Duke Faculty and the Middle East Conflict sign now

A Statement of Duke Faculty Regarding Our Freedoms and The Middle East Conflict

We, the undersigned faculty of Duke University, are appalled by the current state of violence in Israel-Palestine. In the hope that dialogue will contribute to a new vision of the future in this troubled area of the world, we support the decision of the university administration to permit the Palestine Solidarity Movement to hold its conference here. We support the principle that universities ought to make room for all individuals and groups, no matter what their views, to present arguments fully, freely and peacefully to students and faculty. To this end, we urge Duke's administration to act quickly and firmly against any who would disrupt the free exchange of ideas.

At the same time, we feel compelled to point out that the concept of a university is integral to the larger concept of a democratic society, and entails a commitment to democratic ethics more broadly. Being for freedom of speech here means being for enforceable democratic standards everywhere: toleration for artistic and religious pluralism, rejection of fanaticism, equal protection for one's person and property, and the non-violent resolution of disputes. This, in turn, means supporting government institutions and actions that promote democratic ethics and opposing institutions and actions that systematically violate them.

With respect to the conflict in question, we condemn actions on both sides that clearly violate democratic standards, especially actions which have persisted over many years. We therefore

Reject the resort by Palestinian armed groups to any form of terrorism in pursuit of their political objectives;

Reject targeted actions by the Israeli army or by Jewish settlers which result in the death of or injury to civilians;

Call for an immediate end to the building or expansion of Jewish settlements in occupied territory, in clear contravention of Palestinian civil rights;

Call for a two-state solution, where the sovereignty of each state derives from the consent of its governed.

We believe that all groups and individuals who participate in debate about the Israel-Palestine conflict, at Duke and elsewhere, ought to start from these principles of action. To do so will build confidence, clear the air, and pave the way for productive discussion. Together at Duke we need to explore the many ways that democratic principles can be applied to resolve this conflict.


An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.
--Gandhi

Originating faculty:
Bernard Avishai, Visiting Professor, Sanford Institute and Fuqua School of Business
Kalman Bland, Professor of Religion and Judaic Studies
Miriam Cooke, Professor of Arabic Literature, AALL
Sidra Dekoven Ezrahi, Visiting Professor, AALL and Judaic Studies
Bruce Lawrence, Nancy and Jeffrey Marcus Humanities Professor, Professor of Islamic Studies
Carol Meyers, Mary Grace Wilson Professor of Religion and Judaic Studies
Eric Meyers, Bernice and Morton Lerner Professor of Religion and Judaic Studies

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President Richard H. Brodhead

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