Anton Shammas’s Statement in Support of a Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

Anton Shammas, a Palestinian writer and translator of Arabic, Hebrew and English, is Professor of Comparative Literature and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

We are constantly baffled by voices who keep telling us that the state of affairs in Palestine-Israel is far too complex, far too grey in order for us to take a clear, black-and-white stand in boycotting Israeli academic institutions. With the exception of some individual Israeli academics, whom we should celebrate, Israeli academic institutions, with no exception, should be boycott for being an acquiescing, unanimously complicit part in the almost 50-year old atrocious, murderous, quintessentially evil and colonialist Israeli occupation of Palestinian bodies, souls, minds, lives and lands – the longest, best American-funded occupation in modern history.

It’s not a case of greys but, rather, a case of clear-cut black and white: BDS-ing Israeli academic institutions, that disgracefully and shamefully have never raised a single voice against occupation, is the only nonviolent action left for us to say No to the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and—yes!—the Golan Heights.

Israeli academics who sham innocence, and have the sheer audacity of telling us the boycott against Israeli academic institutions would primarily hurt them, are the perfect, shameful epitome of the ongoing Israeli claim that, all things considered, Israel is always and forever the ultimate victim of the occupied Palestinians. This kind of sickening logic shouldn’t be practiced by academics. Period.

It’s an unequivocally moral imperative for MLA members to support this resolution: Please say Yes to Justice!