As graduate students and new members of the American Association of Anthropologists, we approach the academic boycott resolution vote with hope. We write today in response to “When It’s Time to Vote, Don’t Boycott—Cut the Purse-strings”, which outlines an argument against the resolution and calls instead for “targeted, collective action”. The academic boycott is exactly this: a targeted, collective action, and one that students across the country have chosen to support. In the past few months, graduate student unions at NYU, the University of California, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, have voted to boycott and divest from Israeli occupation industries and Israeli academic institutions. At NYU, over half of voting graduate students also pledged to personally uphold an academic boycott. We voted for the AAA boycott resolution because it is a collective action that respects the autonomy and judgment of Palestinian civil society, who have determined for themselves, over the last 50 years, how to best engage those who wish to stand in solidarity with their struggle against the occupation.
Thousands of students across the country are organizing to answer the call from Palestinian civil society to pressure the Israeli state to meet its obligations as an occupying power under international law and to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination, dignity, and protection. An academic boycott aims to cut the purse strings between academic institutions: it asks the AAA membership to boycott conferences, consortiums, and grants sponsored by Israeli state-funded institutions. It agrees with those authors’ admirable commitment to resisting the occupation but does not exempt academic labor and exchange from the purview of the boycott.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.