Towers of Ivory and Steel: Israeli Universities’ Complicity

Dr. Maya Wind

Tuesday 27th February 2024 18.00-19.30 (GMT)


Maya Wind’s book is highly recommended by PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel). See the PACBI recommendation at the end of this notice. Those registering will receive a discount code from Verso, along with the access details for the seminar.

In the midst of daily atrocities in the Gaza Strip, including the destruction of every one of its universities, and the targeted killing of its scholars, Verso has published a text that will change the terms of the global debate about the academic boycott of Israeli universities.
Maya Wind’s book reports her forensic investigation of the complicity of Israeli academic institutions in the oppression, dispossession and dehumanisation of Palestinians. In the same way that attitudes to Israel can never be the same again after the destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure, schools, hospitals and housing, so too no academic business-as-usual with Israeli institutions will be possible once the evidence and arguments of this text have been disseminated.
Based on a close reading of official policy documents, state and military memoranda, government-sponsored research reports, Israeli and international media revelations, and Israeli academic unpublished Masters and Doctoral theses, Wind demonstrates the interdependence of Israeli universities and the state. She shows how universities facilitate settler colonial “Judaization,” the Israeli state project of territorial expansion and Palestinian dispossession. Academic disciplines, degree programs, campus infrastructure, and research laboratories all service Israel’s system of apartheid.
The book draws on decades of work by Palestinian intellectuals, as well as on ethnographic research and interviews with Palestinian students and Palestinian and Jewish-Israeli scholars, to document the role of Israeli universities in violating the rights of Palestinians to education, stifling critical scholarship, and violently repressing student dissent.
Every academic researcher, every Dean and Vice-Chancellor, every technical and administrative officer, and every tutor and student in a university needs to read this book. Each of us needs to know how, in associating in any way with Israeli universities, we are making ourselves complicit in the violation of human rights and in crimes against humanity in this drive to extirpate Palestine, its history and its culture.

Maya Wind is a Killam Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Her research on the reproduction and international export of Israeli security expertise has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Killam Laureates Trust. Her first book, Towers of Ivory and Steel: How Israeli Universities Deny Palestinian Freedom, investigates the complicity of Israeli universities in Israeli settler colonialism and apartheid. It is published by Verso in 2024.

Advance registration for this seminar is required …



Upcoming seminars in the BRICUP Seminar Series


Thursday 7th March 2024 at 18:00 (UK time)

Rashid Khalidi (Colombia University, New York)

‘Britain, Ireland and Palestine in the Wake of the First World War’


Thursday 25th April at 18:00 (UK time)

Avi Shlaim (University of Oxford)

‘Three Worlds: Memoirs of an Arab Jew’


The PACBI recommendation for  Towers of Ivory and Steel

Dear all,

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) welcomes the publication of the book, Towers of Ivory and Steel: How Israeli Universities Deny Palestinian Freedom, by Maya Wind.

Rich with groundbreaking research, the book illustrates, on a macro and micro level, how Israeli academic institutions are and have always been an integral part of Israel’s system of settler-colonial apartheid and its crimes against Palestinians, which now include genocide.

From publisher Verso Books:

Israeli universities have long enjoyed a reputation as liberal bastions of freedom and democracy. Drawing on extensive research and making Hebrew sources accessible to the international community, Maya Wind shatters this myth and documents how Israeli universities are directly complicit in the violation of Palestinian rights.

As this book shows, Israeli universities serve as pillars of Israel’s system of oppression against Palestinians. Academic disciplines, degree programs, campus infrastructure, and research laboratories all service Israeli occupation and apartheid, while universities violate the rights of Palestinians to education, stifle critical scholarship, and violently repress student dissent. Towers of Ivory and Steel is a powerful expose of Israeli academia’s ongoing and active complicity in Israel’s settler-colonial project.

We encourage you to purchase the book (we strongly advise against using!):

It is not only an essential tool in furthering the Palestinian call to boycott complicit Israeli universities. As Israel escalates its genocide against Palestinian in Gaza, Wind’s book also provides the context of Israel’s decades-long record of violations of Palestinian rights and the key role that Israeli higher education institutions have played in it from their start, adding a scholarly veneer to Israel’s crimes, allowing it to carry out the gravest of crimes with impunity.

Towers of Ivory and Steel: How Israeli Universities Deny Palestinian Freedom

by Maya Wind

Afterword by Robin D.G. Kelley
Foreword by Nadia Abu El Haj

288 pages

Verso Books

This book lands like a grenade, detonating comfortable and long held myths about the liberalism and independence of Israel’s university system. In their place, Wind’s rigorous and jaw-dropping research reveals countless ways that the nation’s most celebrated and storied education institutions are utterly entangled in the violent machinery of Palestinian dispossession, occupation, incarceration, surveillance, siege and military bombardment. From the development of deadly weapons to the crafting of state propaganda to the training of officers, there is no escaping the conclusion that these universities are part and parcel of the official infrastructure that has enabled Israel to systematically avoid the political solutions that are the only hope of enduring peace in the region. An explosive contribution from a brilliant young scholar.

— Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine and Doppelganger

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)