• University of California, Berkeley
    University of California, Berkeley
  • Anti-Israel
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Judith Butler is an outspoken and leading activist within the BDS movement. She, for example, referred to both Hamas and Hezbollah as social movements during a “teach in” at Berkeley in 2006. During her remarks, she argued that “understanding Hamas, Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the Left, that are part of a global Left, is extremely important.”[1] In 2012, Butler was invited to speak at the Berlin Jewish Museum where Butler defended her prior comments, and it was reported by the museum’s spokeswoman that “attendees are not allowed to ask Butler questions about Hamas and Hezbollah.” She also used the occasion to renew her calls to boycott Israel.[2] In a 2010 interview Butler alleged that the Israeli government views all victims in Gaza as members of Hamas and uses this theory to rationalize the killing of children as “every single living being who is Palestinian becomes a war instrument.” To that effect Butler argued that, given this alleged perception, Israelis are “thrilled” when these Palestinian “means of destruction” are killed.[3] Butler was a signatory to a 2002 open letter that suggested Israel would use the “fog of war” in Iraq to initiate a “full-fledged ethnic cleansing” against Palestinians.”[4] In a 2013 event at Brooklyn College, Butler spoke along with Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the BDS movement. In a 2014 interview, Butler asserted that political equality in Israel/Palestine would entail “an end to colonial rule, including both occupation and siege.” She further alleged that “a global consensus on Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity would be most helpful to have moving forward… because the assault on Gaza included a criminal annihilation of a significant portion of the population.”[5]



[1] Butler, J. (2006). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amJNIcSNPco&feature=youtu.be&t=5m57s

[2] Weinthal, B. (Sept. 16, 2012). Berlin Jewish Museum Event Calls for Israel Boycott. The Jerusalem
Post. Retrieved from http://www.jpost.com/Jewish-World/Jewish-Features/Berlin-Jewish-Museum-event-calls-for-Israel-boycott

[3] Aloni, U. (Feb. 24, 2010). Judith Butler: As a Jew, I Was Taught It Was Ehically Imperative to Speak Up. Haaretz. Retrieved from http://www.haaretz.com/news/judith-butler-as-a-jew-i-was-taught-it-was-ethically-imperative-to-speak-up-1.266243

[4] Professors of Conscience. (2002). Letter Against Expulsion of the Palestinians. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20021219141415/http://www.professorsofconscience.org/

[5] Falcone, D. (Oct. 28, 2014). Judith Butler: On Israel, Palestine and Unacceptable Dimensions of the Status Quo. truthout. Retrieved from http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26946-judith-butler-on-israel-palestine-and-unacceptable-dimensions-of-the-status-quo

Associated Organizations:

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP); Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS); US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI)

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Departmental Contact

Miryam Sas, Chair of the Comparative Literature Department .

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