This new network is for peace between Israel and Palestine, is against racism and antisemitism and argues that the academic boycott and other bans against scholars are counterproductive. Its founding statement is as follows:
We are progressive scholars and academics who reject the notion that one has to be either pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian. We believe that empathy for the suffering and aspirations of both peoples, and respect for their national narratives, is essential if there is to be a peaceful solution. Scholars and academics should play a positive role in asking difficult questions, and promoting critical thinking, about the Israel-Palestinian conflict. To achieve this goal we insist on the importance of academic freedom and open intellectual exchange, and so reject calls for academic boycotts and blacklists, as well as efforts to punish academics for their political speech, including even those who support the academic boycotts that we oppose.
Statement of Principles
We are committed to the following principles:
a) We respect the humanity of Israelis and Palestinians alike, and believe that all political analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be grounded in empathy for both peoples.
b) We believe in two states as the only way to avoid perpetual conflict, and recognize that since both peoples require national self-expression, the struggle will continue until this is achieved.
c) We believe the Israeli occupation of the West Bank not only deprives Palestinians of their fundamental rights, but is also corrosive to Israeli society and is incompatible with the democratic principles upon which the State of Israel was founded.
d) We accept the obligation to actively oppose violations of human rights, but cannot condone the use of violence targeting civilians as a tool to address grievances, or to promote strategies that would undermine the future viability of each nation.
e) We strongly oppose the rhetoric used by both sides which demonizes and dehumanizes the other, or distorts the history and national aspirations of each people, to promote violence and hatred.
f) We reject the all-too-common binary approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict that seeks to justify one side or the other as all right or all wrong, and sets out to marshal supposed evidence to prove a case of complete guilt or total exoneration. Scholarship and fairness require a more difficult and thoughtful approach. As academics we recognize the subjective perspectives of individuals and peoples, but strive to apply rigorous standards to research and analysis rather than to subsume academic discipline to political expediency.
g) We reject all attempts to undermine or diminish academic freedom and open intellectual exchange, including those cases associated with the Israel-Palestine debate. Academic boycotts and blacklists are discriminatory per se and undercut the purpose of the academy: the pursuit of knowledge. Likewise, we are against legislative and other efforts by domestic or foreign interests that seek to diminish the academic freedom of those scholars who might propose, endorse, or promote academic boycotts, even if we strongly disagree with these tactics.
The Council will function as an advisory body to The Third Narrative (TTN), facilitated by Ameinu. The Council will seek to create a unique, middle ground, organizing space at TTN for progressive academics and will engage academics from across North America to undertake the following activities:
- Oversee the preparation of written materials on issues related to academic freedom and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;
- Coordinate the sharing of information on efforts to promote anti-Israel boycotts and blacklists among academic associations, and efforts to punish academics for their political speech about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the speech of those who support the academic boycotts that we oppose;
- Promote the values of academic freedom and open intellectual exchange, as well as the perspectives of the Council, through traditional and social media;
- Organize advocacy campaigns on specific academic freedom issues;
- Develop proactive outreach plans to promote the values of academic freedom, and more generally the free expression and exchange of ideas, particularly as they relate to the Middle East, in academic institutions and associations;
- Provide speakers and other resources to individual campuses where academic freedom is threatened; and
- Create opportunities for progressive faculty to collaborate with like-minded undergraduate and graduate students on individual campuses to work together for academic freedom and open intellectual exchange.
Endorsing the Statement of Principles:
Eric Alterman, CUNY Distinguished Professor of English and Journalism, Brooklyn College
Yael Aronoff, Associate Professor of International Relations and Associate Director of Jewish Studies, James Madison College and Jewish Studies, Michigan State University
Peter Beinart, Associate Professor of Journalism and Political Science, City University of NY
Michael Bérubé, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature and Director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities
David Biale, Emanuel Ringelblum Distinguished Professor of Jewish History, University of California, Davis
Steven M. Cohen, Research Professor of Jewish Social Policy, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
Hasia Diner, Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History, New York University
Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, Distinguished Professor, Graduate Center, City University of NY
Sara Evans, Regents Professor Emerita, Department of History, University of Minnesota
Claude S. Fischer, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley
Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Joseph S. Atha Professor of Humanities; Professor of English, and Director of American Studies, Stanford University
Sam Fleischacker, Professor of Philosophy, University of Illinois-Chicago; Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford (2013-14)
Todd Gitlin, Professor of Journalism and Sociology; Chair, Ph. D. Program in Communications, Columbia University
Chad Alan Goldberg, Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Peter E. Gordon, Amabel B. James Professor of History, Harvard University
David Greenberg, Associate Professor of History and of Journalism and Media Studies, Rutgers University
Harold Hellenbrand, Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs, California State University, Northridge
Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College
Carole Joffe, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of California, Davis
Ira Katznelson, Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University
Michael Kazin, Professor of History, Georgetown University
Ari Y. Kelman, Jim Joseph Chair in Education and Jewish Studies, Associate Professor of Education, Stanford University
Alice Kessler-Harris, R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of History, Columbia University
Rebecca Kobrin, Russell and Bettina Knapp Assistant Professor of American Jewish History, Columbia University
Nicholas Lemann, Professor of Journalism and Dean Emeritus, Columbia University School of Journalism
Steven Lubet, Williams Memorial Professor of Law, Northwestern University School of Law
Jeffry Mallow, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Loyola University, Chicago
Maud Mandel, Associate Professor of Judaic Studies and History, Brown University
Elaine Tyler May, Regents Professor, Departments of American Studies and History, University of Minnesota
Deborah Dash Moore, Director of the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies and Frederick G.L. Huetwell Professor of History, University of Michigan
Leslie Morris, Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor of German, University of Minnesota
José C. Moya, Professor of History and Director, Forum on Migration, Barnard College; Director, Institute of Latin American Studies, Columbia University
Samuel Moyn, James Bryce Professor of European Legal History, Columbia University
Sharon Ann Musher, Associate Professor of History and Director of M.A. in American Studies, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
Cary Nelson, Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Derek J. Penslar, Samuel Zacks Professor of Jewish History, University of Toronto
Riv-Ellen Prell, Professor of American Studies and Director of Center for Jewish Studies, University of Minnesota.
Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, Merle Curti Associate Professor of History, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Brent Sasley, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Texas at Arlington
Gershon Shafir, Professor of Sociology, University of California, San Diego
Judith Shulevitz, Adjunct Assistant Professor of English, Barnard College
Catherine Bodard Silver, Professor Emerita (Sociology), Brooklyn College and Graduate Center, CUNY
Seymour Spilerman, Julian C. Levi Professor of Sociology, Columbia University
Mira Sucharov, Associate Professor of Political Science, Carleton University, Ottawa
Ann Swidler, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley
Siva Vaidhyanathan, Robertson Professor; Chair, Department of Media Studies, The University of Virginia
Kenneth Waltzer, Professor of History, James Madison College; Director of Jewish Studies, Michigan State University
Judith B. Walzer, Former Provost and Professor of Literature, New School, NY
Michael Walzer, Professor Emeritus, Institute for Advanced Studies
Dov Waxman, Associate Professor of Political Science, Baruch College and Graduate Center, City University of New York; Co-Director of the Middle East Center for Peace, Culture, and Development, Northeastern University
Beth C. Weitzman, Vice Dean; Professor, Health and Public Policy, NYU Steinhardt
Beth S. Wenger, Professor of History; Chair, History Department, University of Pennsylvania
Jeff Weintraub, Social & Political Theorist and Political Sociologist, Most recently at the University of Pennsylvania and Bryn Mawr College
Kate Wittenstein, Professor in History and Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies, Adolfus College
Steven Zipperstein, Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History, Stanford University