90 Universities Reject the ASA’s Boycott

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By / January 2, 2014









As an American Studies major, the news of the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israel hit a bit close to home. How unsettling to think that the leaders of the school of thought I pursued for four years have the audacity to publicly denounce Israel; to take such a resolute and one-sided stance.

Reportedly, at least 90 universities, including Penn State Harrisburg, Brandeis, and GW, have rejected the American Studies Association membership vote in favor of an academic boycott of Israel.

In a statement issued today, The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said:

“This is now a clarion call to reject the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and assure that American campuses are not subverted for extremist political ends,” said the statement signed by Robert Sugarman and Malcolm Hoenlein, the chairman and executive vice chairman, respectively, of the group.

The ASA is the largest American academic organization yet to support an anti-Israel boycott, and over 1,200 ASA members voted on the boycott proposal, with about two-thirds endorsing the idea.

The association has stressed that the boycott doesn’t prevent its members from researching or working with Israeli scholars, but discredits “formal collaborations with Israeli academics institutions, or with scholars who are expressly serving representatives or ambassadors of those institutions (such as deans, rectors, presidents and others), or on behalf of the Israeli government.”

Michael S. Roth, president of Wesleyan University, made a great point in his statement against the boycott. He wrote in the LA Times that not one other group in history has been wholly condemned by the ASA. Whether or not you agree with Israel’s policies, why single them out in the name of academics?

“Not in North Korea, not in Russia or Zimbabwe or China — one has to start with Israel,” Roth wrote. “Really?”


(Photo by Getty)