The American Anthropological Association (AAA) announced on Monday that its members had approved a pro-BDS resolution prohibiting collaboration with Israeli academic institutions.
The measure passed by a 2,016-835 (71%-29%) vote, with 37% of eligible AAA members casting a ballot.
“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,” AAA President Ramona Pérez stated.
The resolution forbids 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.
– where within AAA’s control, republishing and reprinting articles from AAA publications in journals and publications owned by Israeli institutions.
A similar resolution was voted down in 2016.
In recent months, the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) had signed two different joint calls — one organized by the AMCHA Initiative and the other by the Alliance for Academic Freedom and Academic Engagement Network — urging the rejection of the new resolution.
“This is a dark day for higher education and, far worse even, a truly dangerous day for all students, especially Jews,” AMCHA Initiative Director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin stated on Monday. “For the very first time, a major discipline has endorsed bringing the antisemitic BDS campaign into the classroom.”
“Make no mistake about it, contrary to what proponents would like you to believe, the biggest victims of academic BDS are not the Israeli institutions targeted by the AAA resolution, but students on U.S. campuses,” she added.
@AMCHAInitiative statement on @AmericanAnthro vote to endorse academic BDS:
“[After] AAA reprehensible action & called for substitution of hateful political advocacy/activism for scholarship, [now] university leaders [need] to protect students & academy.”https://t.co/P9tReJHwDy pic.twitter.com/gZJfk9N9Ya
— The AMCHA Initiative (@AMCHAInitiative) July 24, 2023
Miriam Elman, executive director of the Academic Engagement Network, said that AAA had done “profound damage to its reputation.”
“At a time when there’s so many threats to academic freedom and open inquiry, it’s disheartening to see a professional association actively working to mandate an intellectual orthodoxy and curb scholarly exchange,” she noted.
@TheAENetwork has released a statement expressing deep opposition to the decision of @AmericanAnthro members to vote in favor of a resolution to boycott #Israeli academic institutions https://t.co/l04gvs7gxP
— Academic Engagement Network (@TheAENetwork) July 24, 2023