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AAA Votes Down Academic Boycott Resolution

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June 7, 2016

Contact Name: Jeff Martin
Contact Phone: 571-483-1163

AAA Votes Down Academic Boycott Resolution
Other Actions Planned

In a close vote, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) membership voted against a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions. Voting took place by electronic ballot between April 15 and May 31. Fifty-one percent of AAA’s eligible members voted, the largest turnout in AAA history, with 2,423 members opposing the resolution, and 2,384 voting to support it.

“The membership has spoken and we hear them,” said AAA President Alisse Waterston. “We appreciate this was a difficult vote on an important and contentious issue. I’m especially proud that our members participated in knowledgeable, thoughtful, respectful debate throughout the process, and that AAA offers a model for informed engagement on difficult subjects. Now is the time for us to come together as an association steadfastly committed to advancing scholarly knowledge, to finding solutions to human and social problems, to giving voice to the underserved and to serving as a guardian of human rights.”

AAA members are generally in agreement that serious threats to academic freedom and human rights have been noted in Israel-Palestine as a result of Israeli government policies and practices, and that AAA should respond to these threats. The AAA Executive Board has approved a set of actions that are aligned with the Association's core values and mission as a professional society and in accordance with the findings, guiding principles, and list of possible actions detailed in the Task Force on Israel Palestine (TFIP) report. The Board-approved actions include:

To view the full set of actions click here.

By means of these actions, AAA will contribute to raising critical awareness of the dynamics of peace and conflict in the region, draw attention to the disproportionate suffering of the Palestinian people as a result of the Occupation and what can be done about it, and expand the space for dialogue on these sensitive and important human rights and academic freedom issues. AAA believes that these actions can contribute to the enrichment of the health and welfare of all citizens in the region, increased circulation of anthropological scholarship, eased restrictions on scholars’ travel, increased freedom of expression for Palestinian and Israeli anthropologists, and increased dialogue about how archaeology is used in political arguments.

Waterston added, “We understand the Association’s capacities and limitations to effect positive social change. We also see the conditions on the ground in Israel-Palestine and understand the multiplicity of factors that have created them. Our actions do not come from a position of easy moral superiority but from love for all of humanity.”

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Founded in 1902, the American Anthropological Association, with almost 10,000 members, is the world’s largest professional organization of anthropologists. The Association is dedicated to advancing human understanding and tackling the world’s most pressing problems.

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