Supporting the Palestinian Right to Education : An Appeal to Oral Historians to Boycott the December 2016 Hebrew University Oral History Conference

Over the past several months, Israeli military forces entered Palestinian universities, fired live ammunition, and tear gassed and injured students. At Palestine Technical University- Kadoorie University in Tulkarem in the….

Over the past several months, Israeli military forces entered Palestinian universities, fired live ammunition, and tear gassed and injured students. At Palestine Technical University- Kadoorie University in Tulkarem in the West Bank, the Israeli military invaded the campus and injured nine Palestinian students. Israeli soldiers also entered Birzeit University on January 11 and closed the gates of this important center of Palestinian higher education. The soldiers went door to door in the dormitories, harassing the students before abducting Aseed al-Banna, a Student Senate member. The Syndicate of the Palestinian Universities Union has denounced these ongoing incursions and assaults on the right to education. This is the environment in which Palestinian students and scholars must work as they try to teach and study under Israeli occupation.

Furthermore, in fall 2015, many students and youth were killed, arrested, kidnapped, placed in administrative (indefinite) detention, and tortured by Israeli soldiers and settlers. Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, and inside Israel were subjected to a brutal assault by Israel entailing extrajudicial assassinations by soldiers, lynchings by settlers, arson attacks that killed toddlers and families, and daily racist harassment. These are just the latest incidents of violence enacted by the Israeli state that wages wars with impunity and continues to isolate and besiege Palestinians.

In the midst of all this, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is hosting another international oral history conference in December 2016.

We call on oral historians to refuse to submit proposals or to attend this conference. To do so would be to cross the global picket line and violate the call by Palestinian civil society for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions. Instead, as scholars, we must express our principled opposition to occupation, apartheid, and colonization.

Although all Israeli universities are deeply complicit with the state’s colonial and racist policies the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is particularly noteworthy:

  • Its Mount Scopus campus is built on Palestinian land illegally confiscated by Israel in 1968. Israel’s unilateral annexation of occupied East Jerusalem and the application of Israeli domestic law to it, are violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and have been repeatedly denounced by the UN Security Council.
  • It maintains close ties to the Israeli military industry, which is accused of war crimes against Palestinian civilians; provides special privileges to Israeli soldiers and security personnel; and collaborates with the Israeli army in training officers and recruits.
  • It discriminates against Palestinians, including those who are citizens of Israel by in several areas, including not providing teaching services to the residents of Jerusalem in contrast to those provided to Jewish groups; and not offering any courses in Arabic.
  • It denies freedom of speech and protest to its few Palestinian students.

While boycotting this conference at Hebrew University of Jerusalem is a clear statement about accountability, it is more. Refusing to submit a proposal or attend this conference demonstrates solidarity with our Palestinian colleagues who are denied academic freedom. It also serves as a condemnation of Israel’s systematic denial of Palestinians Right to Education and freedom of movement[[Palestinian Universities under Occupation, Report by a delegation of the European Platform for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (EPACBI) who visited seven Palestinian universities and academies in April 2015; Impediments to education in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, a publication of the Palestine-Israel Working Group of Historians Against the War (HAW) September 2015]].

Signed by: Affiliations noted for identification purposes only

  1. Nahla Abdo, Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton University, Canada
  2. Faiha Abdulhadi, Founder and Director, Al-Rowat for Studies and Research, Ramallah, Palestine
  3. Rabab Abdulhadi, Senior Scholar, Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies, Assoc.Professor, Race and Resistance Studies, San San Francisco State University, USA
  4. María Magdalena Pérez Alfaro, Profesora de la Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales, La Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia, México
  5. Diana Allan, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and International Development Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
  6. Andrea Andújar, Historiadora, CONICET/IIEGE-UBA, Argentina
  7. Robert Austin, Visiting Scholar, Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies, The University of Sydney, Australia
  8. David Beorlegui, Doctoral candidate, University of The Basque Country, Spain; Vice-President, International Oral History Association (IOHA)
  9. Joanna Bornat, Emeritus Professor The Open University, UK
  10. Kaye Briegel, Emerita, Department of History, California State University, Long Beach, USA
  11. Martha Beatriz Cahuich Campos, Profesora Investigadora de Tiempo Completo, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, México
  12. Elise Chenier, Department of History, Simon Fraser University, Canada
  13. Alejandra Ciriza, Drs. en Filosofia, National Scientific and Research Council Argentina
  14. Linda Clarke, Center for Study of the Production of the Built Environment, University of Westminster, UK
  15. Susan Currie, Doctoral student, Central Queensland, University, Australia
  16. Lara Deeb, Department of Anthropology, Scripps College
  17. Philippe Denis, Professor, Sinomlando Centre for Oral History and Memory Work in Africa, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
  18. John Docker, School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, The UnIversity of Sydney, Australia
  19. Elizabeth Dore, Professor (emerita), Latin American Studies, University of Southampton, UK
  20. Ana Vera Estrada, Doctoria en Filologia, Instituto Cubano de Ivestigaccion Cultural Juan Marinello, Havana, Cuba
  21. Luiz Felipe Falcão, History, Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil
  22. Sean Field, Associate Professor, Historical Studies Dept, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  23. Ellen Fleischmann, Professor, Department of History, University of Dayton, USA
  24. Sherna Berger Gluck, Director Emerita, Oral History Program, California State University, Long Beach, USA
  25. Itzea Goicolea-Amiano, PhD student, European University Institute, Florence, Italy
  26. Igor Goicovic, Departamento de Historia, Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Chile
  27. Gerard Necoechea Gracia, Full Professor, Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico
  28. Sondra Hale, Research Professor and Professor Emerita, Departments of Anthropology and Gender Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
  29. Carrie Hamilton, Reader in HIstory, Department of Humanities, University of Roehampton, London, UK
  30. Yuzo Itagaki, Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo, Japan
  31. Sharif Kanaana, Professor, Birzeit University, Palestine
  32. Rhoda Kanaaneh, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Columbia University, USA
  33. Amy Kesselman, Professor Emerita, Women’s Studies, SUNY New Paltz, USA
  34. Rubén Kotler, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán; Argentina Asociación de Historia Oral de la República Argentina
  35. Jon Martinez Larrea, PhD student in the University of the Basque Country, Spain
  36. Miren Llona, Profesora, Departamento de Historia Contemporánea, Universidad del País Vasco/Basque Country University, Spain
  37. Jan Lust, Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, Mexico
  38. Nur Masalha, SOAS, University of London, UK
  39. Mariana Mastrángelo, Doctora en Historia por la Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
  40. Jennifer Mogannam, Doctoral candidate, Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego, USA
  41. Marcos F F Montysuma – Associate Professor, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil
  42. Nadine Naber, Associate Professor, University of Illinois, Chicago, USA
  43. Premilla Nadasen, Associate Professor of History, Barnard College, USA
  44. Fabio Nigra, Profesor Titular Ordinario, Universidad Nacional de Chilecito y Profesor Adjunto Ordinario, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
  45. Maria Laura Ortiz, Profesora Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, Argentina
  46. Ilan Pappe, Professor of History, Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies, Exeter University, UK
  47. Niurka Perez, University of Havana, Cuba
  48. Pablo Pozzi, History Department, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
  49. Rosalie Riegle, Emerita, Saginaw Valley State University, USA
  50. Rosemary Sayigh, Visiting Lecturer, Center for Arab and Middle East Studies, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
  51. Leonardo Schiocchet, Independent scholar, Brazil
  52. Sarah Schulman, ACT UP Oral History Project, USA
  53. Dorothy Sheridan, Honorary Professor of History (retired), University of Sussex, UK
  54. May Seikaly, Associate Professor of Modern Middle East History, Wayne State University- Detroit MI, USA
  55. Claudio Pérez Silva: Dr. En Estudios Americanos. Académico Escuela de Historia Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano y Departamento de Historia de la Universidad de Santiago de Chile
  56. Andor Skotnes, Professor of History,The Sage Colleges, Troy, New York, USA
  57. Judith Stevenson, Director, Peace and Social Justice Program, Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development, California State University, Long Beach, USA
  58. Jorge Ramos Tolosa, Assistant Professor/Lecturer, University of Valencia, Spain
  59. Sharon Utakis, Professor of English, Bronx Community College, CUNY, USA
  60. Rola Abu Zeid-O’Neill, Researcher on Memory and Gender, University College, Cork, Ireland

[Note: if you are an oral historian, regardless of discipline, and wish to add your name, please send an email with your name, title (if any) and affiliation to: HUconferenceboycott2016[at]]