Download a pdf of our mission statement here
Recognizing the severe anguish and human tragedy resulting from the political and military violence in Israel and Palestine, and the ongoing Occupation of Palestinian lands and population by Israel in violation of the international consensus favoring a two-state settlement along the pre- 1967 borders, Anthropologists for Dialogue on Israel and Palestine (ADIP) promotes the use of our discipline’s critical theories and methods in working towards peace and social justice in Israel/Palestine. We encourage and support dialogue and engagement among Israelis, Palestinians, and others concerned with the region, taking into account a range of anthropologically based values, including abhorrence of violence and a desire to expose inequalities of power along with acknowledging a wide diversity of opinions and possibilities of action. We believe that finely tuned ethnographic-based research and interventions, and the promotion of academic freedom, are essential to this process.
ON THE CONTRIBUTION OF ANTHROPOLOGY: Anthropology is a field devoted to grasping multiple and competing perspectives, understanding the social legacies of history, memories and collective traumas, and identifying systems of power throughout society. Our skills guide us to unpack taken for granted politicized slogans, symbolic formations, and social identities based on bounded and hostile forms of exclusion. We believe that the critical thinking and skepticism towards all kinds of group-think that is a hallmark of our discipline can play a critical role in identifying new ways to conceptualize and promote social justice and equality for Israel/Palestine. Anthropologists can join existing grassroots dialogue initiatives among people and groups from diverse political perspectives—dialogue that begins with the recognition of the other’s humanity, collective loss, and human rights; dialogue that reflexively addresses the politicization of language and terminology, and strives to negotiate a meaningful framework that enables listening to others and finding new, creative solutions for conflict resolution.
ON THE SITUATION IN ISRAEL/PALESTINE: We recognize the existence of a grave inequality in which Israel is occupying Palestinian lands and population, and promoting a settlement project that continuously jeopardizes possibilities for peace. Israel, we believe, has the greater responsibility of pulling out of the stalemate, ending its occupation, and moving toward peace. At the same time, we recognize that important fractions of the Palestinian people, like Hamas and others, continue to call and act for the destruction of Israel. There are voices from many corners which reject the legitimacy of the other. We thus further recognize that both Palestinians and Israelis continue to suffer violence and trauma, fear, intimidation, threats to their security and loss of innocent civilians’ lives. This is not to equate their powerlessness or view their degree of collective suffering as commensurate. It is to promote a third way and oppose all discourses that are one-sided. The situation has reached an impasse, with people on both sides losing hope for a political solution, and with fear, hatred, and violence overtaking efforts for conflict resolution. Subtle anthropological analyses that provide context, and interventions that explicate the situation and identify alternative visions for a peaceful future are imperative.
ON ACADEMIC BOYCOTTS: We oppose the move by some of our colleagues to establish an academic boycott against Israeli academia and against Israeli and other anthropologists in particular. An academic boycott will not help the Palestinian cause, but it will erode our discipline’s professional ethos. An academic boycott is a political action that rests on absolutist positions rather than probing analyses. Despite its claims, such a boycott fails to distinguish between institutions and individuals. An academic boycott compromises academic freedom by censoring professional colleagues on the basis of their place of employment. It works symbolically and materially to create boundaries of exclusion from the moral community of scholars based on criteria that are disconnected from academic standards. ADIP proposes that rather than disengaging from the region through a boycott, the American Anthropological Association and all anthropologists should increase engagement through the promotion of research, teaching and academic dialogue.
GOALS AND INITIATIVES
Our goals are to develop and promote diverse initiatives, including:
Within the AAA:
- Educate anthropologists about the efforts currently underway or desired in local universities, colleges, and at grassroots’ levels, to bring anthropological insights to the publics engaged in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We support the work of the AAA Task Force. In the spirit of anthropological field work, we encourage its members—and all those at the AAA who seek involvement in this issue—not to pass judgment from a distance but instead visit Israel/Palestine. We invite all anthropologists who are concerned to help identify scholars, institutions and projects within the region that are working in these directions and interested in global collaborations.
- Ensure that anthropological and other social science research shapes current debate over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within the AAA.
- Promote engaged dialogue, debate and deliberation within the AAA in which all perspectives on the conflict are treated with respect and where unpopular or minority opinions can be expressed without fear, intimidation or recrimination.
- Support anthropological responses to the conflict that adhere to the AAA’s role as an organization of academic professionals.
- Oppose academic boycotts, which exacerbate conflict and recrimination, constrain dialogue by framing debate in reductionist and one-sided ways, and undermine the professional integrity of the AAA.
Within the Region:
- Devise strategies to strengthen the autonomy of academic research vis-à-vis interference from the state and powerful political actors in Israel and Palestine.
- Support Palestinian anthropologists through research fellowships, opportunities to network with colleagues abroad, and support for their teaching endeavors.
- Promote freedom of movement and access to research for Palestinian, Israeli and other scholars working in the area.
- Support joint research projects and exchange of ideas among Israeli, Palestinian and other scholars.
- Facilitate anthropologists’ active contributions to debate in the Israeli and Palestinian publics to address issues of justice and conflict resolution from a research and ethnographic grounded perspective.
- Sponsor workshops on teaching about the region and conflict through an anthropological perspective, and develop a syllabus bank.
- Encourage faculty lines for anthropologists who focus on Israeli/ Palestinian societies and conflict resolution.
- Create a research fund for ADIP oriented research—to ensure the academic autonomy of important anthropological projects at risk of political capture or funding denial because of their topic.
|Jackie Feldman||Ben Gurion University|
|Jack Kugelmass||University of Florida|
|Harvey Goldberg||Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Emeritus)|
|Michele Rivkin-Fish||University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill|
|Yehuda Goodman||Hebrew University of Jerusalem|
|David Rosen||Fairleigh Dickinson University|
|Dan Rabinowitz||Tel Aviv University|
|Gila Silverman||University of Arizona|
|Alex Weingrod||Ben Gurion University (Emeritus)|
|Yoram Bilu||Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Emeritus)|
|Todd Gitlin||Columbia University|
|Susan Kahn||Harvard University|
|Barbara Kellerman||Harvard Kennedy School|
|David Kertzer||Brown University|
|Setha Low||City University of New York, Graduate Center|
|Mark Nichter||University of Arizona|
|Paul Rabinow||University of California, Berkeley|
|Amalia Saar||University of Haifa|
|Rick Shweder||University of Chicago|
|Sydel Silverman||Former president: Wenner-Gren Foundation|
|Michael Walzer||Institute of Advanced Studies (Emeritus)|
|Allan Young||McGill University|