I’m proud to be a member of Academia for Equality, an organization that works to defend academic freedom, to oppose the complicity of Israeli academia with the oppression of the Palestinian people, to uphold the value of higher education as a public good, and to promote the professional interests of Israeli scholars. These are critical fronts in the struggle for democratization of Israel/Palestine.
Joel Beinin, Stanford University
Academia for Equality is a special organization enabling meaninful impact even for people whose desks are overloaded and restrictive. At every given moment, women and men are taking action in our name: against sexual and gender-based harassment on campuses; towards solidarity with Palestinians on either side of the Green Line; to strengthen the language which enables Mizrahi-Ashkenazi dialogue; to stand by those persecuted by the forces of darkness; to introduce diversity in faculty and promotion at all levels of academia and especially to raise consciousness to what it means to be a first-generation student and academic. Academia for Equality enables action when the issue is dear to us and support for the actions of others, locally and internationally, on academia-related subjects. It is a very unique form of activism – sounding voices and creating a space of discussion and learning.
Orly Benjamin, Bar-Ilan University
I’m proud of Academia for Equality for promoting a higher education system attentive to first-generation students and scholars as an alternative to a system in which knowledge, social mobility and the possibility of social change are all dependent on one’s circumstances of birth. As such, it views everyone as equally entitled to the chance to study and contribute. It envisions an academia for all.
I believe that Academia for Equality is an opportunity to encounter each other, expand our thinking and become organic intellectuals. Especially in this place. This is a collective whose aspiration to egalitarianism is delimited; its power, like that of any professional organization, is in eventually joining forces with potential partners in all fields on the way to the revolution.
Academia for Equality is possibly the only professional academic body acting in settler-colonial State of Israel and beyond the membership of which consists mostly of academics of (inter alia) Israeli citizenship who seriously attempt to defend the value of Equality in the hostile environment of Israeli apartheid, racism and xenophobia.
Academia for Equality is the most important academic organization in Israel today. The combination of young and older teachers, those living in Israel and abroad, or working in universities and colleges, and especially between teachers and other university employees – prefigures a much more progressive social and political orientation that what we have known before. It breaks through glass and concrete ceilings of class, gender, ethnicity and nationality in the academic ivory tower.
In a society intoxicated by its power to oppress, slumbering in thoughtlessness, Academia for Equality strives to awaken, remind, probe, and reach out in action towards a more just life.
Khaled Furani, Tel Aviv University
Academia for Equality assumes that the university in general and the universities in Israel are sites of deep-seated inequalities, where Palestinians, Mizrahim, women and LGBT do not have equal voice and equal standing. Academia for Equality assumes that universities and particularly staff and students have a significant role to play in the struggle for equality and justice within their societies, and in Israel against the country’s colonial project – universities are not islands, nor should they be ivory towers. Academia for Equality is a community of people who put care front and center in times of widespread carelessness. For these reasons and more I support Academia for Equality.
Academia for Equality raises its voice on important issues to do with justice and equality in academia. There is great importance in the existence of an organization of researchers with political and moral sensitivity to the fight against discrimination and censorship and for making higher education available to all.
The importance of Academia for Equality extends far beyond the borders of the academy, because the the organization’s actions, in aggregate, offere a practical, concrete interpretation of the term “left.” As an explicitly left-wing organizaiton, Academia for Equality embodies the close links between the fights for fair employment practices; against the detention of Palestinian scholars and students in the occupied West Bank; for an end to sexual harrassment in academia; for practical resistance to the intrusion of militarism into academic institutions; for an emphasis on diversity in hiring practices; and for resistance to the quantification of quality.
I appreciate Academia for Equality as a framework for thinking and acting that occasions the intersection of diverse left-leaning voices, women and men, topics and practices. Through it you can campaign for fair employment of faculty and cleaning staff at colleges and universities, challenge police brutality against the Palestinian neighborhood beside the Hebrew University campus on Mt. Scopus, take action against continuing oppression of Palestinian students and faculty in the West Bank and Gaza, in intersection with taking measures to end sexual harassment and gender-based violence in academia, to name some. Such links and intersections are vital, as are the space and possibility for initiating action against the injustices troubling different members and amplifying them with collective group support.
Rela Mazali, Independent scholar, writer, activist
For me Academia for Equality is first and foremost an extended family of colleagues of diverse backgrounds, united by an aspiration to break boundaries and open more doors to members of excluded communities, such as first-generation students, and to make real progress within the academic field. Given the cruel relations of power between Israel and our occupied Palestinian neighbors, Academia for Equality’s activism in support of the right to study and teach, the right to mobility for research purposes, and the demand to eject security and surveillance forces from campuses and academic networks, all form a part of the way to pull down barriers and protect everyone’s basic right to study, grow and express themselves. This is no less true within Israel, where we must secure safe and fair spaces for teaching, learning and research, both for veteran scholars and the younger generation, spaces free of harassment, power plays and stigmatization.
An important organization giving every person in academia – whether directly or indirectly, whether senior or junior – a a clear, independent and influential voice to be loudly resounded. Academia for Equality supports its members emotionally and organizationally – a form of solidarity that is critical in general and particularly in times of distress.
Vered Slonim-Nevo, Ben-Gurion University
Academia for Equality is the right organization at the right time. First, it works to promote equality within academia, through study, discussion and struggle against the severe but disavowed discrimination practiced on campuses. Irregularly employed workers, junior and adjunct faculty, administrative staff, college workers, minorities and women encounter a glass ceiling and damaging attitudes. Academia says to academe, from the inside, “practice what you preach.” Second, Academia for Equality seeks to pull down the walls of the “ivory tower” which the campus has become, through struggles for openness, opportunity, equality and promotion of justice, thus becoming an important actor in the struggle over the direction of Israeli society. If academia and society are important to you, join Academia for Equality today!
Academia for Equality is a home and a refuge in the tangle of Israeli academia. The organization forges links between the different strata and generations in the universities and connects the various struggles which a true left-wing force should be involved in (the struggles against discrimination, racism and occupation and for national and gender equality, and more).
As a Palestinian academic with Israeli citizenship, Academia for Equality has given me the opportunity to raise and promote the issues that are most important to Palestinian students and academics in Israel: freedom of expression, recognition of the Arabic language, and acknowledgment of the singular problems and hurdles met by Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel the moment they pass the gates of an Israeli campus.
Academia for Equality is an important organization for academia in general and Israeli academia in particular, but it is doubly important to Palestinian scholars and students in Israeli academia.