(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) A new report compiled by Dr. Shahar Golan of the right-wing Zionist organization Im Tirtzu has revealed that 20 Israeli academics are encouraging the American Anthropological Association (AAA) to boycott Israel.
The AAA—the world’s largest professional body for anthropologists—has opened a vote among its 10,000 members on whether to sever all ties with Israel. The voting continues until May 31.
The 20 Israeli academics supporting the boycott are university lecturers and faculty members, some of whom receive their salaries from Israeli tax dollars, meaning that they are essentially supporting a boycott against themselves. The AAA boycott would end all cooperation with Israeli researchers. In an effort to stop the boycott motion, the Israeli Anthropological Association wrote a letter to its American counterpart. But two weeks later, 20 Israeli academics who belong to various left-wing groups expressed support for the boycott in a second letter.
“We encourage an open and public discussion of BDS (the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement) and other protest measures,” the letter states.
Among the signatories are Dr. Khaled Furani of Tel Aviv University, Dr. Yeela Raanan of Sapir College, Dr. Dafna Hirsch of the Open University, Dr. Dalit Simchai of Tel-Hai College, Chen Haklai of Tel Aviv University, Dr. Hanna Aviram, Noa Shaindlinger of the University of Toronto, Prof. Daniel Monterescu of the Central European University, Matan Kaminer of the University of Michigan, Adi Moreno of the University of Manchester, Michal Ran-Rubin of the University of Chicago, and Eilat Maoz of the University of Chicago. The letter was also signed by a number of Israeli researchers who apparently do not live in Israel, including Prof. Uri Davis (who converted to Islam and married a Palestinian woman from Ramallah), Dr. Naor Ben-Yehoyada, Eliran Bar-El, Hadas Weiss, Barak Kalir, Hilla Dayan, Erella Grassiani, and Nitzan Shoshan.
Tel Aviv University said in response to the Im Tirtzu report, “The university strongly opposes the academic boycott, and it works on many levels to fight against the phenomenon. In keeping with academic freedom and in accordance with the law in the State of Israel, the university does not intervene in the personal opinions expressed by faculty members.”
The Open University released a similar statement, saying, “The Open University opposes any boycott of Israeli academia, a stance we have expressed repeatedly. Faculty members are free to express their personal opinions on any topic, whether they align with the university’s stance or not.”
Tel-Hai College said regarding Simchai’s support of the boycott letter, “Dr. Simchai is expressing her personal opinion alone. Tel-Hai College strongly opposes any boycott of the State of Israel and condemns those who call for a boycott.” Sapir College said Raanan’s stance “does not represent the stance of Sapir College. The academic boycott of Israel and support of [the boycott] are unacceptable phenomena.”