Solidarity work - Israel and Worldwide
We work to establish ties with and support individuals and institutions whose academic freedoms are threatened. We support academics who are subject to various pressures through campaigns of intimidation and harassment and we stand beside them.
Academia for Equality promotes solidarity with colleagues who are attacked for their political or social views or actions. Neoliberal academia and the academic activity itself promote isolation and separation in most professional spaces. Because of the hierarchical structure and the competitive system in academia, it is difficult to generate solidarity and to find an appropriate response to attacks on academic freedom and political persecution. We seek to create spaces of mutual support and solidarity reaching out to academics who are under attack in Israel and around the world. Solidarity as a feminist method requires political support to be rooted not only in concrete knowledge of the circumstances of those attacked, but also in the ability to understand these circumstances (without appropriating them) in order to stand by them and strengthen them in the most effective way. We are following with concern the expanding attacks (Hebrew) on academics worldwide and their impact on the functioning and conditions of employment of individuals who are at the receiving end of these attacks. We decide many times to intervene as an organization by sending solidarity messages to academics in Israel and abroad, or demanding clarifications on their behalf from university authorities, as we did, for instance, with the Humboldt University in Berlin, that canceled a lecture by a Palestinian researcher due to political pressure, or Fresno University in California that canceled the search for candidates for a professorship named after Edward Said because all the candidates were of Arab origin. Our organization was of the first to demand an inquiry into the circumstances that forced Dr. Dotan Leshem (Hebrew), a member of the organization, to leave the Haifa University due to his public speech and public activity.
Incidents such as the secret recording of a corridor conversation between a lecturer and a student after class, concocted by the Im Tirtzu organization in order to attack a lecturer at the Hebrew University (Hebrew) as well as other types of persecutions such as these do not remain unanswered.
In January 2018 we dispatched a delegation to Turkey to support the academics who were persecuted there by the regime for signing a peace petition. We helped to generate international visibility for their situation, as well as to the struggles of others who were under attacks and unfounded accusations, such as Thomas Abowd, Marc Hill, Lara Al Qasem, John Cheney-Lippold, Susan Slyomovics, Katherine Franke, Sigrid Vertommen, the Central European University in Hungary, Department of Gender Studies in Hungary and colleagues from Catalonia.
We are working diligently on the development of our knowledge of particular circumstances of attacks, and on our ability as an organization to serve as a network of support for academics whose status and academic freedom are threatened under political pressure. Thus, we expressed our opposition to the proposal to impose an Ethics Code to police the political conduct of academics as initiated by Professor Assa Kasher from Tel Aviv University. The grounds for our objection to such attempts are detailed in a position paper (Hebrew). To encourage public debate we also initiated a panel discussion bringing various positions to bear on the question of “the political” in an academic context. We challenge the idea that academia and politics belong to two separate spheres that should not be mixed, when in reality we know very well that academia is saturated with politics, political decisions and political phenomena - from the politics of the appointments committees, decisions about who is promoted in the academia and who isn't, in what positions and roles, all the way through to fundamental decisions about the nature of knowledge, the question of which knowledge is valued and which is not valued, and the lack of agreement on values of teaching.