Oct. 20, 2023: More than eighty scholars and researchers from the Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism (ICSZ) released an open letter to universities and other institutions, demanding they retract their statements endorsing Israeli genocide against Palestinians.
During the past two weeks of Israeli attacks on Gaza, university administrators across the United States have released a wave of statements of support for Israeli military violence, stripped of references to the prior eight decades of Israeli colonization and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, and ignoring or directly endorsing the mass killing of Palestinians in Gaza’s “open-air prison.”
University administrators’ anti-Palestinian statements – which carry institutional weight but are generated by a small set of university officials – have run in stark contrast to the thousands of global scholars who have signed letters denouncing genocide and apartheid, and tens of thousands of students joining campus protests to demand Palestinian freedom. As scholars and students who advocate against genocide and apartheid are doxxed, harassed, and fired, ICSZ scholars join others worldwide to denounce violence enacted by academic institutions, as well as by states.
The Institute for the Critical Study of Zionism aims to support the delinking of the study of Zionism from Jewish Studies, and to reclaim academia and public discourse for the study of Zionism as a political, ideological, and racial and gendered knowledge project, intersecting with Palestine and decolonial studies, critical terrorism studies, settler colonial studies, and related scholarship and activism.
The Institute approaches Zionism as a broad set of colonial and repressive work and solidarities, efforts to curate knowledge and identities, and to dismantle movements that resist it. In other words, Zionism’s project extends beyond the borders of Palestine.
Many scholars and activists are working to illuminate such “other work” of Zionist institutions and discourses, historically and in the present, to shape the material conditions of life, the movement of capital, the construction of racial identity, and more.
The Institute supports this expansive work with fellowships to support academic and activist work, conferences, and publications that expand the reach of scholars’ and activists’ work into political culture.
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