Anthropology Group Creates Task Force on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

September 9, 2014

The American Anthropological Association has created a task force to aid the organization’s executive board in considering ways in which the AAA might address issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The task force, which has been asked to provide a written report by October of 2015, has been charged with the following responsibilities:

• "Enumerate the issues embedded in the conflict between Israel and Palestine that directly affect the Association."
• "Develop principles to be used to assess whether the AAA has an interest in taking a stand on these issues. This may include providing a comprehensive and neutral overview of arguments for and against a range of specific possible stands (including no action)."
• "Apply these principles in completing an assessment of the nature and extent of AAA’s interest in taking a specific stand on these issues."
• "Assess whether the AAA has an interest in taking a specific stand on any broader but relevant issues that are raised in the context."
• "Recommend a course of action (this may include no action) for the Association.”

The seven-member task force was appointed by AAA President Monica Heller. In a press release, the association said that one criterion for membership was having no publicly identified positions on the issue. Another criterion was having relevant subject matter expertise. 

The AAA’s actions come in the wake of several other academic associations, most notably the American Studies Association, endorsing a boycott of Israeli universities.

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