Statement on Israel Palestine Conflict 2021

Note: The following statement was signed Boston, May 17, 2021. As of today, Friday, May 21, a ceasefire has been declared between Hamas and Israel. The further-going demands of the statement have not therefore been rendered moot.

Seventy-three years after the Nakba of 1948, the forced displacement of three quarters of a million Palestinians from what became the territory of the State of Israel, and nearly fifty-four years after the June 1967 war, that brought further Palestinian territories and populations under Israeli control, it is important that we realize, without equivocation, that Palestinian lives matter. There cannot be a lasting peace in the Middle East without Israelis and Palestinians recognizing one another’s humanity. Those who claim to act in the name of their religion should consider that, in the eyes of God, we are all equal. Hatred is not the answer.

The undersigned members of the Boston University faculty call for an immediate cease fire between the IDF and Hamas in Gaza. Indiscriminate firing of rockets into civilian areas in Israel and disproportionate air and ground attacks on targets in densely populated areas of Gaza: both amount to collective punishment. These are violations of the laws of war, not justified acts of self-defense. The use of force must be a last resort, not a tactic used to score political points. This is not the way!

We call on President Biden to show leadership and use every appropriate means, including sanctions, to force an end to these needless and brutal hostilities and bring the parties back to the negotiating table, for a fair and equitable peace process without preconditions. We call for a return to bilateral negotiations to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once and for all. We call on Israel to respect and protect the rights of Muslim and Christian communities in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the Holy Land to free and safe access to their holy places. We call for an end to mob violence in Israeli cities that pits Israeli citizens, Palestinians Arabs and Jews, against one another. The incitement of hatred must stop. The right to peaceful protest must be respected. We urge the Palestinian Authority to restore the democratic process, hold the long-overdue elections, and give the Palestinian nation the leadership it so desperately needs. We call on Hamas to stop using their own population as human shields! We call on Israel to end this war and allow the people of Gaza and the entire region to heal.

We condemn all acts of anti-Jewish violence and reject the rhetoric that holds Jews accountable for the actions of the State of Israel, where they are not citizens and cannot vote. We condemn all forms of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.

Michael Zank, Professor of Religion, Jewish Studies, and Medieval Studies
Director, Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies, College of Arts and Sciences

David Frankfurter, Professor of Religion and Aurelio Chair in the Appreciation of Scripture

Tim Longman, Professor of Political Science and International Relations
Director, CURA: Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs
Acting Director, African Studies Center

Neta C. Crawford, Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science

Carrie Preston, Director, Kilachand Honors College / Professor of English and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies

Muhammad H. Zaman, Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Kimberly Arkin, Associate Professor of Anthropology

Ingrid Anderson, Associate Director, Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies

Teena Purohit, Associate Professor of Religion

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