Statement on the Situation in Israel and Palestine

The International Sociological Association (ISA) expresses its deep concern about the horrific events of October 2023 in Israel and Palestine as the human carnage there is unfolding in plain view. There have been far too many victims in this and previous cycles of violence. War and violence are never acceptable solutions and are against all the values we uphold. We stand by and respect the UN resolutions concerning this situation and share the call by many of our Palestinian and Israeli colleagues for an immediate release of hostages, exchange of prisoners, and the ending of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The ISA stands in solidarity with the Israeli and Palestinian social scientists who have defended human rights and raised their voices against the killing and kidnapping of civilians, the bombing of civilian infrastructure, including residential areas, hospitals, and universities, and occupation and war in general. The ISA condemns the massacre of Israeli and Palestinian civilians. We share the repeated denunciation by our colleagues in the Israeli Sociological Society of the violence against Palestinians and the illegal colonies in the Palestinian territories over the past few years.

We also express our deep concern about and condemn the rise of antisemitism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia globally and the everyday acts of violence these entail. We are particularly alarmed by the political backlash within the international academic community. The ISA cannot remain silent as spaces of public and academic debate are shrinking and increasingly policed. Today, more than ever, we require critical interventions by social scientists. Academic freedom needs to be protected and promoted. Well-informed and nuanced debate and a historicized and sociological understanding of the events that have led to the October 2023 atrocities are required to forestall further catastrophic loss of life. As stated by the Department of Historical and Cultural Studies at the University of Toronto, “it is not only permissible, but it is essential for scholars to situate the current war in its broad historical contexts, including those of settler colonialism.” Our duty as sociologists is to maintain spaces of debate and foster discussion during such a critical moment.

The ISA, as an international community of more than 5,000 sociologists, declares its commitment to maintain the resolve of its global membership, strengthen international dialogue, particularly with and among those of our colleagues who are affected by this war, make critical voices heard in our global scientific communities, and facilitate the dissemination of critical analyses in its publications and scholarly events.

October 19, 2023