Approved Statement: SSSP Calls for an End to the Violence in the Middle East

The Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) is devastated over the violence and loss of innocent life in Israel and Palestine. We endorse the following statement authored by the American Anthropological Association: 1

“The brutal hostilities, including the targeting of noncombatants and the destruction of critical infrastructure are unacceptable under any circumstances.

As an association… with diverse and sometimes conflicting viewpoints, we have to navigate the complexities of competing truths, presenting perspectives that can be both thought-provoking and challenging. We have deep compassion for the victims of the Oct[ober 7, 2023] violence perpetrated by Hamas – there can be no justification for what took place. We also understand the tragic process that produced the current war and that the fraught history of the region must be reckoned with.

Over the last several decades, we see the many forms of structural and everyday violence imposed by the Israeli government on the Palestinian population. This includes the steady expansion of Israeli settlements into Palestinian territory, violent land grabs, the demolition of Palestinian homes and entire villages, forced evictions, the curtailing of movement by the use of walls and checkpoints, and the discriminatory treatment of the Palestinian citizens of Israel.

By cutting off access to food, electricity, water and fuel to the residents of Gaza, a humanitarian catastrophe is well underway. Gaza’s already fragile health care system is at a breaking point, and the disruption of its educational institutions is unacceptable.

We are also deeply concerned about academic freedom and campus community safety at U.S. universities and beyond. Students and faculty have a right to be heard and their safety, including protection from harassment, intimidation, and outright attack is paramount. While there is room for productive debate and dissent, there is no tolerance for menacing conduct, including physical threats as well as online harassment and doxxing. Acts of discrimination and violence based on religion or ethnicity have no place in our communities and, especially, at our educational institutions. We call on academic institutions to support vulnerable students, faculty, and staff and nurture an atmosphere of inclusivity, understanding and acceptance.”

As an organization committed to inalienable human rights, the eradication of discrimination (both intentional and unintentional), harassment, intimidation, and violence, and the promotion of social justice, the SSSP calls for an immediate end to violence, to the safe return of all Palestinian and Israeli hostages, and for solutions to ensure the safety, dignity, and prosperity of all. 

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