The American Anthropological Association (AAA) has approved a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions, at the body’s annual meeting in Denver on Friday night.
The motion in support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign was passed by 1,040 votes in favour, and 136 against. The resolution will now be forwarded to the full membership for a final vote by electronic ballot in the coming months.
In addition, a resolution opposed to BDS was defeated 1,173 to 196.
With over 10,000 members, AAA is by far the largest academic association in the United States to endorse the boycott at an annual meeting.
The resolution enjoins the AAA not to enter into any formal collaborations with Israeli academic institutions. Individual Israeli scholars may continue to participate in AAA conferences and publications, and individual members will remain free to determine for themselves whether and how to apply the boycott in their own professional practice.
The vote was hailed by Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions as a “historic result” after “over three years of organizing within the Association to educate and mobilize members to stand against Israel’s widespread, systematic, and ongoing violations of Palestinian rights, as well as to protest the complicity of Israeli academic institutions in these abuses.”
The AAA vote for an academic boycott of Israel follows similar votes passed with overwhelming majorities at the American Studies Association, the Asian American Studies Association and others. Last week, students at the University of Liverpool passed a pro-BDS motion through a vote.
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) welcomed the vote. Co-founder Prof. Lisa Taraki stated that “anthropologists at the AAA conference have sent a clear message of international solidarity with Palestinians and upheld some of the best values of the profession.”
Prof. Haidar Eid, PACBI steering committee member, added: “We are certain that this outstanding expression of support for the Palestinian-led BDS movement will further galvanize academics to pursue the institutional boycott of Israel.”