Members of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) introduced a resolution calling for the boycott of complicit Israeli academic institutions at its annual meeting in New York City this past week. The resolution sought to foster support for our Palestinian academic colleagues, whose basic human rights, including the right to education and academic freedom, have been denied for decades under Israel’s military occupation and racist policies.
The resolution called for SSSP to support the academic boycott of complicit Israeli institutions of higher education, expressed solidarity with our Palestinian colleagues, and detailed the multiple ways in which Palestinian students, teachers, and university-level faculty are excluded from full participation in educational endeavors in the occupied territories of the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza as well as in Israel on a daily basis, with long-term educational and democratic consequences.
The vote on the resolution occurred at the SSSP business meeting, Saturday, 10 August, and failed to pass by a slim margin of only three votes. Six of the opposing votes were proxy votes, and seven members abstained. In an underhanded effort, American pro-Israel operatives secured new SSSP memberships months before the meeting for the sole purpose of voting against this resolution. These operatives used lies, identity politics, and emotion to elide Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights and international law, and the role of Israeli academic institutions in, at best justifying, at worst actively planning, implementing and maintaining these violations.
SSSP as a society strives to model solidarity and social justice to foster alternative visions and practices. SSSP members committed to full human rights and academic freedom for all, including Palestinians who have formulated specific requests for effective solidarity, will continue to work to ensure that the values of SSSP are upheld.
If you would like more information about this resolution, please contact, Professors Melissa Weiner, College of Holy Cross, and Johnny E. Williams, Trinity College, at their emails above.