The national council of the American Studies Association (ASA) voted unanimously to endorse a resolution to boycott Israel and send it to the full membership for a vote. On Monday the ASA announced that 66% of its members voted in favor of the boycott.
It is heartening that eight past presidents of the American Studies Association, along with more than 50 other members, signed a letter calling the resolution “discrimination pure and simple.”
We can expect to continue to be distracted from the profound problems facing American higher education by the attempts of a determined minority to ensure that scholars who have no special knowledge of or insight into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict put their credentials in the service of the anti-Israel fringe. The writer is a professor of politics at Ursinus College. (Wall Street Journal Europe)
See also American Studies Scholars Now Israel-Free – Jonathan Chait
Israel is by no plausible standard among the world’s worst human-rights violators. American Studies Association president Curtis Marez, asked to defend the singling out of Israel, supplied an answer that must be considered a minor classic. Marez did not dispute that many nations, including many of Israel’s neighbors, are generally judged to have human rights records that are worse than Israel’s, but he said, “one has to start somewhere.”
If you are going to start somewhere, wouldn’t it make sense to start at the top of the list of worst human-rights offenders? (New York Magazine)
Schooling the ASA on Boycotting Israel – Nitsana Darshan-Leitner (Times of Israel)
The American Studies Association’s resolution calling for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions violates international, federal and state law in the U.S., leaving the ASA and its membership open to both civil and criminal liability.
The law in New York, where so many ASA members reside and work, defines boycotts as “unlawful discriminatory practice,” and that any decision to “refuse to buy from, sell to or trade with, or otherwise discriminate against any person, because of…creed…[or] national origin” is unlawful. Even calling for or inciting a boycott against someone because they are Israeli could subject you to criminal prosecution.
In addition, the Ribicoff Amendment to the Tax Reform Act of 1976 makes it a federal violation to “participate in or cooperate with an international boycott.”
To deny someone a voice because of their nationality is discrimination, indeed racism. To target only Israeli professors and colleges without considering the racist hate, violence and anti-Semitic incitement that permeates and infests Palestinian academic institutions displays a political illiteracy that should shame these professors.
We will not hesitate in seeking all legal avenues against those who employ discrimination against the Jewish state in this way.
The writer, an Israeli civil rights attorney, is the founder of the Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center.
See also Tax-Exempt Status of American Studies Association to Be Challenged – William A. Jacobson
ASA can spew all the venom it wants at Israel, but once it becomes a participant as an organization in an academic boycott of Israel based on unlawful and/or discriminatory grounds, ASA has ceased acting for charitable or educational purposes and is not entitled to tax preferences. The writer is Clinical Professor of Law at Cornell Law School. (Legal Insurrection)