Renowned Anthropologist James Ferguson Endorses BDS
Ahead of an upcoming American Anthropological Association vote on boycotting Israeli academic institutions, renowned anthropologist James Ferguson has announced his support of the boycott resolution. Ferguson, author of The Anti-Politics Machine, explained his reasoning for his support of the resolution on the anthropology blog Savage Minds.
Though initially reluctant in his support for the resolution, Ferguson went on to describe what led to his endorsement:
In a complex situation, however — one, moreover, of which I personally have only very imperfect and limited knowledge — I feel obliged to give great weight to the views of those more knowledgeable than myself. This is, after all, the most basic sort of trust that we rely upon as a scholarly community. And it seems clear to me that the members of our intellectual community whom I judge to have the most knowledge and the best understanding, both of the Israel/Palestine situation in general and of the political role played by Israeli academic institutions, are in strong support of the resolution. This is not just a question of a list of names, but a set of convincing arguments that has been assembled by an impressive assembly of scholars, many of whom I know to be not only fine researchers, but fair-minded persons of honest character and good judgment.
The statement comes at a time when anthropologists all over the United States are preparing to vote on the resolution in Denver, Colorado on November 20 that would endorse a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
If approved, the resolution would lead the American Anthropological Association to boycott Israeli academic institutions “until such time as these institutions end their complicity in violating Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law.” The resolution goes on to task the AAA leadership to implement the boycott, affirms the target of the boycott is institutions and not individual scholars, and the support of the right of academics everywhere to engage in boycott.
This would not be the first time the AAA engaged in political advocacy through boycott. In 2010, the AAA Executive Committee released a resolution that stated they would boycott Arizona until SB1070, an infamous law that gave local law enforcement the authority to stop anyone they deemed undocumented.