Scholars condemn censorship and intimidation of Israel critics

Jewish Voice for Peace | 8 mars 2014 | Professors Judith Butler and Rashid Khalidi have jointly written the following statement objecting to increased incidents of censorship and intimidation in….

Jewish Voice for Peace | 8 mars 2014 |

Professors Judith Butler and Rashid Khalidi have jointly written the following statement objecting to increased incidents of censorship and intimidation in academic and cultural institutions for the purposes of imposing illegitimate limitations on freedom of expression relating to Israel and Palestine. The over 150 concerned signatories below have joined them.

Please note, the signatories have endorsed only this statement, not necessarily the mission, activities, or positions of Jewish Voice for Peace. Affiliations listed for identification purposes only.

Whether one is for or against Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) as a means to change the current situation in Palestine-Israel, it is important to recognize that boycotts are internationally affirmed and constitutionally protected forms of political expression. As non-violent instruments to effect political change, boycotts cannot be outlawed without trampling on a constitutionally protected right to political speech. Those who support boycotts ought not to become subject to retaliation, surveillance, or censorship when they choose to express their political viewpoint, no matter how offensive that may be to those who disagree.

We are now witnessing accelerating efforts to curtail speech, to exercise censorship, and to carry out retaliatory action against individuals on the basis of their political views or associations, notably support for BDS. We ask cultural and educational institutions to have the courage and the principle to stand for, and safeguard, the very principles of free expression and the free exchange of ideas that make those institutions possible. This means refusing to accede to bullying, intimidation, and threats aimed at silencing speakers because of their actual or perceived political views. It also means refusing to impose a political litmus test on speakers and artists when they are invited to speak or show their work. We ask that educational and cultural institutions recommit themselves to upholding principles of open debate, and to remain venues for staging expressions of an array of views, including controversial ones. Only by refusing to become vehicles for censorship and slander, and rejecting blacklisting, intimidation, and discrimination against certain viewpoints, can these institutions live up to their purpose as centers of learning and culture.

Judith Butler,
Professor of Comparative Literature, UC Berkeley

Rashid Khalidi,
Edward Said Professor in Modern Arab Studies, Columbia University

Etienne Balibar, Emeritus Professor, Paris-Nanterre

Natalie Zemon Davis, Professor of History

Deborah Eisenberg, Writer

Eve Ensler, Playwright/Activist

Samera Esmeir, Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley

Khaled Fahmy, Professor, The American University in Cairo

Katherine Franke, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Columbia Law School

Paul Gilroy, London

Naomi Klein, Author and Journalist

Jacqueline Rose, Professor of English, Queen Mary University of London

Mariam C Said, Individual

Joan W Scott, Institute for Advanced Study

Professor Lynne Segal, University of London

Wallace Shawn, Writer

Lila Abu-Lughod, Columbia University

Sara Ahmed, Goldsmiths, University of London

Udi Aloni, Filmmaker and writer

Richard Appelbaum, MacArthur Foundation Chair, Global & International Studies, UCSB

Elsa Auerbach,
Professor Emerita, UMass Boston

Anthony Bale,
Professor of Medieval Studies, Birkbeck, University of London

Lisa Baraitser,
Birkbeck, University of London

Yael Bartana,

Rosalyn Baxandall,
SUNY Old Westbury Distinguished Prof Emeritus

Joel Beinin,
Donald J McLachlan Professor of History, Stanford Univerrsity

Emanuela Bianchi,
New York University

Omri Boehm,
New School for Social Research, Assistant Professor

Heather Boronski,
University of Colorado

John Borneman,
Princeton University

Nicolas Bousserez,
Research Associate, University of Colorado at Boulder

Sarah Bracke,
Harvard Divinity School

Naomi Braine,
Brooklyn College

Laurie A. Brand,
University of Southern California

Renate Bridenthal,
Professor, retired from CUNY

Wendy Brown,
UC Berkeley

Shale Brownstein,
Retired psychiatrist HHC

Susan Buck-Morss,
Distinguished Professor, CUNY Graduate Center

Eduardo Cadava,
Princeton University

Margaret Cerullo,
Hampshire College

Sally Charnow,
Hofstra University, Professor of History

Alexandra Chasin,
New School for Social Research

Eric Cheyfitz,
Professor, Cornell University

Kandice Chuh,
Professor of English, CUNY Graduate Center

Ilene Cohen,

Elliott Colla,
Georgetown University

Christopher Connery,
Professor, University of California Santa Cruz

Stuart Davis,
Cornell University

Walt Davis,
Retired minister/professor

Ashley Dawson,
Professor, English Department, CUNY

Colin Dayan,
Vanderbilt University

Brett de Bary,
Professor, Asian Studies and Comparative Literature, Cornell University

Gina Dent,
UC Santa Cruz

Beshara Doumani,
Professor of History, Brown University

Lisa Duggan,
Professor, New York University

Nancy du Plessis,

David Eng,
University of Pennsylvania

Darlene Evans,
Cornell University

Max Farrar,
Emeritus professor, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK

Sara Farris,
Assistant Professor, Goldsmiths, University of London

Leila Farsakh,
Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston

Pnina Feiler,
Physicians for Human Rights

Kathy E. Ferguson,
Professor, Departments of Political Science and Women’s Studies, University of Hawai’i

Elle Flanders,

Jeff Fort,
University of California, Davis

Cynthia Franklin,
Professor of English, University of Hawaii

Carla Freccero,

Jamie Fuller,

Jennifer Gaboury,
Hunter College, CUNY

Ellen Gruber Garvey,

Michael Gilsenan,
Prof. Michael Gilsenan

Neve Gordon

Samira Haj,

Lisa Hajjar,
Professor of Sociology, University of CA-Santa Barbara

J. Halberstam,
Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, USC

Sondra Hale,
Research Professor, University of California, Los Angeles

Abdellah Hammoudi,
Professor , Princeton University

Beth Harris,
Associate Professor, Ithaca College

Salah D. Hassan,
Associate Professor, MSU

Gail Hershatter,
University of California, Santa Cruz

Neil Hertz,
Johns Hopkins University

Marianne Hirsch,
Professor, Columbia University

Katherine Hite,
Professor of Political Science, Vassar College

Andrew Hsiao,
Verso Books

Elizabeth Ingenthron,
Graduate Theological Union

Margo Jefferson,

Joseph Jeon,
Pomona College

Jeanette Jouili,
College of Charleston

Moon-Kie Jung,
University of Illinois

Ann Jungman,

Amy Kaplan,
University of Pennsylvania

Carolyn L. Karcher,
Professor Emerita, Temple University

Suvir Kaul,
A M Rosenthal Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Elizabeth Kendall,
Associate Professor, New School

Arang Keshavarzian,
Faculty member, New York University

Nancy Kricorian,

Dr. Gail Lewis,
Reader in Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck College

Risa Lieberwitz,
Professor, Cornell University

Audrea Lim,
Verso Books

David Lloyd,
University of California, Riverside

Zachary Lockman,
New York University

Ania Loomba,
Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Miriam R. Lowi,
Professor, The College of New Jersey

Sandra R Mackie,

Saba Mahmood,
UC Berkeley, Associate Professor

Harriet Malinowitz,
Professor of English, Long Island University, Brooklyn

Curtis Marez,
Associate Professor, University of California, San Diego

Mario Martone,
Cornell University

Barry Maxwell,
Senior Lecturer, Cornell University

Rela Mazali,
Author & Independent Scholar

Jeffrey Menlick,
University of Massachusetts Boston

Brinkley Messick,
Columbia University

Jennifer Miller,
Circus Amok, Director

Susette Min,
University of California, Davis

Chandra Talpade Mohanty,
Syracuse University

Aurora Levins Morales,

Fred Moten,
University of California, Riverside

Yasser Munif,
Emerson College

Tad Mutersbaugh,
Professor of Geography, University of Kentucky

Chiara Nappi,
Professor Emerita, Princeton University

Manijeh Nasrabadi,
New York University

Yael Navaro-Yashin,
University of Cambridge

David Palumbo-Liu,
Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor, Stanford

Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert,
Professor, Vassar College

Rosalind Petchesky,
Distinguished Professor Emerita, Hunter College & the Graduate Center CUNY

Merav Pinchassoff,
University of Westminster

Silvia Posocco,
Birkbeck, University of London

Vijay Prashad,
Trinity College

Sara Pursley,
Associate Editor, International Journal of Middle East Studies

Bruce Robbins,
Columbia University

Corey Robin,
Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center

Andrew Ross,
New York University

Dr. Catherine Rottenberg

John Carlos Rowe,

Rachel Rubin,
Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston

Leticia Sabsay,
Birkbeck College, Univeristy of London

Neil Saccamano,
Cornell University

Ilan Safit,
Dept. of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Pace University

Josefina Saldaña,
Professor, New York University

Paul Sawyer,
Cornell University

James Schamus,
Columbia University

C. Heike Schotten,
Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts Boston

Sarah Schulman,
Distinguished Professor of the Humanities CUNY College of Staten Island

Sherene Seikaly,
Director of Middle East Studies Center, American University in Cairo

Karen Shimakawa,
Associate Professor

Lincoln Shlensky,
University of Victoria

Marc Siegel,
Ast. Professor, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany

Victor Silverman,
Chair, Department of History, Pomona College

David Simpson,
U of California-Davis

Jeffrey Skoller,
Professor, UC Berkeley

Darryl A. Smith,
Associate Professor, Pomona College

Alisa Solomon,
Professor, Columbia University

Reina van der Wiel,
Birkbeck, University of London

Dov Waxman,

Robert Warrior,
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Kathy Wazana,
Documentary filmmaker

Max Weiss,
Princeton University

Laura Wernick,
Fordham University

Lisa Westarp,
Grace Memorial Episcopal Church

John M. Willis,
Assistant Professor, University of Colorado

Dagmawi Woubshet,
Cornell University, Associate Professor

Rachel Zolf,

Tim Zorach,
Retired Professor of Biology, Wells College