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Boycott Calls Against Israel
BDS Drive and Politization of Israeli Faculty

10.10.18

 

Editorial Note

A number of issues have preoccupied the Israeli academy lately. 

First, both the Israeli anthropological association (IAA) and the Israeli Sociological Association (ISA) have adopted a resolution boycotting Ariel University.  Prof. Nir Avieli, the president of the IAA, has commended the European Association of Social Anthropology for voting in support of the IAA and ISA denouncement of the regularization of the Israeli educational institutions in the "Occupied" Palestinian Territories. As Avieli sees it, the "troubling issue" is their admittance to the Israeli Council for Higher Education. Avieli explained that "our consequent decision to refuse cooperation with these institutions... is strictly limited to financial and organizational cooperation with the institutions themselves." 

Avieli noted that the "Israeli Occupation” prompted the decision to boycott Ariel University:   
"I assume that you are aware of the complications and difficulties resulting from the ongoing Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israeli anthropology in general and the IAA in particular have a long history of opposing this occupation and demanding that the Israeli government negotiate in good faith with the representatives of the Palestinian people in order to achieve a just peace... This can be summarized as the use of a variety of means, including civilian populations and civilian infrastructure, in order to deepen and perpetuate Israeli control over the Palestinian territories, and to prevent a “two states solution”. The Israeli academic institutions established in the West Bank, foremost among them Ariel University, are particular examples of this sort of violation. These institutions are not open to the Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories, but only to Israeli citizens (including those Israeli settlers living in the Occupied Territories). As such, they are exclusionary institutions, and beyond the pale of academic and anthropological ethics. The violation has recently been exacerbated by the right-wing Israeli government’s policy of “creeping annexation”."  Avieli should be reminded that according to the BDS Law, individuals or organizations who publicize a call for an academic boycott against a specific region under Israeli control, may be sued civilly.

Second, the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University is hosting a conference on "Life Under Occupation” on 31 of October 2018.  Prof. Amiram Goldblum of the Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the Hebrew University and a long time political activist, and Prof. Alon Harel who also doesn't shy away from political activism, are the organizers. The conference has a political agenda, as stated in the invitation: "The conference will deal with the implications of the occupation for various dimensions in Israeli society, including dimensions less familiar to the Israeli public, such as: the implications of the occupation for law, Israeli academia, the Arab minority in Israel, archeology, the perception of the space and the use of nature protection to activate the occupation, etc. The purpose of the conference is to examine the profound impact of the occupation on Israeli and Palestinian society in Israel and the territories. The first two panels will deal with Israel, the third will deal with Jerusalem, while the last two will focus on the impact on the occupied territories."

The conference includes political activist speakers such as Prof. Rafi Greenberg, founder of Emek Shaveh; Dr. Assaf Sharon, director of Molad; Aluf Benn, Haaretz editor-in-chief; Dror Etkes, director of Peace Now’s Settlement Watch; and Dr. Yehudit Oppenheimer, director of Ir Amim; among others. So much so, that the leftist leaning Dr. Yael Berda complained about the choice of speakers, describing it a “political choice.” Doubling down, Harel responded: "There is no doubt this is a political choice”. 

 

Of course a conference concerning the legal aspects of the relations between Israel and the Palestinians is welcome.   But an academic conference should be balanced, featuring a wide-range of views.  Regrettably, there is a long tradition of activist faculty engaging in politics in the guise of academics.  Professor Amnon Rubinstein, the first dean of the Law School at Tel Aviv University and former Minister of Education complained about this type of activism. On "Academic Freedom in Political Conferences", he wrote, "Because of its special status in law and its semi-monopolistic status, it must ensure that conferences on controversial political and social issues do not express a single political and social position, but reflect at least part of the range of existing opinions on the issues under consideration."

Using the prestige of the academy to push radical politics is not cost free.  Over time, the general public has come to identify the universities, notably the social sciences, as beehives of one-sided political activity driven by a small group of self-appointed arbiters of the national moral compass.   As Wilhelm von Humboldt, the German philosopher of education reminds us, the legitimacy of the social sciences has hinged on it the search for a balanced discourse, and a “marketplace of ideas.”  By abandoning these principles, the academy has alienated the very public which it seeks to educate. 







Dear colleagues,
I would like to extend my thanks to Dr. Valeria Siniscalchi, President of the European Association of Social Anthropology (EASA), for providing me with the opportunity to address you with regard to the troubling issue of the exclusionary Israeli educational institutions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. I was greatly heartened to hear that the general assembly of EASA, convened in Stockholm last month, voted overwhelmingly to support the Israeli Anthropological Association (IAA), which I head, and the Israeli Sociological Association (ISA), in their common decision to denounce the regularization of these institutions through their admittance to the Israeli Council for Higher Education (CHE), and our consequent decision to refuse cooperation with these institutions.
            I assume that you are aware of the complications and difficulties resulting from the ongoing Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israeli anthropology in general and the IAA in particular have a long history of opposing this occupation and demanding that the Israeli government negotiate in good faith with the representatives of the Palestinian people in order to achieve a just peace. What you may be less acutely aware of is what scholar Eyal Weizman calls the “civilian occupation” and anthropologist Jeff Halper calls the “matrix of control.” 1 This can be summarized as the use of a variety of means, including civilian populations and civilian infrastructure, in order to deepen and perpetuate Israeli control over the Palestinian territories, and to prevent a “two states solution”.
            The Israeli academic institutions established in the West Bank, foremost among them Ariel University, are particular examples of this sort of violation. These institutions are not open to the Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories, but only to Israeli citizens (including those Israeli settlers living in the Occupied Territories). As such, they are exclusionary institutions, and beyond the pale of academic and anthropological ethics. The violation has recently been exacerbated by the right-wing Israeli government’s policy of “creeping annexation”, which seeks to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Occupied Territories piecemeal, while providing special “breaks” to these institutions.
The admittance of Ariel and two colleges in the Occupied Territories to Israel’s Council of Higher Education at the beginning of this year was a clear step in this direction.2 Since then, we have seen professional and ethical red lines repeatedly crossed over in the rush to establish a Faculty of Medicine at Ariel3 and we have every reason to suspect that more such steps are in the works.
           This February, the President of the ISA, Dr. Gili Drori, denounced the admittance of the institutions in the Occupied Territories to the CHE and pledged her association to non-cooperation with these institutions. In March, the Executive Board of the IAA also denounced the institutions’ admittance to the CHE, and in June the membership of the IAA voted on a motion to refuse cooperation. The motion passed by a large majority. The motion specifies that students and faculty at these institutions remain welcome as members of the IAA. Our refusal is strictly limited to financial and organizational cooperation with the institutions themselves.
           Your colleagues at the ISA and IAA have chosen to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people in general, and in particular with Palestinian students and academics whose right to an education is violated by the establishment and maintenance, in their own territories, of institutions which they are barred from attending. By voting so massively to support, EASA’s general assembly has shown solidarity with both its Israeli and Palestinian colleagues. Those of you who were not present at the assembly now have the opportunity to ratify and amplify that expression of solidarity. I urge you to do so and thank you for your attention and solicitude.

Sincerely,
Prof. Nir Avieli
President, Israeli Anthropological Association

1 Eyal Weizman, A Civilian Occupation (London: Verso, 2003); Jeff Halper, “The 94 Percent Solution: A Matrix of Control,” Middle East Report, no. 216 (2000): 14–19.
2 Yarden Zur, “Israel’s Creeping Annexation: Knesset Votes to Extend Israeli Law to Academic Institutions in the West Bank,” Haaretz, February 12, 2018, tinyurl.com/zur-creep.
3 Or Kashti, “Israeli University Heads Challenge Decision to Open Med School in West Bank Settlement,” Haaretz, July 30, 2018,https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israeli-uni-heads-challenge-decision-to-open-med-school-in-settlement-1.6319667.


האגודה האנתרופולוגית הישראלית
אצל החוג לסוציולוגיה ולאנתרופולוגיה, אוניברסיטת תל אביב, רמת אביב, תל אביב 69978
Israeli Anthropological Association
The Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel




===============================================



כנס: חיים תחת הכיבוש

August 21, 2018

|

אלון הראל

הודעה על כנס:

 

31 באוקטובר, 2018 אולם הסנאט, קמפוס הר הצופים, ירושלים

 

הכנס יעסוק בהשלכות הכיבוש על ממדים שונים בחברה הישראלית וביניהם ממדים המוכרים פחות לציבור הישראלי, למשל: השלכות הכיבוש על המשפט, על האקדמיה הישראלית, על המיעוט הערבי בישראל, על הארכאולוגיה, על תפיסת המרחב, על השימוש בהגנה על הטבע כמכשיר למימוש הכיבוש ועוד.

 

תכלית הכנס היא לבחון את ההשפעה העמוקה של הכיבוש על החברה הישראלית והפלסטינית בישראל ובשטחים. שני המושבים הראשונים יעסקו בישראל, המושב השלישי יעסוק בירושלים ואילו שני המושבים האחרונים יתמקדו בהשפעה על השטחים הכבושים.

 

תכנית הכנס:

 

15:15-15:00:    התכנסות

 

16:15-15:15:     ישראל תחת הכיבוש (חלק א) משפט ואקדמיה

                      פרופ' דוד קרצמר • פרופ' דוד הראל

 

16:15-17:15     ישראל תחת הכיבוש (חלק ב) עיתונות ופלסטינים בישראל

                       מר אלוף בן • ד"ר ראיף זרייק

 

17:15-17:45      הפסקה

 

18:45-17:45     ירושלים תחת הכיבוש

                       פרופ' הלל כהן • מר ניר חסון • ד"ר יהודית אופנהיימר

 

19:00-18:45     הפסקה

 

19:00-19:45     סביבה וארכאולוגיה תחת הכיבוש 

                       מר דרור אטקס • פרופ' רפי גרינברג

 

19:45-20:30     אוכל, אקדמיה וחברה תחת הכיבוש

                        עו"ד רביע אגבריה • ד"ר מאיה רוזנפלד

 

20:30-21:00     שולחן עגול

                        פרופ׳ מרדכי קרמניצר • ד״ר אסף שרון • פרופ׳ אלון הראל 

 

מס‘ המשתתפים מוגבל - יש לתאם השתתפות מול פרופ‘ עמירם גולדבלום, בכתובת הדוא“ל:  amiramg@ekmd.huji.ac.il

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Alon Harel 
Date: Thu, Oct 4, 2018 at 1:21 PM
‪Subject: Re: [SocSci-IL] חיים תחת הכבוש‬
To: Yael Berda 



אין ספק שזו בחירה פוליטית
אני שתפתי אותך בדיונים ומודה לך על תרומתך
אני מעריך את כתיבתך בנושא הכבוש אבל כמו שאת בוודאי מבינה הדגשים של הכנס היו שונים מתחומי המומחיות שלך. למיטב זכרוני אחת הדוברות בכנס היא דוברת שהומלצה על ידייך כך שאת יכולה להסיק שלקחנו ברצינות רבה את המלצותיך. פנינו גם לדוברת אחרת שהמלצת עליה מאוניברסיטת אל קוץ והיא לא יכלה להגיע בתאריך זה. אני אמשיך לשתף אותך אם תרצי גם בעיצוב הכנסים הבאים. אני אשמח גם אם יאורגן כנס שיתמקד בתחומי המומחיות שלך. 
אני מכבד את הבקורת. עם זאת אני מציע לאנשים המבקרים להבין את הקשיים וכן להבין שגם אם יש פגמים בכנס הוא כנס חשוב ואני מקווה שכולכם תשקלו להגיע לכנס. 

On Thu, 4 Oct 2018 at 09:19, Yael Berda wrote:
הי 
הייתי שותפה לדיונים - ביקשתי שיהיו 50 אחוז נשים והצעתי דוברות מומחיות, כולל את עצמי אם לא ימצאו אף אחד אחר (כתבתי שני ספרים על הכיבוש) 
כתבתי שאין מזרחיות או מזרחים ואין נקודת מבט חברתית כלכלית. 
הצעתי דוברות ודוברים. 
בעת הזאת ובזמן הזה , לייצר את זה מחדש כשיש אלטרנטיבות טובות ומוצקות - זאת בחירה פוליטית. 
יעל ברדה 



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