With support from the University of Richmond

History News Network

History News Network puts current events into historical perspective. Subscribe to our newsletter for new perspectives on the ways history continues to resonate in the present. Explore our archive of thousands of original op-eds and curated stories from around the web. Join us to learn more about the past, now.

Historians Against War petitions AHA to investigate violations of academic freedom in Israel

Related Link Historians Reject Resolution Condemning Israel's Treatment of Palestinians (1/9/16)

Dear members and friends of Historians Against the War,

After considerable consultation, HAW has decided to send two petitions to the Council of the American Historical Association. The first asks the Council to investigate the charges that academic freedom is widely violated in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The second urges a condemnation of academic blacklists for those who raise issues regarding Israel and the OPT.

If you are a member of the AHA, we ask for your signature on either or both. Further, we urge you to bring these petitions to the notice of colleagues who might sign either of them. We plan to send them to the Council in mid-December, for consideration at their January meeting.

[Petition #1]

Dear members of the Council,

We write as members of the Association. Over the past several years, it has become evident some part of the membership believes there are credible charges of violations of academic freedom in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, while other members dispute these allegations. In view of the close ties between the United States and Israel, including academic ties, we call on the Council to investigate these claims by whatever means are most effective, whether constituting a fact-finding committee, authorizing a delegation, or issuing an investigative report. We note that other scholarly groups have taken similar steps; for instance, in August 2014, the Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association authorized a year-long Task Force on Engagement with Israel/Palestine, which issued a comprehensive report to their membership in October 2015. We believe that rather than fostering division, AHA members would benefit from an equally thoughtful engagement by our own association.

[Petition #2]

Dear members of the Council,

We write as members of the association. We urge the Executive Council to make a statement along the lines of the following: "The AHA upholds the right of students and faculty to engage in nonviolent political action expressing diverse points of view on Israel/Palestine issues. We condemn all efforts at intimidation of those expressing such views. Specifically, we condemn the maintenance of blacklists, such as those on the anonymous "Canary Mission" website publicizing names, photographs, and contact information for hundreds of supporters of Palestinian rights, predominantly Arab American students.”

Read entire article at Historians Against War