Princeton University has included in a syllabus for a fall semester course: Decolonizing Trauma Studies from the Global South, a book written by Jsbir Puar called The Healing Humanities: The Right to Maim in which she claims the IDF was harvesting the organs of Palestinians.
In the summary of the book on which the course is based, Israel is allegedly “supplementing its right to kill with the right to maim.” The book itself claims that Israel over the years has enacted a policy of targeted shooting of Palestinians "to maim, not to kill.”
“The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have shown a demonstrable pattern over decades of sparing life, of shooting to maim rather than to kill. This is ostensibly a humanitarian practice, leaving many civilians ‘permanently disabled’ in an occupied territory of destroyed hospitals, rationed medical supplies, and scarce resources," adding the policy shows how debility, disability, and capacity together constitute an assemblage that states use to control populations.
The book caused controversy when it was released in 2017, and its author, Prof. Jasbir Puar, who serves as the head of the Gender Studies program at Rutgers University in New Jersey, has continuously accused Israel of ethnic cleansing Palestinians during her lectures to students around the country.
She also claimed that the bodies of Palestinian children “were mined for organs for scientific research,” by the military, and said that during her research on the effects of “maiming” in Gaza, many Palestinians believed the bodies of children who died during the conflict were used for that purpose by the IDF.
“Several scholars have been tracing maiming as a deliberate biopolitical tactic on the part of Israel in the occupation of Palestine,” Puar said during her talk on ecological feminism in a panel at Dartmouth University.
“Medical personnel in both Gaza and the West Bank reported mounting evidence of shoot-to-cripple practices of the IDF, more accurately called the Israeli Occupation Forces, noting an increasing shift from using traditional means such as tear gas and rubber bullets, rubber-coated metal to disperse crowds to firing at knees, femurs or aiming for their vital organs,” she added.
Princeton University’s course is taught by anthropologist Satyel Larson from the university’s Near Eastern Studies Department, and its reading materials were carefully reviewed and approved by the faculty.
Academics criticized the course content and said that it provided "zero educational value." "It just gives a lot of third-rate professors a platform from which to indoctrinate students into left-wing ideologies," said Professor Jason Hill from the University of DePaul in Chicago.
A report by the StopAntisemitism organization ranked Princeton University in the past as one of the academic institutions with the most antisemitic climate in the United States. Many Jewish students pointed out that the university’s administration doesn’t take their personal safety seriously, and they don’t feel free to express public support for Israel across campus.
Last week, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) voted to impose an academic boycott on Israeli academic institutions, referring to Israeli “apartheid” and violation of Palestinian rights “as stipulated in international law.”
The AAA's boycott resolution passed with a 71% majority, representing over 12,000 members, and signals the largest organization advocating such a boycott of Israel.
“We are opposed to and deeply disappointed by the AAA’s recent resolution calling for an academic boycott of Israel,” wrote anthropologist Linda Mills, president of New York University, in a statement against the AAA’s decision. “By their very nature, academic boycotts contravene the concept of the free exchange of ideas, a key tenet of academic freedom. NYU has long and consistently objected to academic boycotts (here and here, for example) for just these reasons,” she added.
“It is regrettable that the AAA, a scholarly organization meant to promote the advancement of knowledge throughout the discipline, an organization that has reaffirmed its commitment to academic freedom, has taken a step seemingly so at odds with those objectives. We urge them to reconsider.”
Princeton University and the AAA refused to comment.