Dear international oral history colleagues,
We thank you again for joining us and the other 145 international oral historians two years ago when we called for a boycott of the 2014 oral history conference at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. While we don’t know how many of our colleagues boycotted that first conference, we do know that our campaign led to the original scheduled keynoters withdrawing.
Well, it’s that time again. Hebrew University is holding another “international oral history conference” in December 2016.  We hope that you will join us once again, this time appealing directly to our oral history colleagues around the world to neither submit proposals nor attend the conference. Besides asking all the signers to send to their own networks, we will send the signed statement to both the IOHA (International Oral History Association ) and to the oral history organizations in our various countries.
►To add your name to the statement below, please send your name, title, and institutional affiliation to HUconferenceboycott2016[at]gmail[dot]com
Sherna Berger Gluck, Emerita Director, California State University, Long Beach, USA
Rosemary Sayigh, Visiting Lecture, Center for Arab and Middle East Studies, American University, Beirut, Lebanon
Nur Masalha, Professor, SOAS University of London, UK
Supporting the Palestinian Right to Education
Boycotting the Hebrew University Oral History Conference
Over the past several months, Israeli military forces entered Palestinian universities, fired live ammunition, and tear gassed and injured students. At Palestine Technical University- Kadoorie University in Tulkarem in the West Bank, the Israeli military invaded the campus and injured nine Palestinian students. Israeli soldiers also entered Birzeit University on January 11 and closed the gates of this important center of Palestinian higher education. The soldiers went door to door in the dormitories, harassing the students before abducting Aseed al-Banna, a Student Senate member. The Syndicate of the Palestinian Universities Union has denounced these ongoing incursions and assaults on the right to education. This is the environment in which Palestinian students and scholars must work as they try to teach and study under Israeli occupation.
Furthermore, in fall 2015, many students and youth were killed, arrested, kidnapped, placed in administrative (indefinite) detention, and tortured by Israeli soldiers and settlers. Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, and inside Israel were subjected to a brutal assault by Israel entailing extrajudicial assassinations by soldiers, lynchings by settlers, arson attacks that killed toddlers and families, and daily racist harassment. These are just the latest incidents of violence enacted by the Israeli state that wages wars with impunity and continues to isolate and besiege Palestinians.
In the midst of all this, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is hosting another international oral history conference in December 2016.
We call on oral historians to refuse to submit proposals or to attend this conference. To do so would be to cross the global picket line and violate the call by Palestinian civil society for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions. Instead, as scholars, we must express our principled opposition to occupation, apartheid, and colonization.
Although all Israeli universities are deeply complicit with the state’s colonial and racist policies the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is particularly noteworthy:
● Its Mount Scopus campus is built on Palestinian land illegally confiscated by Israel in 1968. Israel’s unilateral annexation of occupied East Jerusalem and the application of Israeli domestic law to it, are violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and have been repeatedly denounced by the UN Security Council.
● It maintains close ties to the Israeli military industry, which is accused of war crimes against Palestinian civilians; provides special privileges to Israeli soldiers and security personnel; and collaborates with the Israeli army in training officers and recruits.
● It discriminates against Palestinians, including those who are citizens of Israel in several areas, including not providing teaching services to the residents of Jerusalem in contrast to those provided to Jewish groups; and not offering any courses in Arabic.
● It denies freedom of speech and protest to its few Palestinian students.
While boycotting this conference at Hebrew University of Jerusalem is a clear statement about accountability, it is more. Refusing to submit a proposal or attend this conference demonstrates solidarity with our Palestinian colleagues who are denied academic freedom. It also serves as a condemnation of Israel’s systematic denial of Palestinians Right to Education and freedom of movement.
 Call for papers - Oral Narratives and the Politics of History Making