Who and what is Academics For Justice (AFJ)?
- Anti-Israel, anti-war organization of university professors
- Calls for international boycott against institutions of higher education in Israel
- Strongly supports anti-Israel professor Norman Finkelstein
- Member of United For Peace and Justice antiwar coalition
Academics For Justice (AFJ) is an organization of college and university professors whose stated mission is: “to work for justice and human rights, to defend academic freedom of speech and association, to educate the public, and to help bring about peace with justice.” Ranking high on AFJ’s current list of priorities are: opposition to American involvement in the Iraq War, and opposition to Israeli policies regarding the Palestinians. To protest what it considers Israeli-perpetrated injustices against the Palestinian people, AFJ has composed a petition calling for an international boycott against institutions of higher learning in Israel. This document condemns Israel’s “decades of debilitating occupation, . . . [its] continuing atrocities, its campaigns to disrupt Palestinian educational and other civil institutions, its breaches of international law and of humanitarian standards, as well as the general discriminatory nature of its system.” To view a complete list of the signatories, click here.
Notably, AFJ makes no mention, anywhere in its petition, of Israel’s repeated attempts to negotiate for peace, nor of the relentless Palestinian terror campaigns of recent decades.
AFJ members spread their anti-Israel message in a number of ways: organizing teach-ins, speaking tours, and divestment campaigns on U.S. college campuses; accessing the media via letters to the editor, op-eds, and paid advertisements; creating petitions and collecting signatures; directing financial aid to the causes it supports; producing educational materials such as fact sheets and other resources for instructors; maintaining a web page to post action alerts and timely information; and establishing a chat group to discuss future actions and strategies.
AFJ strongly supports the views of Norman Finkelstein, the DePaul University political science professor and Holocaust denier whose stated opinions include the following:
“[Jewish organizations that seek compensation for Holocaust survivors] . . . steal, and I do use the word with intent, 95% of the monies earmarked for victims of Nazi persecution . . . They have disgraced the memory of the Jewish people’s suffering on the one hand by turning it into an extortion racket.” “[The situation of contemporary Palestinian Arabs in Israel] is probably similar to the situation to Blacks in the American South before the civil rights movement.” “If you understand terrorism to mean the targeting of civilian populations in order to achieve political goals, then plainly the U.S. qualifies as the main terrorist government in the world today, if only because of the sheer force it has at its disposal.” “Frankly, part of me says — even though everything since September 11 has been a nightmare – ‘you know what, we deserve the problem on our hands because some things Bin Laden says are true.’ . . . Why should we go on merrily with our lives while so much of the world is suffering, and suffering incidentally not with us merely as bystanders, but with us as the indirect and direct perpetrators.”
AFJ exhorts Americans to contact their local bookstores to voice their support for Finkelstein’s book The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering. The organization encourages people to invite Finkelstein to be a guest speaker at their schools, community centers, and houses of worship.
AFJ is a member organization of United For Peace and Justice, the large antiwar coalition led by the longtime Communist [Smooth: lesbian & Jewish] activist Leslie Cagan. By virtue of its membership in UFPJ, AFJ tacitly endorses the coalition’s pledge to oppose “our [American] government’s policy of permanent warfare and empire-building,” and the Bush administration’s alleged “drive to expand U.S. control over other nations and strip us of our rights at home under the cover of fighting terrorism and spreading democracy.”
On its website, AFJ provides links to the homepages of numerous likeminded organizations, including Al-Awda, the International Solidarity Movement, Jews Against the Occupation, Stop US Tax-funded Aid to Israel Now (SUSTAIN), the Palestine Children’s Welfare Fund, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch. AFJ also provides links to the divestment-campaign websites of a number of American universities.
cross-posted on Divest from Palestine