Academic Freedom Letter of Support for Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian

Asher Cohen
President, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Tamir Sheafer
Rector, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Dear President Cohen and Rector Sheafer,

On behalf of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and its 8,000 members we write to you with grave concern that you have called upon Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian to resign for signing a petition entitled “Childhood researchers and students call for immediate ceasefire in Gaza.” We were also shocked to learn your letter to her was posted and disseminated on social media, which then served as an incitement to hateful messages and threats of violence against Professor Shalhoub-Kevorkian.

Our Association is deeply committed to the principles of academic freedom, which is essential for researchers, teachers, and students to advance the purpose of institutions of higher education, including Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in serving the common good. We adhere to the American Association of University Professors’ (AAUP) Statement on Academic Freedom, which also recognizes that “the common good depends on the free search” for knowledge and its free exposition.

The pattern of recent events in the Middle East and, indeed, around the world indicate a gathering storm that threatens the academic freedom of anthropologists and other academics. Historically, these threats have been most effectively mitigated when scholarly and professional associations like ours have investigated and spoken out against attacks on academic freedom.

We call upon you to rescind your letter and condemn any and all threats against Professor Shalhoub-Kevorkian. We are also concerned that your decision is a potential threat to the overall University faculty’s freedom of academic inquiry and expression and urge you in the strongest possible terms to use the full capacities of your office to preserve, protect, and promote the pursuit of knowledge and the free exchange of ideas.


Ady Arguelles-Sabatier
Executive Director
American Anthropological Association