A Group Defending Academic Freedom and Denouncing Any Boycott of Israeli Scholars

Posted: August 26, 2014 in General


A Group Defending Academic Freedom and Denouncing Any Boycott of Israeli Scholars
Chairman: James H. Charlesworth [Princeton] July 2014
Email: JHS@DefendAcademicFreedom.org

At the outset, allow me to share a personal anecdote. When I was teaching in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, as Lady Davis Professor, a Palestinian blew himself up in the cafeteria, killing Israelis. Subsequently, Palestinian students were not boycotted. I observed them being treated with respect, and relaxing with Israelis, as they have been for decades. 

Manifesto of Scholars and Professionals Defending Academic Freedom and Denouncing Any Boycott of Israeli Scholars.

We affirm:
1) The academy is a universally revered setting in which humans may ask all questions and search for answers using methodologies established by former and contemporary scholars.

2) Too many scholars have expressed hate against Israeli scholars and even boycotted colleagues in Israeli Universities. In April 2013, the Association for Asian American Studies was the first group in the United States to support an academic boycott of Israel. In December 2013, the American Studies Association also endorsed a boycott of Israeli universities. The announced reason was alleged human rights violations by Israelis against Palestinians.

3) To boycott a highly sophisticated, open and democratic academic community such as found in the exceptional universities in Israel and not to criticize other institutions that masquerade indoctrination for education, seems to be stained by a streak of anti-Semitism. Why do those who boycott Israeli scholars not also boycott Syrian scholars, since Arabs in Syria have murdered thousands of Christians and other Arabs? Why is there no boycott of Palestinian scholars, since Palestinian suicide bombers have killed so many civilians, notably children and women?

4) Biblical scholars can master the meaning of our sacred texts, especially the Hebrew Scriptures and the Dead Sea Scrolls, by spending time in “the Holy Land,” and discussing shared commitments and visions with Jews teaching in some of the most sophisticated universities in the world. Scientists can benefit from the research advanced in the Weitzman Institute and the Technion; and all of us benefit from the astounding Israeli inventions when we use iPhones, computers, and health care. To boycott all Israeli scholars is to defame the many Jews who have won Nobel Prizes.

5) Some of us are members of the American Association of University Professors and are proud of its condemnation of boycotts; they are a violation of academic freedom. We should never forget history and the condemnation or boycott of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). We join voices in exposing and criticizing those who reject and boycott Israeli scholars. We are a group of scholars and professionals who defend academic freedom and stand against the Anti-Israel scholars boycott.

We join this group because we endorse the above statement:

Israelis obviously support this manifesto and are included by definition.

Gary A. Anderson [Notre Dame, IND]
Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology
Notre Dame University

Professor Dr. Rami Arav [NE]
Department of Religion
Director, Bethsaida Excavation
University of Nebraska at Omaha

Harold W. Attridge [CT]
Sterling Professor of Divinity
Yale Divinity School
New Haven, CT

Lee Biondi [Santa Barbara, CA]
Biondi Rare Books & Manuscripts
Advisory Board, Foundation on Judaism and Christian Origins
Ancient Manuscript Appraiser

Gabriele Boccaccini [MI]
Professor of Second Temple Judaism and Christian Origins/New Testament
Department of Near Eastern Studies / Frankel Center for Judaic Studies
Ann Arbor, University of Michigan

Professor Dr. Peder Borgen [Norway]
Professor Emeritus of New Testament
Past President of Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters
Trondheim/Lilleström, Norway

Shaye J.D. Cohen [MA]
Littauer Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy
Chair, Dept. of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Harvard University

Daniel L. Dintzer [Los Angeles, CA]

Dr. Lorenzo DiTommaso [Canada]
Professor, Department of Religion
Concordia University

Casey Elledge [MN]
Associate Professor and Advisor, Religion and Pre-Law
Gustavus Adolphus College

David A. Fiensy, Ph.D. [KY]
Dean, Graduate School
Kentucky Christian University
Grayson, KY

Steven Fine [NY]
Dr. Pinkhos Churgin Professor of Jewish History,
Yeshiva University
New York

John W. Fischer [Cincinnati, OH]
Former counsel to Lane Theological Seminary,
now merged with McCormick Theological Seminary

Peter W. Flint, Ph.D. [Canada]
Canada Research Chair in Dead Sea Scrolls Studies
Director, Dead Sea Scrolls Institute
Professor of Religious Studies
Trinity Western University
Langley, BC

Prof. Florentina Badalanova Geller [Germany]
Topoi Excellence Cluster
Freie Universität Berlin

Prof. Dr. Markham J. Geller [Germany]
Professor für Wissensgeschichte
Topoi Excellence Cluster
Freie Universität Berlin

Dr. Charlotte Hempel [England]
Reader in Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism
University of Birmingham, UK

Shalom E. Holtz [NY]
Associate Professor of Bible
Chair, The Robert M. Beren Department of Jewish Studies
Yeshiva University

George Jochnowitz [NY]
Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at the
College of Staten Island, CUNY

James F. Joyner III [SC]
Certified Public Accountant
Financial Valuation Analyst
Editorial Assistant for the FJCO

Sergio La Porta [CA]
Haig and Isabel Berberian Professor of Armenian Studies
California State University, Fresno

Bernard M. Levinson [MN]
Berman Family Chair of Jewish Studies and Hebrew Bible
Professor of Classical & Near Eastern Studies and of Law
University of Minnesota

Professor Hermann Lichtenberger [Germany]
Institutum Judaicum [Tübingen]

Jodi Magness [NC]
Kenan Distinguished Professor
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Prof. Lee Martin McDonald [AZ]
Professor and President emeritus of Acadia Seminary
Leading authority on canon

George A. Makrauer [FL]
CEO, Comad Management Group
Senior Management and Strategic Planning Advisor
Advisory Board, Foundation on Judaism and Christian Origins

Martin McNamara [Dublin, Ireland]
Emeritus Professor of Sacred Scripture
Director of the “Aramaic Bible Project”

Carol Meyers [NC]
Mary Grace Wilson Professor
Duke University

Eric Meyers [NC]
Bernice and Morton Lerner Professor of Jewish Studies
Duke University

Professor Eric Noffke [Italy]
Assistant in New Testament, Facoltà Valdese di Teologia

Prof. Dr. Gerbern S. Oegema [Canada]
Professor of Biblical Studies
Faculty of Religious Studies
McGill University

David I. Owen [NY]
Bernard and Jane Schapiro Professor of
Ancient Near Eastern and Judaic Studies Emeritus
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Prof Gary A Rendsburg [NJ]
Distinguished Professor
Laurie Chair in Jewish History
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, N.J.

Jan Roskovec, Th.D. {CZ}
Lecturer in the New Testament at Protestant Theological Faculty
Director of the Center for Biblical Studies
Charles University

John C. Reeves [NC]
Blumenthal Professor of Judaic Studies
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

James A. Sanders [Los Angeles, CA]
Professor Emeritus,
Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University
President Emeritus, Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center

Lawrence H. Schiffman [NY]
Yeshiva University and NYU

Martin Schwartz [CA]
Professor Emeritus
Near Eastern Studies
University of California

Professor Dr. Harmon L. Smith [NC]
Emeritus Professor of Moral Theology
Duke University
Durham, NC

Jonathan Stone, DSc FAA [Sydney, Australia]
Professor of Retinal and Cerebral Neurobiology
Executive Director, Bosch Institute
University of Sydney F13

James Riley Strange [AL]
Associate Professor of Religion
Director, Shikhin Excavation Project
Samford University
Birmingham, AL

Prof. Dr. Loren Stuckenbruck [Germany]
Chair, New Testament and Second Temple Judaism
Evangelisch-Theologische Fakultät
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Prof. James D. Tabor, Chairman [NC]
Ancient Judaism & Early Christianity
Department of Religious Studies
UNC Charlotte

Dr. Abraham Terian [NY]
Emeritus Professor of Armenian Patristics and Theology
St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, New Rochelle, NY

Dr. Johnson Thomaskutty [India]
New Testament Studies
Editor, UBS Journal
Union Biblical Seminary
Maharashtra, India

Jeffrey H. Tigay [PA]
Emeritus Ellis Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages and Literatures
Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
University of Pennsylvania

Benyamim Tsedaka [Samaritan, Israel]
Head of A.B. – Institute of Samaritan Studies – Holon, Israel
Editor of A.B. – The Samaritan News Magazine

Eugene Ulrich [IN]
J. A. O’Brien Professor of Hebrew Bible, emeritus
University of Notre Dame

Marcello Del Verme [Naples, Italy]
Former Professor of Early Christianity and History of Religions
Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici
Sez. storico-religiosa

Theo Maarten van Lint [England]
Calouste Gulbenkian Professor of Armenian Studies
University of Oxford
United Kingdom

Prof. Pieter W. van der Horst [The Netherlands]
Professor Emeritus of Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity
Utrecht University

Linda Wall [NC]
Excavator at Hatzor
Advisory Board, Foundation on Judaism and Christian Origins
Distinguished Breeder:
Buckskin Mare Grand Champion 2011.
Reserve Champion 2012

Robert N. Wolfe, M.D., F.C.C.P.
Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
University of California, Los Angeles

Prof. Miroslaw S. Wrobel [Poland]
Director and Editor of the Polish Aramaic Project

Theo Maarten van Lint [Oxford, UK]
Calouste Gulbenkian Professor of Armenian Studies
University of Oxford
United Kingdom

Prof. Dr. Constantin Zuckerman [Paris, France]
Ecole pratique des hautes études,
En Sorbonne, 17 rue de la Sorbonne


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