has many professors ferociously hostile to their own state and firmly supportive of the Palestinian cause, any effort to tar Israeli academia with complicity in apartheid is a gross caricature of both apartheid and the academic situation in Israel, and whereas Palestinian academics show not the slightest sign of such dissent from the commitment to destroy Israel…


Israeli academic institutions do not provide protections for academic freedom, campus speech in support of Palestinian human and political rights, nor for the freedom of association of Palestinian students on their campuses;

Whereas Palestinian students are numerous and have extraordinary freedom of speech, assembly, and protest on Israeli campuses


Israeli academic institutions have failed to support the right to education and academic freedom at Palestinian universities, obstructing Palestinian academic exchanges with academic institutions in the US and elsewhere;

Whereas Palestinian universities, unlike Israeli, are characterized by monolithic hostility to Israel and a profound lack of any freedom of speech, the (partial) obstruction of Palestinian “scholars” to wage their war on Israel reflects a legitimate concern….


In 2018, the Israeli government enshrined the principle of Jewish supremacy in a law stating unequivocally that “the right to exercise national self-determination” in Israel is “unique to the Jewish people” and that “Jewish settlement is a national value,” mandating that the state “will labor to encourage and promote its establishment and development,” thus further codifying the second-class status of Palestinians within Israel and normalizing the illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank;

Whereas, Israeli law has repeatedly reaffirmed, most recently in the 2018 Nation-State Law in question, that Israel’s Jewish and democratic character rejects any form of superiority among its citizens, defending the basic human and civil rights of all citizens of all ethnicities, alongside the Jewish right of self-determination in the Jewish national home, and that the interpretation here invoked ignores the international democratic principle (at least since after WW II) that the expression and fulfillment of national sovereignty does not preclude political and civil rights for other groups… whereas the term Jewish supremacism is a racist slur that goes back to the Nazis, and appears in the speech of racist antisemites like David Duke, and whereas further that the Palestinian Islamic movement has repeatedly articulated its own supremacist doctrines, and since its inception in 1964, indicated that Jews within its sovereign, “nation-state” borders will either not have the right to live there, or if so, as a minority with no equal rights (apartheid)…


From the onset of the Nakba, the catastrophic events of 1948 that led to the mass expulsion and displacement of Palestinians from their homes, Palestinians—including activists, artists, intellectuals, human rights organizations, and others—have documented and circulated knowledge of the Israeli state’s apartheid system and ethnic cleansing;

Whereas the Nakba was a term coined by an Arab to describe the catastrophe brought on Palestinian Arabs by Arab leaders who started a war of extermination that they lost, and has subsequently been exploited by propagandists who equated it (grotesquely) to the Holocaust (thousands dead, hundreds of thousands of refugees vs. 6 million civilians murdered), and the activists listed have systematically falsified the evidence in their war on Israel, all the while concealing the ethnic cleansing that was then (1948) and still is (2023) the goal of the Palestinian cause…


Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories have confirmed that Israeli authorities are committing apartheid against the Palestinian people, and have documented the institutionalisation of systematic racial oppression and discrimination, which has been established to maintain the domination of one racial-national-ethnic group over another. These reports corroborate Palestinian knowledge of the Israeli state’s ongoing oppression of Palestinians;

Whereas all of these NGOs, including (astonishingly but predictably given the Jewish penchant for savage self-criticism) Israeli NGOs, have demonstrated an obsession with Israeli misdeeds, and show an equally intense commitment to ignoring and excusing far greater Palestinian misdeeds, to the point where they legitimately qualify as antisemitic, and their findings extensively discredited


The United States funds, arms, defends, and otherwise plays a decisive role in enabling and sustaining the Israel state’s apartheid regime (and see also and also), including the Israeli state’s military occupation of the West Bank, its building and expansion of settlements throughout the West Bank, which international law defines as illegal, and its ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip;

Whereas the European Union extensively funds the NGOs that wage war on Israel, and US support one of the few outside sources of Israel’s ability to resist the Palestinian, and more broadly speaking Muslim supremacist war of extermination… and whereas neither the West Bank nor Gaza would be either “occupied” or “under siege” were they not ruled by war criminals who refuse to make peace with their neighbor because it is not Muslim…


U.S. academic institutions facilitate the complicity and normalization of Israeli apartheid by engaging in academic exchanges with Israeli universities, and otherwise maintaining close, extensive and privileged ties with Israeli universities;

Whereas US universities have extensive ties with Israeli universities which are exceptionally free, especially in the region, where universities – and especially Palestinian ones – do not meet the most basic standards of academic freedom, and produce primarily propagandists…


The Middle East Studies Association, the leading learned society concerned with the region, has extensively debated an academic boycott resolution and passed it, with a super-majority of 80% of its voting members supporting the resolution, indicating a broad scholarly consensus of area experts on this matter;

Whereas the MESA is an academic institution tragically occupied by pro-Palestinian propagandists, and has increasingly abandoned its academic standards and vocation in order to join the war on Israel, and whereas the presence of such political activism contributes significantly to campus antisemitism, and their embrace of BDS has in fact hurt them badly in both membership and associations…

And whereas,

The AAA is a leading U.S.-based learned society;

Whereas AAA courts serious damage to its reputation as a learned society by embracing this war propaganda…


Anthropological frameworks and methods, ethnographic and archaeological, are actively used by the Israeli state to further its system of apartheid and ethnic cleansing;

Palestinian belligerents consistently claim that Israeli actions, either in pursuit of knowledge (archeological digs) or in self-defense (bombing the rocket launchers of Gaza) are an effort to erase “Palestinian identity,” itself the product of the catastrophic choices of their leaders and Soviet propaganda…


The AAA’s Statement of Purpose affirms a commitment both to “take action on behalf of the entire profession” and to “promote the… constant improvement of professional standards in anthropology;”

According to AAA’s statement of purpose, supporting BDS represents an appalling betrayal of professional standards, and contributes to a degradation of the quality of research and knowledge-production that has previously made US Institutions of Higher Learning a beacon to the World community….


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 the deprivation of people’s rights to humanity is extensively practiced throughout the Middle East and in any areas that Palestinians have held power (Lebanon, 1970-82, West Bank and Gaza, 1993-present), AAA has an ethical responsibility to a) protest this behavior, and b) when “scholars” who pay no attention to the deprivation of rights of minorities and dissidents, including academic freedom, in the countries they favor… to refuse their requests to enlist it in a war-propaganda campaign designed to deprive Jews of the right to self-determination…


The discipline of anthropology, as the study of humanity, bears a distinct and urgent responsibility to stand against all forms of racism and racist practices;


Members of the AAA have organized various forums, over many years, for discussion and debate of Palestinian civil society’s call for BDS against the Israeli state, in full embrace of the AAA’s deep commitment to academic freedom and open debate;

Members of the AAA have organized various forums, over many years, for discussion and debate of Palestinian civil society’s call for BDS against the Israeli state, in which, like the Palestinian side they support, the voices of opposition have been severely curtailed…

Now therefore,

Be it resolved that the AAA as an Association endorses and will honor this call 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 resolved that the AAA as an Association refuses to endorse and honor this shameful call to boycott Israeli academic institutions, the only ones to meet world standards of freedom of speech and research, 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 the Association’s own mission; and

Be it further resolved that the AAA leadership, in accord with the governance procedures of the Association’s bylaws, is charged with implementing a call on Palestinian institutions of higher education to allow voices of dissent to arise, in the hopes that such voices would lead to peace with Israel and not the everlasting catastrophe that the current leadership, political, religious and academic have brought on their own people by their irredentist goals in violation of all principles of human rights.

Statement on the American Anthropological Association (AAA) Boycott Resolution

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Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) is not-for-profit [501 (C) (3)], grass-roots community of scholars who have united to promote honest, fact-based, and civil discourse, especially in regard to Middle East issues. We believe that ethnic, national, and religious hatreds, including anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism, have no place in our institutions, disciplines, and communities. We employ academic means to address these issues.

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