U.S. academic association endorses academic boycott of Israel

5,000 members strong, the American Studies Association, cites ‘Israel’s violation of int’l law & UN resolutions’ as reasons to boycott Israeli academic institutions.

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The American Studies Association has endorsed a boycott of Israeli academic institutions in a vote that took place over the past few days, the organization said on Monday.

Protester calling for a boycott of Israel - Photo: REUTERS

Protester calling for a boycott of Israel – Photo: REUTERS

Out of the 1,252 members who participated in the vote, 66 percent voted in support of the boycott. The voting was conducted electronically

The decision to boycott Israeli academic institutions was made unanimously by the ASA’s 20-member national council on December 5. The organization’s leadership sought the approval of the body’s 5,000 members, which was granted on Monday.

“We believe that the ASA’s endorsement of a boycott is warranted given U.S. military and other support for Israel; Israel’s violation of international law and UN resolutions; the documented impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian scholars and students; the extent to which Israeli institutions of higher education are a party to state policies that violate human rights; and the support of such a resolution by many members of the ASA,” the council’s announcement said.

ASA describes itself “devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history.” Voices at the open meeting overwhelmingly favored the boycott, but those opposed said they were not representative of the organization’s broader membership.

According to the ASA website, the boycott will not inhibit collaboration with individual Israeli academics.

“The ASA understands boycott as limited to a refusal on the part of the ASA in its official capacities to enter into formal collaborations with Israeli academic institutions, or with scholars who are expressly serving as representatives or ambassadors of those institutions (such as deans, rectors, presidents and others), or on behalf of the Israeli government, until Israel ceases to violate human rights and international law,” the ASA website said.

“We are expressly not endorsing a boycott of Israeli scholars engaged in individual-level contacts and ordinary forms of academic exchange, including presentations at conferences, public lectures at campuses, and collaboration on research and publication,” it said.

ASA suggests that the boycott is not binding on members, meaning it would apply principally to the activities of the ASA as an organization.

“In general, the ASA recognizes that members will review and negotiate specific guidelines for implementation on a case-by-case basis and adopt them according to their individual convictions,” it said.


View original HAARETZ publication at: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.563875