N.Y. Senate: New law penalizes universities that boycott Israel

The new law doesn’t specifically mention Israel, but the bill’s sponsor Senator Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), noted that academic boycotts of Israel were what inspired him to introduce the legislation.

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The New York State Senate approved a bill that would suspend funding to educational institutions that fund groups which boycott Israel.

Bill de Blasio and Sheldon Silver.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. – Photo: AP

The legislation, approved Tuesday in a 56-4 vote, bans state funding to colleges that fund organizations boycotting “countries that host higher education institutions chartered by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York.”

A number of New York-based universities have Israel branches.

The bill does not mention Israel, but its sponsor, state Senator Jeffrey Klein – in a statement quoted by the news site Mondoweiss – made clear that academic boycotts of Israel were what led him to introduce the legislation.

“I will not allow the enemies of Israel or the Jewish people to gain an inch in New York,” Mondoweiss quoted Klein, a Democrat representing the Bronx and Westchester County, as saying. “The First Amendment protects every organization’s right to speak, but it never requires taxpayers to foot the bill.”

A similar bill introduced in the state Assembly this month by Speaker Sheldon Silver has 48 sponsors among the chamber’s 150 members. Silver said he initiated the measure “in response to the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israel and its academic institutions.”

The ASA, one of three U.S. academic groupings to boycott Israeli academic institutions last year, said the legislation was an attack on free speech.

“While proposed in the name of academic freedom, the bill is a direct attack on such freedom,” an ASA statement said. “As the American Association of University Professors notes, it proposes a political litmus test for faculty seeking research and travel support and thus recalls the McCarthy era, one of the darkest periods of political repression in U.S. history.”

 

View original HAARETZ publication at: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.571667

2 comments

  1. Corey Multer says:

    The audacity of the ASA hatemongers is amazing. What amazing hypocrites! So this legislation is an attack on free speech, but them boycotting academics is … what exactly. Way to go, NYS legislature. Show those BDSholes what idiots they are!

    • The hypocrisy was to single out just one country when others are no-less or far more guilty of something deserving of academic sanctions. But this legislation doesn’t prohibit sanctions. It only stops public funding of bias (politically inspired) and selective punishment.

      I these intellectual bigots and/or racists what to exercise selective punishment out of political convenience, let them put their money where their mouth is.

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