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Social Work Schools Group Rejects Effort to Boycott Israel, Adopts Call for Peace in ‘Huge Loss’ for BDS

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Memorial Glade and Sather Tower on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. Photo: Gku.

A leading group of social work schools adopted a resolution calling for peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Monday, rejecting efforts from some members to endorse the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, according to an education nonprofit.

Announced on Monday by International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) President Annamaria Campanini, the statement said, “In the recent Palestinian-Israeli Conflict we are appalled at the inordinate violence, loss of innocent civilian lives and the gross infringement on human rights to live peaceably. In solidarity with the people in Palestine and Israel who want peace, we support constructive ventures of social work and social development in Palestine and Israel.”

The group said it would support social development in the region and “engage social work educators in Palestine and Israel to take action towards peaceful resolution of the conflict.”

Outlining its approach, IASSW said its efforts would “ideally be grounds up involving consultation and participation of Palestinian and Israeli colleagues, separately or jointly.”

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The statement came after IASSW members had called for the group to ban Israeli academia and condemn the Jewish state for alleged crimes against humanity, according to Miriam Elman, Director of the Academic Engagement Network, a nonprofit organization that promotes education and research about Israel.

The IASSW Board of Directors rejected the proposal to endorse the BDS movement, Elman told The Algemeiner, and instead adopted Monday’s resolution.

“I think this is a huge win for peace and a huge loss for BDS,” Elman said. “It’s just one paragraph of a strategy for human rights saying that social development should be grounded up in the participation of all our colleagues  — Palestinian and Israeli colleagues — not exclusionary … We need many, many more faculty to take that stance.”

The International Association of Schools of Social Work is a network of schools, programs, and social workers promoting the advancement of social work education. The global organization includes over 400 members, including schools such as University of California, Berkeley and Boston University School of Social Work.

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