European social anthropologists to boycott Israeli colleges in settlements

The European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) voted in favor of the boycott by a vote of 830 in favor, 21 opposed and 37 abstentions.

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November 22, 2018 17:43
2 minute read.
Ariel University in the West Bank

Ariel University in the West Bank. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

 
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The European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) has ratified a motion to boycott Israeli academic institutions in the West Bank.

The motion was proposed in August at EASA’s annual general meeting in Stockholm, and was overwhelmingly ratified this month by the organization’s members, passing by a vote of 830 in favor, 21 opposed and 37 abstentions.

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In September, the head of the Israeli Anthropological Association (IAA), Prof. Nir Avieli, sent a letter written on behalf of the association to the EASA president urging its members to vote in favor of the motion.

This followed a decision by IAA itself in June to adopt a motion to refuse cooperation with the three institutions of higher education in the settlements: Ariel University, Orot College in Elkana, and Herzog College in Alon Shvut.

This decision was taken after a law was passed in Knesset in February, placing institutes of higher education in the settlements under the authority of the Israel Council for Higher Education instead of the separate council for Judea and Samaria they had previously been under until then.

In his letter to EASA, Avieli alleged that Israeli institutions “are not open to the Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories, but only to Israeli citizens,” a claim echoed by the EASA motion which says that these institutions are “intended exclusively to serve the population of an occupying power in occupied territories, and specifically of institutions exclusively serving Israeli citizens situated within the occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank.”

Despite this claim, Palestinians who are citizens of, and reside in, the Palestinian Authority are able to study in Israeli institutions of higher education, although on condition that there is no practical alternative in the PA, as well as if the program focuses on “cooperation, co-existence and regional peace.”


Matan Peleg, CEO of the right-wing Im Tirtzu organization called the IAA’s support of this boycott a “disgrace.”

“It is an absolute disgrace that Israeli academics are leading the calls to boycott academic institutions in Israel,” he said.

“While decision-makers and Israeli universities invest resources and effort to combat the international BDS movement, they ignore the fact that the ‘BDS from within’ phenomenon is occurring under their noses.

“Only this week we were reminded of the harmful effects that ‘BDS from within’ has on Israel,” added Peleg referring to the recent Airbnb boycott of Israeli homes in Judea and Samaria.”

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post in October, Avieli denied that he had called on EASA to boycott the West Bank academic institutes, saying that the IAA had merely “informed” EASA of its own decision, “and they decided to vote in support of the decision.”

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