Unfolding Tragedy in Gaza

Statement of a group of the Iranian professors of the American and European universities concerning the unfolding tragedy in Gaza

The relentless bombing of Gaza by the Israeli military, now entering its 11th day, has left 214 Palestinians dead.  Many more are maimed, traumatized, and bereaved.  The world community has the right to ask: for how long must the inhabitants of this “largest prison on planet earth” suffer from callous blockade and periodic carnage?  The latest Israeli incursion has exacerbated the already dire humanitarian conditions in Gaza, forcing thousands to abandon their meager existence in search of relative safety in this densely populated territory. Israeli propaganda describes its targeting of civilian populations as surgical attacks. Anyone with compassion and sanity has the right to ask what surgical strikes mean when they are being conducted on one of the most compactly populated places on Earth, resulting in a majority of fatalities being civilians, including dozens of children?  If the medical analogy of “surgery” is to be used at all, it should be termed surgery without anesthesia. Human rights organizations on the ground have joined the international community to warn about the chronic impact of these acute atrocities. 

 We the undersigned denounce this new round of wanton violence perpetrated against the Palestinian people.  We find the range and depth of civilian casualties that Israel deems acceptable in its stated objective of neutralizing Hamas’ meager military capabilities, utterly unacceptable and unconscionable.  We believe that systematically killing and terrorizing the Palestinian civilians in Gaza is a deliberate plan by the Netanyahu administration to dismantle the emerging unity government among Palestinians, and to justify the continued occupation and theft of Palestinian land, water, and livelihood.  Those who time and again assert Israel’s right to “defend itself” against HAMAS rockets but remain indifferent in the face of over 200 Palestinian civilian casualties in this round of Israeli attacks, must answer the question: what about Palestinians? Who will defend them against the illegal incursions and lethal Israeli bombs dropping from American planes? 

 People of conscience around the world are aghast at this vicious Israeli disregard for human lives.  We categorically denounce all forms of violence—particularly those that target young and innocent people.  We demand an immediate ending to all Israeli bombardment of Gaza, and the siege on that territory.  We reiterate the Amnesty International’s call to “mandate an international independent fact-finding mission to Gaza and Israel to investigate violations of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict. This is the first crucial step towards ensuring that those who have committed war crimes or other serious violations can be held accountable.”

 July 17, 2014


  • Ervand Abrahamian, Distinguished Professor of History, City University of New York.
  • Ardeshir Amir-Arjomand, Research Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Paris 11.
  • Said Amir-Arjomand, Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology, State University of New York & Director of the Stony Brook Institute for Global Studies
  • Golbarg Bashi, Professor of Middle Eastern History, Pace University.
  • Asef Bayat, Professor of Sociology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne.
  • Hamid Dabashi, Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature Columbia University New York.
  • Farideh Farhi, Affiliate Graduate Faculty of Political Science, University of Hawai’i at Manoa.
  • Mohsen Kadivar, Nannel O. Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professor, Religious Studies, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • Hossein Kamaly, Term Assistant Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures, Barnard College/Columbia University.
  • Fatemeh Keshavarz, Professor, Director of Roshan Chair in Persian Studies, University of Maryland
  • Ali Akbar Mahdi, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Ohio Wesleyan University.
  • Ziba Mir-Hosseini, Professorial Research Associate, Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
  • Ali Mirsepassi, Professor of Sociology, New York University.
  • Daryoush Mohammad Poor, Research Associate, Institute of Ismaili Studies, London.
  • Ali Paya, Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster, UK.
  • Mohammad Sahimi, Professor of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
  • Mahmoud Sadri, Professor of Sociology, Texas Woman’s University.
  • Omid Safi, professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University, & the Director of Duke Islamic Studies Center.
  • Hamid Zangeneh, Professor of Economics, Widener University