The American Anthropological Association (AAA) voted to endorse a boycott of Israeli academic institutions and sever ties with Israeli universities over their role in discriminating against Palestinians.
The vote is considered a major victory for the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
AAA president Ramona Perez described the vote as controversial, but said the decision was collective.
The vote, which was held via electronic ballot between June 15 and July 14, resulted in a landslide victory in favor of the boycott, with 71% voting yes and 29% no.
The association, which was founded in 1902 and includes scholars specializing in cultural, biological, linguistic, medical and applied anthropologists.
Below is the full statement by the AAA following the vote.
AAA Membership Endorses Academic Boycott Resolution
The American Anthropological Association (AAA) membership has voted to endorse a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions. An all-member referendum took place by electronic ballot between June 15 and July 14. Thirty-seven percent of AAA’s eligible members voted, with 2,016 members (71% of the votes) supporting the resolution, and 835 members (29% of the votes) voting to oppose it.
“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,” said AAA President Ramona Pérez. “AAA’s referendum policies and procedures have been followed closely and without exception, and the outcome will carry the full weight of authorization by AAA’s membership.”
AAA’s academic institutional boycott is limited to AAA—as an association—refraining from formal collaborations with Israeli academic institutions. The resolution pertains only to Israeli academic institutions, and not to individual scholars and students affiliated with these institutions. The Association remains steadfastly committed to the protection of academic freedom and the dissemination of anthropological knowledge. With this in mind, the Executive Board has approved the following set of actions aligned with the Association’s core values and mission, barring Israeli academic institutions from:
- being listed in AAA’s published materials, including AAA’s AnthroGuide to Departments
- advertising in AAA publications, websites, and other communications channels, including the AAA Career Center
- using AAA conference facilities for job interviews
- participating in the AAA Graduate School Fair
- participating in the AAA Departmental Services Program
- participating in joint conferences or events with AAA and its sections, and
- where within AAA’s control, republishing and reprinting articles from AAA publications in journals and publications owned by Israeli institutions.
The AAA academic institutional boycott does not prevent:
- individuals affiliated with Israeli academic institutions from registering for and attending AAA conferences, even if their institutions have paid for their expenses
- articles published in AAA journals from being reprinted or republished in journals not owned by Israeli institutions that are edited by individuals affiliated with Israeli academic institutions
- individuals affiliated with Israeli academic institutions from serving as journal editors or Section / AAA elected officials, even if their institutions have paid for related expenses (their institution would be identified as being subject to an institutional boycott)
- individuals affiliated with Israeli academic institutions from publishing in AAA journals, even if their institutions have paid for their expenses, and
- Israeli university libraries from subscribing to AAA journals, including AnthroSource.
The resolution authorizes the Executive Board to come up with an implementation plan, which includes specifying the process by which the Board will consider lifting the boycott. The AAA will lift the institutional boycott when it can be established by a consensus of a group of experts commissioned for this purpose that Israeli academic institutions have substantially ended their complicity in violating Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law. The Executive Board will monitor and evaluate the situation at least every five years, or more frequently as deemed appropriate, and determine whether the boycott should remain in place.
“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,” Pérez added. “We believe that these actions can contribute to the enrichment of the health and welfare of all citizens in the region, increase circulation of anthropological scholarship, ease restrictions on scholars’ travel, increase freedom of expression for Palestinian and Israeli anthropologists, and increase dialogue about how archaeology is used in political arguments.”
(PC, AJA, AAA Website)