25 February 2024

In reaction to the Nazi regime’s responsibility for the murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust, latter day German governments have dogmatically suppressed even a word of criticism of Israel: an act of the crudest dogmatism that conflates Israel with Jews everywhere and makes Palestinians the last victims of the Holocaust. It is therefore with some relief that several dozen Jewish Israeli academics (albeit most of them living abroad) have come to the defence of the latest victim of Germany’s antisemitic policy, Professor Ghassan Hage, a prominent Lebanese-Australian anthropologist, who was rejected as a visitor by the Max Planck Society in Munich. The original report may be found here.

Israeli Jewish academics support Professor Ghassan Hage

Israeli Jewish scholars, working in Israel and worldwide, write to Patrick Cramer, President of the Max Planck Society, in support of Prof. Ghassan Hage and in protest of the accusations against him.

Prof. Dr. Patrick Cramer, 12.02.2024
President of the Max Planck Society
Old Town, 80539
Munich, Germany

Dear colleagues,

We write as Israeli Jewish scholars, working in Israel and worldwide, in
support of Prof. Ghassan Hage and in protest of the accusations against him.
Prof. Hage is an outstanding contributor to the field of anthropology, who has
made a professional impact on us all. His critical analysis of ethno-nationalism
– be it Australian, Israeli, or Palestinian – and his vision of an alter-politics for
Israel/Palestine both invoke an alternative to nationalist political structures
and the possibility of egalitarian co-living between Jews, Christians, Muslims
and others.
The significance of this moral and intellectual vision to anthropologists in
Israel was reflected in Prof. Hage’s invitation to deliver a keynote address to
the Israeli Anthropological Association (IAA) in 2016. Though he refused the
invitation, the published correspondence between Prof. Hage and Prof. Nir
Avieli, then President of the IAA, demonstrates his sensitivity to the
complexity of the political situation in our country. His stance is political and
critical, but it is not antisemitic. Accusing Prof. Hage of antisemitism is
malicious and betrays a lack of good faith.
As Jews, some of us descendants of victims of the Nazi Holocaust, and some
who research the Holocaust and racist violence more generally, we take this
opportunity to voice our concern over the conflation between criticism of Israel
and antisemitism, which is putting Jewish life in the diaspora, and Germany in
particular, at risk.
It is well-known that Prof. Hage is a proponent of the boycott of Israeli
academic institutions as part of the BDS movement. While many of us
disagree with the methods of this movement, we acknowledge that its
guidelines do not mandate discrimination against individual Jews or Israelis,
and can affirm that Prof. Hage does not practice such discrimination. Several
Israeli Jewish scholars have had the privilege of consulting and debating with
him, and have always been welcomed with respect, kindness, and a
professional response.
In the harsh time our world is going through, a time of polarization, deep
mistrust, nationalist radicalization, and the persecution of dissenting voices,
we urge you not to succumb to the brutal silencing of critical voices, and to
uphold the academic value of unbiased evaluation and fair dealing.

Best regards,


Matan Kaminer, Queen Mary University London
Dr. Livnat Konopny Decleve, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Erella Grassiani, University of Amsterdam
Yael Assor, Martin Buber Society of Fellows
Eilat Maoz, Hebrew University
Dr Ophira Gamliel, University of Glasgow
Professor Avner Ben-Amos, Tel-Aviv University
Dr Avital Barak Research fellow, IFILNOVE, Nova University
Naor Ben-Yehoyada, Columbia University
Keren Assaf, UNM
Mieka Polanco, Gender-Based Violence advisor, Jefferson Consulting
Dr. Hilla Dayan, NYU Remarque Center visiting Fellow
Dr. Dafna Hirsch, The Open University of Israel
Itamar Haritan, PhD Candidate, ,Cornell University
Dr. Shifra Kisch, Utrecht University
Prof. Nitzan Shoshan, El Colegio de Mexico
Barak Kalir, Associate Prof. University of Amsterdam
Dr. Hadas Weiss, Humboldt University of Berlin
Dr. Regev Nathansohn, Sapir College
Itamar Shachar, As sistantProfessor, School of Social Sciences, Hasselt University
Alma Miriam Katz, Social anthropology and museum ethnography department, the University of Oxford
Eli Osheroff Postoctoral Fellow, Faculty of Humanities, The Hebrew University
Dr. Guy Shalev, Haifa University
Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, Ben Gurion University
Dr. Anat Matar, Tel Aviv University
Anat RImon Or, PhD Beit Berl College
Dr. Yali Hashash Isha, L’isha Feminist Research Center
Dr. Ronnen Ben-Arie The Technion and Open University of Israel
Gaia Dan, Anti-occupation bloc Haifa
Professor Amalia Sa’ar, University of Haifa
Dr. Tamar Schneider, The Open University of Israel
Rafi Grosglik, Ben Gurion University
Dr Uri Gordon, CES
Udi Raz, Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies
Nira Yuval-Davis, Emeritus Professor, University of East London
Niza Yanay, Professor Emerita, Ben Gurion University
Yinon Cohen, Professor Columbia University
Daphna Westerman, PhD student, Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths University of London
Prof Pnina Motzafi Haller< Ben Gurion University of the Negev
Dr Yael Berda, Hebrew university
Yuval Yonay, University of Haifa
Micah Leshem, Emeritus professor of psychology, University of Haifa
Prof. Yehouda Shenhav, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Alma Itzhaky, Leibniz Zentrum für Literatur und Kulturforschung
Dr. Inna Leykin, The Open University of Israel
Neve Gordon, Professor of Human Rights Law, Queen Mary University of London
Tal Dor Nanates, Université
Hedva Eyal PhD
Anonymous Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Ben Gurion University of the Negev
Tamar Barkay, Tel Hai College
Uri Hadar, Professor Tel Aviv University
Sigel Ronen philosophy, performance music.
Nomi Erteschik-Shir, Emerita Ben-Gurion University
Nitzan Lebovic, Professor Lehigh University
Dr. Smadar Sharon, Tel-Aviv University
Prof. Amos Goldberg The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
* A copy of this letter was sent to Dr. Ursula Rao, Dr. Biao Xiang, and Dr.
Marie-Claire Foblets