American Anthropological Association rebuffs Israel

By Monica Moorehead
August 4, 2023

The American Anthropological Association voted electronically July 14-15 to boycott all Israeli institutions. The decision was hailed as a major victory by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and the Palestinian Campaign for the Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel.

The vote was 71% or 2,016 for the boycott versus 29% or 885 in opposition. The AAA is the largest and oldest U.S.-based association to boycott the racist, settler colonial state.

“The AAA will not collaborate with Israeli colleges and universities on any educational or academic projects. Additionally, Israeli academic institutions will be excluded from being listed in AAA’s published materials, advertising in AAA publications, participating in joint conferences, and republishing and reprinting articles from AAA publications in journals and publications. However, individual Israeli academics are exempted from the boycott.” (, July 25)

Commenting on the significance of the vote, AAA President Ramona Perez said in a statement: “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.”

Just seven years ago, a similar vote to boycott Israel was defeated. However, the recent third Intifada (uprising or resistance) in the Occupied Territories has elevated a tremendous spurt of global solidarity with the Palestinian people and growing isolation and condemnation of the Zionist regime.

The BDS movement thanked the AAA and those who took the time to “learn from and listen to Indigenous Palestinian voices,”  calling the vote “wholly consistent with the association’s stated commitment to anti-racism, equality, human rights and social justice and furthers the drive to decolonize anthropology and academia in general.”  (, July 24)