Maya Wind was born and grew up in Jerusalem but did not meet a Palestinian until she was fifteen years old. Like all her schoolmates, she believed the IDF was merely defending Israel against the hostile antisemitic Arabs inside and outside the country. Not until a chance meeting with a Palestinian girl her age and subsequent visits to Palestinian villages did she recognise this as a make-believe world of Israeli innocence and victimhood. This led her to refuse military service even at the cost of time in prison, to study abroad, and at the end of this month to the publication of a startling expose of Israeli universities as active collaborators in Israel’s regime of occupation and repression, which will be published by Verso. Below is a short description of the book and some of the reviews that accompany it.

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


How Israeli universities collaborate in Israeli state violence against Palestinians

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.


  • 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
  • There are no ivory towers! Maya Wind brings this truth to the light with a forensic accounting of Israeli universities and their complete implication in Israel’s occupation and apartheid regime. Towers of Ivory and Steel lays bare Israeli campuses as Jewish settlements of replacement in occupied lands, the knowledge arm for security forces and the local military industry, and as sites of Palestinian intellectual suppression, all co-signed by the “liberal silence” of Israeli academics. Fearless, emphatic, and unflinching. No other work better demonstrates why higher education remains a vital site of struggle over the future of democracy, in Israel, in Palestine, and across the world.

     Davarian L. Baldwin, author of In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower: How Universities are Plundering Our Cities
  • This book is a must read — meticulously researched, lucidly written, and convincingly argued. Wind deftly illuminates the myriad ways in which the university is a site of meaningful struggle. debunking the deep-seated myths that heretofore have served to normalize Israel’s academic complex as it is part and parcel of the state’s settler colonial projects of both occupation and apartheid that violently dominate and dispossess the Palestinian people. Towers of Ivory and Steel provides a roadmap for Israeli academics to end the institutional complicity and join the movement to remake higher education for liberation.

     J. Kehaulani Kauanui, author of Paradoxes of Hawaiian Sovereignty: Land, Sex, and the Colonial Politics of State Nationalism
  • A devastating analysis of the extensive, insidious ways that the Israeli academy is central to the architecture of occupation, settler colonial violence, and repression of Palestinians. Through meticulous ethnographic and archival research, Wind not only gives lie to the claim that the Israeli academy is a bastion of academic freedom and vigorous debate. She provides a model for the decolonial work we must all do until there is freedom and liberation for all.

     Jessica Winegar, co-author with Lara Deeb of Anthropology’s Politics: Disciplining the Middle East