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American Anthropological Association Votes to Boycott Israeli Institutions, BDS Hails Decision

Besides the AAA, several other US academic institutions have in the recent past passed similar resolutions to boycott Israel. These include the American Studies Association, Association for Asian American Studies, and the Middle East Studies Association.
(Photo: Jerusalem Post) 

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,  multiple news outlets reported on Tuesday, July 25. The vote on the resolution was held on July 14 and 15 by electronic ballot, the AAA said in a statement. 2,016 or 71% of those who participated voted in favor of the resolution in the all-member referendum and 835 members 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.”

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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. However, 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 US 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.

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Peoples Dispatch

Peoples Dispatch, formerly The Dawn News, is an international media project with the mission of bringing to you voices from people’s movements and organizations across the globe. Since its establishment three years ago, it has sought to ensure that the coverage of news from around the world is not restricted to the rhetoric of politicians and the fortunes of big companies but encompasses the richness and diversity of mobilizations from around the world.

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