Major U.S. Academic Group Joins Boycott Of Israel

israel1There is a major development in the movement among universities and colleges to boycott Israeli universities over objections to its treatment of the Palestinians. The influential American Studies Association on Monday endorsed the boycott with mover 3000 of its members voting and 66 percent supporting the action as a response what they view as a pattern of human rights violations by Israel. It is a major victory for academics pushing for cutting off ties to Israeli educations institutions.

The association passed the endorsement of the boycott with the statement that “The ASA condemns the United States’ significant role in aiding and abetting Israel’s violations of human rights against Palestinians and its occupation of Palestinian lands through its use of the veto in the UN Security Council.”

The boycott is beginning to impact academics in Israel, a major part of the country’s economy and culture. A similar boycott against Israeli products has been expanding with many stores pledging not to buy products from the country.

The academic boycott not only calls for cutting off ties to Israeli institutions but divestment and sanctions against Israel. It has even greater support in Europe.

Kenneth Stern of the New York-based American Jewish Committee objected to the American Studies Association’s vote “abhorrent.”

Notably, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) opposes the boycott as a violation of academic freedom — a legitimate concern. However, the ASA insists that it is not limiting individual collaboration on scholarship and only “formal partnership[s] with or sponsorship[s] by Israeli academic institutions.”

Here is the ASA resolution:

American Studies Association Resolution on Academic Boycott of Israel

December 4, 2013

Whereas the American Studies Association is committed to the pursuit of social justice, to the struggle against all forms of racism, including anti-semitism, discrimination, and xenophobia, and to solidarity with aggrieved peoples in the United States and in the world;

Whereas the United States plays a significant role in enabling the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the expansion of illegal settlements and the Wall in violation of international law, as well as in supporting the systematic discrimination against Palestinians, which has had documented devastating impact on the overall well-being, the exercise of political and human rights, the freedom of movement, and the educational opportunities of Palestinians;

Whereas there is no effective or substantive academic freedom for Palestinian students and scholars under conditions of Israeli occupation, and Israeli institutions of higher learning are a party to Israeli state policies that violate human rights and negatively impact the working conditions of Palestinian scholars and students;

Whereas the American Studies Association is cognizant of Israeli scholars and students who are critical of Israeli state policies and who support the international boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement under conditions of isolation and threat of sanction;

Whereas the American Studies Association is dedicated to the right of students and scholars to pursue education and research without undue state interference, repression, and military violence, and in keeping with the spirit of its previous statements supports the right of students and scholars to intellectual freedom and to political dissent as citizens and scholars;

It is resolved that the American Studies Association (ASA) endorses and will honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. It is also resolved that the ASA supports the protected rights of students and scholars everywhere to engage in research and public speaking about Israel-Palestine and in support of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Source: ABCNews

60 thoughts on “Major U.S. Academic Group Joins Boycott Of Israel”

  1. From pdm’s link at 4:05 pm on 12/17 James Fallows writes:
    “[Blumenthal] has found a group of people he identifies as extremists in Israel—extreme in their belief that Arabs have no place in their society, extreme in their hostility especially to recent non-Jewish African refugees, extreme in their seeming rejection of the liberal-democratic vision of Israel’s future. He says: These people are coming, and they’re taking Israeli politics with them. As he put it in a recent interview with Salon, the book is “an unvarnished view of Israel at its most extreme.” Again, the power of his book is not that Blumenthal disagrees with these groups. Obviously he does. It comes from what he shows.”
    There is a large extremist element in Israel. Personally, I’ve commented here through the years about my dislike and disagreement with Netanyahu, the Likud Party, the Ultra-Orthodox Fundamentalists and organizations like AIPAC. Not only do I find the actions of this element disturbing but I believe they are both counter-productive and destructive to Israel. What is your point though in the context of this discussion? If I were to do a similar video in America I could find exactly the same racism and extremism. As a point of fact I could find it in Great Britain, Russia, France, Germany and in almost all the countries in the world. Sweden and Norway currently have a large right wing racist faction decrying the “foreigners” in their country and that faction is gaining political power.
    I can only conclude that your point is really about the nature of Israel itself and the belief that the Israeli’s “stole” the land from its Arab occupants. Coming from that position then it is a bitter irony that Israeli’s are protesting other immigrants to their country and certainly paints Israel and its government as hypocritically racist, therefore not worthy of support. I reject that argument, as I will get to in what promises to be a rather long comment.
    From Pdm at 5:50pm on 12/17:
    “There has been no response to the Max Blumenthal book and video. Can it possibly be because you refuse to view it? Could it be that it may make you uncomfortable? There were a lot of fast and perhaps facile responses to Turley’s post. That’s fine. But if you are assured that your position is correct, then what have you to fear from looking at this?”
    I’ve already explained and you’ve accepted, that I didn’t reply to you yesterday because I simply had not read my E mail from this blog until 11:30pm last evening. However, Pdm you do make certain snarky inferences as to why I didn’t respond to you with the rapidity. When it comes to responding in this forum I have a record of not only being willing to ponder presented information, but to always respond and even admit when I’m wrong when so proven. You have proven to be a good participant here on this blog and there is much we both agree on.
    Truthfully, it is a slight annoyance that you didn’t at least give me the respect I’ve possibly garnered from my manner of commenting here. I suspect that is because I have been outspokenly proud about my being Jewish and the mythology that is rife in America is that all Jews slavishly support all Israeli policies. Now before you react viscerally to the previous sentence by thinking I’m about to play the “Anti-Jewish Card” as a defense against criticism of Israel, that is hardly the case. I have never accused people here of being Anti-Jewish because they were opposed to Israeli policies. There have only been two incidents where I’ve ever invoked calling someone Anti-Jewish (I don’t use the term Anti-Semitic because it is of bigoted origins). One was when someone called me a “Christ Killer” and I called him out on it. He apologized profusely and I accepted his apology. The other instance is in the case of someone who comments here occasionally and is a denier that the Shoah (holocaust) ever occurred. To deny the Shoah is to me at least an Anti-Jewish position. There have been many arguments against Israeli policies, some by JT, on this blog and I’ve never found these arguments to be Anti-Jewish, though some are Anti-Israeli, but that is politics not bigotry. I think though that there is a presumption that Jews like myself who support Israel’s existence as a Jewish State, support everything that the Israeli government does and that is simply not the case.
    This brings me to your back to you 5:50pm comment and link. I watched the entire 10:56 minutes of that film. There was little in it that either surprised or shocked me. The actions and attitudes expressed in it were vile and racist in their manner of presentation. One of the great misconceptions about prejudice and oppression is that somehow the victims of it are ennobled by the experience and become more aware human beings. The truth is that the experience of prejudice and oppression do little to instill in those oppressed, a self examination and cleansing of their own prejudices. Jews, though a few may disagree are merely human beings and while there are many who have learned the evils of prejudice from our own history of being oppressed, the majority generally are fallible to their own prejudice without the self-consciousness of what they are doing. This is particularly true among the Ultra Orthodox, many of whom wouldn’t consider me Jewish, although I have just as solid a claim to the heritage.
    While I can decry the expressions and actions in that film as horribly racist and support the documentation the film provides, there is an underlying premise that I want to look at, which while in no way condones what was portrayed in the film, does add some context to what is going on. This following link is to a map of Northern Africa and the ME. Please examine it. Contiguous to the Sudan are: Egypt, Libya, Chad, the Central African Republic and Ethiopia. Also close are Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The smallest of these nations have at least 10 times the area of Israel. Why is it that these nations, which are Muslim, are not mentioned in terms of their welcoming Sudanese refugees? What are their attitudes towards these refugees?
    Also too consider that briefly mentioned in the film’s opening is that ALL of Europe had denied refugee status to those escaping the reign of terror in the Sudan. Indeed, the narrator mentions that Israel was the chosen destination because of its prosperity and its democratic government. Could we not for instance do a film about the anti-immigration movement in the U.S. and see the same extremism from both citizens and many politicians? Isn’t the same true for the anti-immigration movements in Europe? There has been in Sweden, Norway and France against the immigration of Muslims. Why is one of the smallest nations in the world being singled out for approbation? The answer is obvious.
    Many believe that Israel does not have a right to exist as a Jewish State. Given that Israel is surrounded by countries that proclaim themselves to be Islamic States, this notion strikes me as strange. Many of the notions regarding Israel strike me as strange and that is possibly because I am a Jew. I was born before WWII had ended. In the wake of that war the revelations of the Shoah began to come out and shock the world. In America in the 40’s and through the mid 50’s anti-Jewish feeling was common throughout our nation. Even I, growing up in the Jewish haven of New York, found other kids calling me a “Christ Killer” in elementary schools. In my lifetime there were signs outside of some towns that read: No dogs or Jews allowed. One of the most popular American TV Stars, Arthur Godfrey, owned the most famous Miami Beach Hotel, which didn’t allow Jews. It wasn’t until the late 60’s that the famous New York Athletic Club, home of the Heisman Trophy, would permits Jewish entrée. The message loud and clear from the ages of history for Jews is not to get too comfortable wherever you live, because you never know when that place will suddenly turn against you. If you can put yourself in my shoes then perhaps you might understand why Israel is so important to me. It is the one current haven in this world where I, or my progeny can escape to if anti-Jewish feeling becomes rampant.

    1. MS I can certainly understand your sentiments since my one of my best friends who was killed in a stupid aviation accident was the son of a prominent Zionist who I disagreed with on the efficacy of Israel as any kind of a haven. Even though I am not Jewish, I have been called a kike because I had a lot of Jewish friends in high school and I knew of some of the things that they went through. I guess that I showed myself to be Jewish because during Passover, I rather liked matzoh bread that was served in the school cafeteria. Of course, in the eyes of the ignorant bigots, NO Christian would ever eat that stuff.

      Our conservative GOP family were in the United Church of Christ (Congregationalist) and had a long history of being against bigotry of any kind. My grandfather was a major leader in this church and got to know Rabbi Feldman of Temple Beth El since my Pa and Feldman were both biblical scholars who enjoyed talking about their favorite subject after the many dinners they had at our house. So I even got in a few fights against bigots who were bullying some smaller Jewish guys who I was friends with.

      I can cite many instances of the anti-Semitism that was rampant in the US that I know of by second hand accounts. I even had as a friend a WWII combat vet who liberated the Dachau concentration camp who was rather proud that he got to shoot some of the guards they caught. I thought he did a great job in doing that. The worst offender on anti-Semitism was the Catholic Church, especially under Hitler’s Pope Pius XII who established the Rat Line to get Catholic Nazi war criminals out of Europe. Many of them and the refugees that came to the US brought their native anti-Semitism with them.

      I think that establishing an explicitly Jewish state is just as bad as having a Muslim state as you observed so many countries in that part of the world are. This solves a problem that does not now exist as it did back in the years leading to and through WWII. While I am opposed to granting illegals any amnesty, I and virtually all of the people I have talked to in the anti amnesty movement have NO problem granting real refuges from political or religious persecution entry into the US. The US is also legally obligated to grant those folks entry. So assuming that anti-Semitism rears its ugly head somewhere in the world, there are enough nations that will grant sanctuary to them, including the US unlike before WWII.

      The only defense Jews have is the power of the US. If somehow a Nazi movement arose and took power here, Israel would cease to exist. In any case, since there are more Jews in the US than in Israel, it would be impossible for Israel to absorb such massive numbers of refugees. US funding would cease in such a case, and I doubt Israel could afford the cost. Since I did not live through the period of the pre war and war years, I can only vaguely understand the real fears that the deficiencies of the world in helping the victims of Nazism engendered in many people. I am confident in the basic decency and institutions of the US and our people. One good thing Vietnam proved is that most Americans do NOT make good Nazis, either as GIs or on the home front. As for the problem of Israel’s continued existence from a military attack, that is basically a moot point since Israel is a nuclear superpower there. There is no question that any war that erupts will go nuclear if the existence of Israel is seriously in question from a military point of view. Thus I think that Israel is more than safe from military threats.

  2. Thanks, Mike. Sorry. I “harped”. I’m glad you ignored me and got to bed.

    Lotta. Most certainly not directed at you. It was mainly directed at Mike and he has kindly taken me up on it. I also hoped some others who, IMO, too easily reject any opposition to Israeli policies – most especially those who maintain any opposition is anti-Semetic.

  3. pdm
    1, December 17, 2013 at 5:50 pm
    Thank you, Lotta.

    There has been no response to the Max Blumenthal book and video. Can it possibly be because you refuse to view it? Could it be that it may make you uncomfortable? There were a lot of fast and perhaps facile responses to Turley’s post. That’s fine. But if you are assured that your position is correct, then what have you to fear from looking at this?

    pdm, that second para was not to me was it? It was a follow-up to Mike was it not?

  4. Mike, you have finally found a topic on which we disagree.

    The facts are that those Arabs indigenous to the Palestine Territory were urged to leave their homes by the attacking massed, Arab forces so as not to impede their march to drive the Jews into the sea. About 500,000 fled despite Israeli pleas for them to remain.

    This is the Zionist narrative about Israel’s war of establishment of the state and because of well warranted shame about failure to do anything to protect Jews from the Nazi genocide western nations were reluctant to question it. One part of the war plan for the establishment of the Jewish state was Plan Dalit which as Israeli historian Ilan Pappe puts it – “is a detailed description of the methods to be used to forcibly evict the people: large–scale intimidation; and laying siege to and bombarding population centres”.

    The order in which events occurred was that plan Dalit was implemented by massacring enough Palestinians to get the others moving and destroying villages so they had nothing to which to return.. Both genocide and ethnic cleansing involve murder but in the case of ethnic cleansing the proportions murdered are smaller 1 or 2 percent. Maybe the Jews told the adjacent Arab states to warn the Palestinians to leave and the adjacent nations did in fact broadcast warnings but the reason the Palestinians fled was the ethnic cleansing. The invasion by the armies of adjacent Arab nations was a response to the ethnic cleansing.

    Here is an article on plan Dalit.

    1. Most people who are faced with a war happening on their front doorstep, take sensible actions to GET THE HELL OUT of there. If the war is to the front, they go the opposite way. If the front line stalls out, they will go where there is less shooting in any direction which will offer relative safety. That is not unusual since I had to do the same thing when hurricane Ike came through and leveled much of my house and barn and crushed my work car. That is normal to get out of harms way.

      What the Israelis did was to refuse to let the owners back into their homes once the shooting had stopped. They then used the color of “law” to permanently dispossess them. That is also ILLEGAL and a WAR CRIME by the way. So please try and use some sense in this matter and not fall for the propaganda.

  5. Thank you, Lotta.

    There has been no response to the Max Blumenthal book and video. Can it possibly be because you refuse to view it? Could it be that it may make you uncomfortable? There were a lot of fast and perhaps facile responses to Turley’s post. That’s fine. But if you are assured that your position is correct, then what have you to fear from looking at this?

    I respect your right to disagree. I do not respect an unwillingness to another POV.

  6. There’s always somebody worse and there will always will be. That doesn’t make silence regarding Israel mandatory or appropriate until a condemnation or action regarding some other bad actor is taken. That concept, depending on ones personal or political outlook would silence every criticism of every bad actor. It’s a distraction, some perversion of the false equivalency requirement seen on every MSM news show.

    The US has been a supporter of Israel, rhetorically, politically and economically since its founding. Those we hold so close are not the nations we should fail to, or make the last to, criticize or attempt to try to influence, they should be the first. Israel is doing things that deserve condemnation and they are doing them with our assistance since we provided them with a great deal of aid/support and have plans to continue to do so.

  7. i would recommend reading money the 12th and final religion. also the caliphate of bizwog.

    im not going to debate the good or bad of israel ive made my OPINIONS known from the beginning all one has to do is research and not research what was and is put out by the corporations minions but by those who were hurt,killed,maimed, and destroyed.

    no one hates israel at least not that i know of.. what we do is hate those involved in destroying the innocent, destroying history, and feeling like we the people were put here to be their slaves. that we are to fund their atrocities against the rest of the world..

    there are 12 tribes what makes one religion supreme over 12 tribes?

  8. WOW!!!!! all im gonna do is shake my head…. it was said this time was coming. that the people would begin to wake up.. to the bizwog and the libor

  9. Mike, here is a post on Max Blumenthal from Andrew Sullivan. As you probably know, Blumenthal has written a controversial book Goliath”. Maybe you and others will have a chance to take a look at it.

    I do believe that Israel is in the process of giving up on democracy. I would also note that misogynists are not rare in Israel and does play a role in orthodoxy.

  10. “In October 2007, New York University announced its intention to open a complete branch campus in Abu Dhabi, financed by the Abu Dhabi government.[6] The Abu Dhabi campus was planned by New York University, and the funding mainly came from the Government of the United Arab Emirates.” WIKI

    1. As long as the Dubai government does not dictate who and what may be taught, I guess it might pass muster, but I am disturbed that the government has financed this. It may well be time to pull the plug on this one too.

    1. “There has been no response to the Max Blumenthal book and video. Can it possibly be because you refuse to view it?”


      I know it’s hard for people to believe it but I do have a life beyond this blog. Of course I’ll view your link, but it has been a long active day and I’m ready to hop into bed and read a good book to put this old codger to bed. I’ll watch it and reply to you some time tomorrow. I’ll also have a few things to respond to Randyjet as well. But for now good night. 🙂

  11. I agree with Justice Holmes and others that to single out the Israeli treatment of Palestinians without including many other countries, including the US, is hypocritical.

  12. So how does this benefit the students or prospective students in either side of this? Limiting the opportunities of students because of the actions of government, for which the students have no power to change, runs in my view against the goal of higher education.

  13. I do not usually reply to jets but when you are a jet you’re a jet all the way. But I want our colleges and universities to boycott all repressive countries and hence schools within those repressive countries. Turkey is a good place to start. They repress the Kurds in a big way. England is rough on the Irish but that is old hat. The Cherokees got rode out of Dodge in a trail of tears but that is old hat. The New Yorkies are biggots and treat minorities like dirt. The stop and frisk routine is kinda like the Kurds get in Turkey. The terrorists who come to New York are not locals and so the focus on the black guys is over the top. So, if you have a kid at NYU ask him to transfer to Rutgers. If you are a school principal do not buy books from suppliers in NYC. Boycott Jay Leno.

    When you’re a jet, you’re a jet.
    You’re a Jet all the way!
    From your first cigarette to you’re last dying day.


    I guess a “randy” jet is a horny jet.

  14. We need to work on the problems of poverty, religious oppression (using religion to oppress people), animal abuse, violence, illiteracy, greed, climate change. Rather than boycotting Israeli Universities, could there be an agreement requiring that cooperation among universities around the world includes prioritizing finding solutions to those problems?

  15. “Demnitude–I think I got it right. Under Islam, minorities must live in demnitude. Something I remember from my Islamic studies.”


    You are on the right track. The Koran teaches that it is unacceptable for Jews or Christians to live as citizens equal to Muslims in Islamic lands. This is the heart of the problem. Israel’s existence as a Jewish State is considered an anathema to Islam. There is much criticism by those who hate Israel that it calls itself a “Jewish State”, but few of those critics object to the rest of the countries in the ME as being Muslim States. A double standard of hypocrisy in my opinion. Also too the greatest violations of human rights in this world is the inequitable treatment of women, that is the ME standard in all nations there, but Israel.

  16. Good subject. About time Israel’s suppressive policies were exposed. Still, I cannot trust this group to cover it well, being selective & inaccurate in what it accepts & rejects as true & false.

  17. I won’t be going down this ME rabbit much more then to point out the political theater season of Lame Duck US Prez run for foreign policy cover always about this time.

    They seem to think they need something else to put on the news so they drag out the ole reliable ME crap.

    You know if we/US weren’t there they’d still want to sell Oil/Ngas & would.

    If you like the ME rabbit hole I’d suggest the book: American House of Saud & the Secret Petrodollar Connection.

    If the Arab cousins of the Arabs in Israel keep refusing to take them into there nations well I guess they are just screwed, but don’t cry me a river House of Saud Terrorist/Bandar Bush Nazi types.

    Now it’s been a while for me looking close at this subject, but I think this poster below points out a subject I remember. (& Ph’em is still my position)

    canaan writes:

    in response to gpep3:

    Demnitude–I think I got it right. Under Islam, minorities must live in demnitude. Something I remember from my Islamic studies. Under the Caliph, if you behaved according to special rules from the mullahs, Jews and Christians could live. Yellow cloaks, dunce caps, stuff like that. Make a mistake, you and your family are forced to convert, or die. I can give you examples. There is no such thing as living in peace with muslims when they are in the majority. Ask any Hindu Indian.

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