800 American professors oppose ethnic cleansing

[email protected]

To the Editor:

[800 American professors have signed the following letter.]

We, American academics and intellectuals, applaud our courageous Israeli colleagues for their recent letter[1] warning of the possibility of ethnic cleansing in Israel and the Occupied Territories. The 187 Israeli signatories express concern that the “fog of war” [against Iraq] “could be exploited by the Israeli government to commit further crimes against the Palestinian people, up to full- fledged ethnic cleansing.”

The Israeli professors point out that: “The Israeli ruling coalition includes parties that promote ‘transfer’ of the Palestinian population as a solution to what they call ‘the demographic problem’. Politicians are regularly quoted in the media as suggesting forcible expulsion, most recently MKs [members of the Israeli parliament] Michael Kleiner and Benny Elon, as reported on Yediot Ahronot website on September 19, 2002. In a recent interview in Israeli daily Ha’aretz, Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon described the Palestinians as a ‘cancerous manifestation’ and equated the military actions in the Occupied Territories with ‘chemotherapy’, suggesting that more radical ‘treatment’ may be necessary. Prime Minister Sharon has backed this ‘assessment of reality’. Escalating racist demagoguery concerning the Palestinian citizens of Israel may indicate the scope of the crimes that are possibly being contemplated.”

Benjamin Netanyahu, the newly-appointed Israeli foreign minister, previously advocated expelling Palestinians while the world was distracted with events at Tiananmen Square.

We join with our Israeli colleagues in calling for vigilance as events unfold in Israel and the Occupied Territories. With an average of more than $10 million dollars per day of American tax dollars going to Israel, we believe Americans cannot remain silent while crimes as abhorrent as ethnic cleansing are being openly advocated.

We urge our government to communicate clearly to the government of Israel that the expulsion of people according to race, religion or nationality would constitute crimes against humanity and will not be tolerated.


Professor Joel Beinin, Stanford UniversityProfessor Zachary Lockman, NYUProfessor Gabi Piterberg, UCLAProfessor Glenn E. Robinson, Naval Postgraduate SchoolProfessor Ted Swedenburg, University of ArkansasProfessor Judith Tucker, Georgetown University

The full list of 800 signatories is available at www.professorsofconscience.org.

415-460-1882 (not for publication)124 Belvedere Street, #3, San Rafael, CA 94901


[1] The Guardian, September 28th 2002. The original letter issued by the Israeli academics may be viewed at http://www.indymedia.org.il/imc/israel/webcast/37938.html