A comprehensive report from the American Anthropological Association released last week deals with whether it is appropriate to boycott Israel and Israeli academia. The report recommends that some action be taken, although it left open a range of options.
Among the possibilities is an academic boycott of Israeli universities or of “selected” universities, though some task force members opposed a boycott of Israeli universities and said it would not influence Israeli government policy.
The document levels harsh criticism at Israeli policy and what it alleges is discrimination against Arabs at Israeli research universities. The authors of the report visited Israel and met with Palestinian and Israeli researchers, including supporters and opponents of a boycott. The report includes considerable material on the issue over the years.
The task force was convened in August of last year after 1,100 anthropologists, many of whom are members of the AAA, signed a petition calling for a boycott of Israel. The task force’s mandate was to look into the implications of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the academic context and more broadly, and to determine whether the AAA has an interest in taking a position on the matter and if so, to recommend what action should be taken by the association.