Dec. 15, 2017
Anti-Israel Activists Subvert the American Studies Association – Jesse M. Fried and Eugene Kontorovich
Emails unearthed in a federal lawsuit appear to show that the American Studies Association’s decision to boycott Israel in 2013 was orchestrated by a small cadre of academics who infiltrated the ASA’s leadership to demonize the Jewish state.
In 2016, four ASA members sued the organization, alleging the boycott violated its bylaws, the District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation Act, and laws prohibiting nonprofits from exceeding their chartered purposes. Emails appear to show that after joining the ASA’s nominating committee in 2010, Jasbir Puar, an associate professor of women’s and gender studies at Rutgers University, actively tried to stack the National Council with boycott backers. By the end of Puar’s term on the nominating committee in 2013, seven of the ASA’s 12 National Council members were public supporters of the anti-Israel BDS movement.
These revelations show that pressure on campus for a boycott of Israel is unlikely to reflect a vast popular movement. If the ASA case is representative, academic boycotts against Israel are driven by small groups of activists who pursue their pet cause at the expense of colleagues and the good of their organizations. Mr. Fried is a professor at Harvard Law School. Mr. Kontorovich is a professor at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. (Wall Street Journal)