A Scholarly and Principled Statement on Why the American Association of Anthropologists Supports a Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions


November 6, 2014 by Alfred

Via the former brother-in-law and close friend of this writer who lives in Oaxaca, Mexico, this writer has become aware of the noble, scholarly, and principled statement made by the America Association of Anthropologists in support of an academic and cultural boycott of Israeli institutions, not necessarily of Israeli scholars.

The statement was authored by Ilana Feldman and Lisa Rofel, both distinguished scholars in the field of anthropology.

Ilana Feldman is associate professor of anthropology, history, and international affairs at George Washington U. Her research on the Palestinian experience, inside and outside of historic Palestine, has focused on bureaucracy, policing, and humanitarianism. She is the author of Governing Gaza: Bureaucracy, Authority, and the Work of Rule, 1917-67.

Lisa Rofel is professor of anthropology and director of the Center for the Study of Emerging Worlds at U of California, Santa Cruz. Her research and recent interests include transnational capitalism, postcoloniality, comparative settler colonialisms, and imperial entanglements.

This superbly composed statement is a must read for all genuinely concerned with social and economical justice as most social anthropologists, inter alia, are by the very nature of the discipline they have chosen to embrace.

Incidentally, this writer’s grandfather, after leaving Germany for the USSR, prior to the full assumption of power by the Nazis, was an engineer who stayed in the USSR until close to the end of World War II and then emigrated therefrom to Palestine, where in Haifa he became a Palestinian citizen.

He lived in total harmony with all Palestinians there, which included a small percentage (about 6%) of Palestinian Jews, as well as Palestinian Christians, Palestinian Moslems, and Palestinian seculars such as this writer’s grandfather was as well.

He enjoyed living there until 1947-1948  when a divided United Nations in still in its embryonic stage was manipulated to agree to the infamous Partition of Palestine as a result of which the Palestinians lost 75% of their land and then the process of violent dispossession of their properties and homes ensued as close to one million were forced to leave Palestine and become refugees elsewhere.   His grandfather consequently emigrated to Brazil via England and sowed the seeds of an awareness by his son, and by this writer, of the horrific injustices which the Palestinians who lived in that region for hundreds of years were subjected to , by some of the very same people who had just been the victims of the atrocities against the humanity of Jews and others by the Nazis in Germany, France, and Poland.

The Partition of what was then called “Mandatory Palestine” since it was occupied by the British imperialist after they expelled the Ottoman imperialists, a decision which was at the time strongly objected to by the United States’s Department of State.   The decision was not voted on by the General Assembly and President Truman finally capitulated to undue Zionist pressures to support it.     Former U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson in fact correctly declared that creating Israel on land already inhabited by Palestinians would  ” imperil not only America but all Western interests in the Near East“.  This man’s prescient declaration turned out to be valid to the this day.

There is an abundance of documented evidence which supports the supra statements of this writer, some of which are listed in the “Sources” section of the Argentum Post, but one particularly succinct but substantively loaded bibliographic source which has about 50 % of its volume dedicated to documented citations is titled “Against Our Better Judgment : The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel” by Journalist and author Alison Weir.

So, kudos for the American Anthropological Association for the courageous and principled stand they have taken, as this is an approach which will accelerate the eventual peaceful resolution of the Israel in Palestine generated conflict, either via the “Two State” resolution or, better yet, via the “One State” resolution whereby the status quo ante is brought back by the recreation of a vibrantly upgraded Palestinian Federation wherein all Jews living there will be accommodated and whereto all Palestinians and their descendants will have their inalienable right to return.   The co-healing by the co-reconstruction, co-production, and co-creation of that authentic state entity will inspire other conflicted regions to emulate it and peace with huge dividends will finally break out.


2 thoughts on “A Scholarly and Principled Statement on Why the American Association of Anthropologists Supports a Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions

  1. Marie Estelle Spike says:

    Kudos to the American Association of Anthropologists and to you for your unwavering devotion to truth, peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis.

    • Fred says:

      Thanks, Marie. BTW, one minor error, AAA stands for American Anthropological Association and not American Association of Anthropologists. My error…

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