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Dear AAA Colleagues,
We are pleased to present to you the report of the AAA Task Force on Engagement with Israel / Palestine. We are deeply indebted to the Task Force for the enormous amount of careful thought and effort that they have poured into this report over the past year for the benefit of the Association, its members and the anthropological field in general.
The Task Force was charged with helping the Executive Board consider the nature and extent to which AAA might contribute – as an Association – to addressing the issues that the Israel/Palestine political situation raises for us as anthropologists, as an Association, and as an association of anthropologists. The Executive Board specifically asked the Task Force to: (1) enumerate the issues embedded in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine that directly concern the Association; (2) develop principles to be used to assess whether the AAA has an interest in taking a stand on these issues; (3) provide such an assessment; and (4) on the basis of that assessment, make recommendations to the Executive Board about actions the AAA could undertake.
We hope that in the weeks and months ahead, you will make the time to review this report, and to provide informed feedback that will help the Executive Board make some important decisions on the Association's behalf about appropriate courses of action for AAA. Again, please join us in thanking the Task Force for its excellent work, and for providing us with the basis to continue the conversation in a thoughtful and respectful manner.
Monica Heller, President
Ed Liebow, Executive Director
As part of a more encompassing AAA effort to respond to members' interest in dialogue about the ongoing Israel/Palestine conflict, the Task Force is charged with helping the Executive Board consider the nature and extent to which AAA might contribute – as an Association -- to addressing the issues that the Israel/Palestine conflict raises. The Task Force will: 1) enumerate the issues embedded in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine that directly concern the Association. These issues may include, but are not limited to, the uses of anthropological research to support or challenge claims of territory and historicity; restrictions placed by government policy or practice on anthropologists’ academic freedom; or commissioning anthropological research whose methods and/or aims may be inconsistent with the AAA statement of professional responsibilities; 2) develop principles to be used to assess whether the AAA has an interest in taking a stand on these issues; 3) provide such an assessment; 4) on the basis of that assessment, make recommendations to the Executive Board about actions the AAA could undertake.
Ends October 2015
Each member is a distinguished scholar with expertise in one or more of the discipline’s major subfields (linguistic anthropology, archaeology, sociocultural anthropology and biological anthropology). As a result, together the Task Force members bring a wide range of forms of enquiry and analysis to this endeavour. They also have expertise in conflict and historical memory, issues of identity, and the use of anthropology/archeology in political efforts. Finally, almost all of the Task Force members have a record of significant service to the Association, and thus a strong sense of its mission and governance. We kept the group small in order to ensure its agility and its ability to do its work with all deliberate speed; that is, to have sufficient time to assure that all relevant perspectives are duly considered, but not dragging out its activities unnecessarily. For more information on Task Force Membership Selection, please see Further Information on Task Force Member Selection.
The Task Force will provide AAA with a written report of its findings no later than October 1, 2015.
The committee will regularly meet regularly by phone and email in the months leading up to the Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. The Task Force will meet face-to-face at the Annual Meeting.
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Update on AAA Task Force in Engagement with Israel/Palestine (Requires AnthroSource login)
Opening a Conversation on AAA and Israel/Palestine by Monica Heller (published in AN July/August 2014)