July 24, 2023 — New York
The American Anthropological Association has voted to boycott Israeli academic institutions and prevent them from participating in association activities in support of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement. American Jewish Committee (AJC) issued this statement in response:
“It is deeply regrettable that the AAA chose to align itself with a movement whose ultimate goal is no less than the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state. While the AAA states that its boycott is only against Israeli academic institutions and not individual scholars, it is all but inevitable that its prohibitions will filter down to professors and researchers. The resolution’s assumption that Israeli academic institutions are complicit in violating Palestinian rights is a canard. Indeed, while the AAA calls Israel “an apartheid regime from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea,” the Israeli government and universities alike have invested deeply in expanding higher education opportunities for Arab Israelis, increasing the number of Arab students in Israeli universities nearly 100% between 2010 and 2020, among many other gains. BDS accomplishes nothing except to foment global hostility against Jewish students and faculty as well as those who support Israel.
While we condemn the outcome of the AAA vote, we are also mindful that it represents the views of a small segment of the organization. Overall, only 37% of members voted on this resolution. When a large scholarly organization adopts such a divisive policy on the basis of a very few vocal stakeholders, the organization itself risks becoming an instrument for extremism. Anthropologists have a unique disciplinary commitment to exploring social complexity, which Israel embodies in so many crucial respects. AJC encourages American university administrators to condemn the AAA’s support of BDS, and encourages them to instead find ways to support scholarly groups and individual researchers, here in America and internationally, who are committed to understanding Israel with the full range of their intellectual resources.”
AJC is the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people. With headquarters in New York, 25 offices across the United States, 14 overseas posts, as well as partnerships with 38 Jewish community organizations worldwide, AJC's mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel, and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world.