Campaign Highlights: American Studies Association

American Studies Association

FAQs on ASA’s Proposed Resolution on Academic Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions:

In response to ASA Caucus on Academic and Community Activism’s proposed resolution to boycott Israeli Academic Institutions, pro-Israel academics within the ASA published this list of FAQs explaining the downsides of adopting a boycott. Reasons include the threat this boycott poses to academic freedom, and how it would make academic freedom politically based, i.e. not free at all. The FAQs also states the importance of separating geopolitical issues with academic ones. Israeli universities and academics are not responsible for the actions of the Israeli government concerning the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, with many universities offering inclusive programs that benefit Israelis and Arabs. Furthermore, the FAQs argues that it is not the place of the ASA to take stands on this political issue, as it will affect both faculty members and students that come from many different backgrounds.

Open Letter to Members of ASA from AAUP (American Association of University Professors):

The American Association of University Professors opposes the academic boycott of Israel, as it denies people their academic freedom. The AAUP calls on the members American Studies Association to vocalize their opposition to the boycott. They also clearly state that no scholar should have to participate in any kind of boycott or protest that goes against their own personal beliefs. The letter to the American Studies Association also states that political views should not be grounds for whether or not a certain state can be an active participant in the academic community.

Letter to Members of the American Studies Association from other members of the organization:

Signatories on this letter to other members of the American Studies Association explain why they are opposed to an academic boycott of any kind, including one of the academic institutions of Israel. They feel that a boycott will jeopardize academic freedom, a fundamental principle of academia. Signed members state that they are highly opposed to discrimination based on national origin. They believe that Israeli academics should not be held responsible for the actions of the government of Israel. A boycott of Israeli academic institutions disables the option for an open dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. When academics are targeted for their nationality, academic freedom everywhere is threatened.

8 Former Presidents of the ASA Write a Letter to Current Members:

Eight former presidents of the Academic Studies Association have penned a letter in which they call for members to reject the resolution for a boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions. The call to boycott is expressed as a dangerous precedent for boycotting institutions based on nationality and the governments of that particular nation. The signatories stress how this boycott would be harmful to the ASA, and how there are much more engaging ways to discuss the complicated Israeli/Palestinian conflict.