The American Studies Association (ASA) announced last week its endorsement of a resolution by its National Council to institute an academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions by the organization. The decision represents a narrow fraction of overall members; just under 20 percent of ASA membership took part in the vote, over the objection of eight former presidents.
The JCRC joins the over twenty-five colleges and universities throughout the country that have condemned the ASA’s vote to support a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. In addition to being an attack on academic freedom, as many college presidents have aptly pointed out, the ASA’s action reveals troubling attitudes and prejudices. Singling out Israeli academics based solely on their nationality is discrimination – plain and simple. Moreover, the ASA’s characterization of the Jewish State as “the Zionist settler-colonial project” reveals that at its core, this resolution is anti-Israel; it does not promote peace or a two-state solution. Peace for both Israelis and Palestinians depends on mutual recognition, mutual trust, and an open exchange of ideas. This resolution advances none of those interests.