MLA Academic Boycott Resolution Supporting Evidence Document
MLA requires all proposed resolutions to be supported with documented evidence. The supporting evidence document that accompanies the academic boycott resolution addresses each clause, detailing in particular US support for Israel, the violation of Palestinian human rights, notably the violation of the Palestinian rights to education, the collusion of Israeli universities in the violation of Palestinian rights, and the suppression of solidarity with Palestinians on university campuses in the United States and Canada. The supporting evidence document is thoroughly research and includes international, Palestinian, Israeli, US and European sources.
Download a PDF: mla-supporting-evidence-document
In June, 2016 a group of six MLA members traveled together to the West Bank and Israel to find out what it was like for Palestinian academics and students trying to study, teach, and research at universities in the occupied territories and within Israel itself. In addition to learning about academic conditions under occupation, the group also wanted to hear directly from Palestinian scholars and students about their thoughts on the academic boycott of Israeli institutions. They also met with a number of Jewish Israeli leftwing academics and activists to hear about the opportunities for change from within the regime. In the course of their eight day trip the group met with undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and university administrators at six universities in the occupied West Bank — Birzeit University in Ramallah, Bethlehem University, An-Najah University in Nablus, Palestinian Technical University–Kadoorie in Tulkarm, and Hebron University – as well as both Palestinian and Jewish academics and students from a number of Israeli universities. The report includes a detailed account of how Palestinian education has been undermined by Israeli checkpoints, impediments to travel, obstacles to getting materials, raids on campuses, arrests, denial of entry to foreign faculty, and restrictions on research. It also addresses the complicity of Israeli academic institutions in the occupation and the unequal treatment of Palestinian faculty and students in Israel. The report presents the positions of Palestinians and Israelis on the academic movement, making a convincing case for an MLA resolution endorsing the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Included here are selected excerpts from the report. Click the link below to download a pdf of the complete 23 page report.
Download a pdf of the entire report: MLA Members’ Report on Palestine Trip
Social Text online
This periscope brings together political analyses of the academic boycott as a global movement, from different political locations and contexts of struggle, as a way of taking stock of past gains and challenges and providing directions for the future. In this collection, edited by Sunaina Maira and Neferti Tadiar, Sunaina Maira highlights the radical significance of the boycott for struggles within the U.S.; Salma Musa traces the anti-colonial and anti-apartheid political genealogy of the academic boycott; Haidar Eid addresses the boycott’s strategy of denormalization as a means to decolonization; Kristian Davis Bailey argues for the need to develop the interconnections between racial and colonial violence; Robin D. G. Kelley argues for Black-Palestinian solidarity as a political stance; and Steven Salaita underscores the principles of decolonial activity and justice that will spell the future of the BDS movement.
Palumbo-Liu vs Nelson & Brahm
For a comprehensive critique of The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel, edited by Cary Nelson and Gabriel Noah Brahm, see David Palumbo-Liu’s review essay “Not so Much anti-Boycott as Pro-Israel” [symploke 23.1-2 (2015)].
Download pdf of palumbo-liu Not so Much anti-Boycott as Pro-Israel.
Below is a list of resources posted on the website of Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions. The main arguments for anthropologists to endorse the academic boycott of Israel also apply to other social science and humanities disciplines.
Especially useful among the anthropology resources is the Report to the Executive Board drafted by The Task Force on AAA Engagement on Israel-Palestine (October 1, 2015). Task Force Members: Ramona Perez (Executive Board Liaison), Niko Besnier, Patrick Clarkin, Hugh Gusterson, John L. Jackson, Katherine Spielmann, Ed Liebow (AAA Staff Coordinator), and Katie Vizenor (AAA Staff Liaison).
A summary of the Task Force report and a link to the full text can be found here.
Anthropologists for the Boycott issued a statement on the Task Force Report: “A Case for Action: The AAA Task Force Report on Engagement with Israel/Palestine”
For an analysis of the report, see Lori Allen & Ajantha Subramanian, “Engaged Anthropology: The AAA’s Task Force Report on Israel/Palestine”
Anthropologists for the Boycott submitted “The Relevance of Anthropology for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions” to the AAA Task Force on Israel/Palestine.
FAQs & Handouts
For responses to the most common objections to the boycott, see the “Yes, but…” section of Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions website.
Also see Anthropologists for the Boycott’s two-page handout on “Myths and Facts About the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions”
Anthropologists for the Boycott have prepared a teach-in packet with everything you need to get started.
Endorsements of the AAA academic boycott resolution
Jewish Voice for Peace has endorsed our resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions
Numerous anthropologists have written statements explaining why they have decided to support the boycott. These include:
- Thomas Blom Hansen, “Why I Support the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions“
- Talal Asad, “Why Do I Support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement?“
- Brian Boyd, “Archaeology and the Boycott“
- James Ferguson, “Israel BDS — Why I Signed … Reluctantly“
- J. Lorand Matory, “Hurt People Hurt People“
- Ann Laura Stoler, “By Colonial Design: or Why We Say We Don’t Know Enough“
- Mick Taussig, “Why I Urge Support for BDS“
Read all of endorsements of the AAA boycott resolution here.
For a concise statement outlining Anthropologists for the Boycott position, see Lisa Rofel and Ilana Feldman on “Why Anthropologists Should Boycott Israeli Academic Institutions”
For information on the impact of boycott movements on Israeli policy, see “Is an Academic Boycott Effective? Ask Israeli Leaders”
Why have some anthropologists elected to support the boycott anonymously? Ajantha Subramanian and Lori Allen explain in “Debating the Academic Boycott of Israel in a Climate of Fear”
For information on implementing the boycott on your own, see our document “Boycotting Academic Institutions — Advice for Anthropologists.”
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, Guidelines for the International Academic Boycott of Israel (Revised July 2014)
The academic boycott is in part an act of solidarity with our Palestinian colleagues whose human rights and academic freedom are routinely violated. Several Palestinian anthropologists have written about what the boycott means to them:
- Rhoda Kanaaneh, “Nakba Walks“
- Amahl Bishara, “Wearing Catastrophe on our Chests“
- Dina Omar, “We Are All Uncomfortable: On Academic Boycott & What is Productive“
Read all of our statements from Palestinian colleagues here
We call for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions, not Israeli scholars. Israeli colleagues have taken important steps to support an open discussion of the boycott, including organizing this open letter.
Read this eloquent essay by an Israeli graduate student who for legal and other reasons must remain anonymous. “It’s not the end of the world, it’s a necessary challenge to our cosmology.”
See also Israeli anthropologist Hilla Dayan’s powerful statement in support of the boycott.
Israeli anthropologists also issued this statement criticizing an anti-boycott resolution passed by the Israeli Anthropological Association.
American Studies Association
“What does the academic boycott mean for the ASA” provides a point-by-point explanation of the associations endorsement of the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.