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We write to congratulate The Daily Pennsylvanian for its coverage of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions conference, the University of Pennsylvania for hosting the conference, and most of all, the organizers of the conference for their courageous and hard work.

We write also to express our deep concern about the rhetoric of some of the opponents of the conference. A flyer that was apparently circulated outside the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts before Alan Dershowitz’s talk explicitly compares some Penn faculty members, who support the conference, to Nazi officials and some of the letters published here have also described the BDS movement as “genocidal.” These tactics of silencing and intimidation are appalling in their outrageous distortion and vicious attacks on those who dare to raise the issue of human rights for Palestinians in accordance with international law and the principles of racial equality and social justice.

As faculty members in other universities across the North America who study colonial societies as well as anti-colonial struggles, we urge the Penn community to be wary of any language that equates critique with genocide. Indeed, BDS is a tool that — as in the case of the movement against apartheid in South Africa — challenges racial inequality, dispossession, displacement and genocidal violence. Its goal is to support the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, to challenge the proliferating and violent forces of colonialism and occupation and to build solidarity with those working for true democracy and a just peace.

Anjali Arondekar
UC Santa Cruz

Crystal Bartolovich
Syracuse University

Bruce Braun
University of Minnesota

Timothy Brennan
University of Minnesota

Shefali Chandra
Washington University in St. Louis

Indrani Chatterjee
Rutgers University

Piya Chatterjee
UC Riverside

Nada Elia
Antioch University

Keya Ganguly
University of Minnesota

Vinay Gidwani
University of Minnesota

James Holstun
University at Buffalo

J. Kehaulani Kauanui
Wesleyan University

Sanjay Krishnan
Boston University

Sunaina Maira
UC Davis

Vijay Prashad
Trinity College

Sabina Sawhney
Hofstra University

Simona Sawhney
University of Minnesota

Nikhil Pal Singh
New York University

Mrinalini Sinha
University of Michigan

Ajay Skaria
University of Minnesota

Zohreh Sullivan
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Saadia Toor
College of Staten Island, CUNY

Joel Wainwright
Ohio State University

Anna Zalik
York University

Institutions are listed for purposes of affiliation only.

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