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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Statement Opposing Boycott of Israeli Academics [Signatories Now Released]

UPDATE: Names of over 6600 5500 3200 signatories have now been released and can be seen here. Additional names can be added here (scroll to the bottom).

Please consider signing the following "Statement against the Boycott of Israeli Academics." It was written by Anne Rethemann (Freie Universität Berlin), Helmut Walser Smith (Vanderbilt University) and Daniel Siemens (Newcastle University).  It responds to a report in Haaretz of growing cancellations and boycotts of Israeli academics, especially in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Here is a link to the Haaretz report (paywall): https://archive.md/pyavQ.

The statement opposes the boycott of Israeli universities and individual academics because it threatens academic freedom, while also undermining the most open and anti-authoritarian institutions in the country. This is not a statement of support for the Netanyahu government.

I have signed the statement and suggest that others sign it here as well. 

Statement against the Boycott of Israeli Academics
May 14, 2024
We, scholars from various fields of the humanities and social sciences, are deeply concerned about the increasing isolation of our academic colleagues in Israel. Calls for boycotts against Israeli academic institutions are not new, but since the brutal attack by Hamas on October 7th and the subsequent Israeli-Hamas War, these calls have taken on a new dimension. On April 12, 2024, the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz published an article based on interviews with over 60 Israeli scholars and reported an astonishing range of discriminatory practices. These include the termination of scientific collaborations, cancellation of conference invitations, refusal to consider scholarly submissions to journals, rejections of promotion evaluations, and withdrawal of offers for academic appointments, among other instances.

Regardless of how each of us currently analyzes the situation on the ground and evaluates the actions of the Israeli government and army, we want to make clear that we stand against all forms of boycotts targeting Israeli scholars and Israeli academic institutions. We firmly advocate for intensive cooperation and continued work with them. We are also convinced that the gradual, often subtle exclusion of Israeli scholars contradicts fundamental principles of professional comportment and academic freedom. Moreover, an academic boycott against Israel is counterproductive regarding internal Israeli debates as well as Israeli-Palestinian dialogue, as Barak Medina argued in his compelling essay, Is it Justified to Boycott Israeli Academia?

We strongly believe that international exchange – especially in troubled times like these – is essential for maintaining an open and global academic community. The alarming trend of excluding Israeli scholars from international academic discourse requires unequivocal response on our part. We, the undersigned, call on scholars to stand in solidarity with our Israeli colleagues on this critical issue.

Statement Authors
Anne Rethman, Freie Universität Berlin, visiting at Hebrew University 
Daniel Siemens, Newcastle University
Helmut Walser Smith, Vanderbilt University
You can sign here.
Names will be published on Saturday, May 18.

Posted by Steve Lubet on May 18, 2024 at 06:24 PM | Permalink


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