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Major US scholarly association votes for academic boycott of Israel
Published Monday 16/12/2013 (updated) 18/12/2013 16:12
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BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The largest and oldest academic organization dedicated to the study of the United States announced on Monday that its membership had voted overwhelmingly to endorse the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

In a landmark decision, more than 66 percent of voting members of the American Studies Association opted in favor of a resolution that supported the boycott. The resolution also expressed the association's support for US-based academics to speak critically of Israeli policies.

"The ASA's endorsement of the academic boycott emerges from the context of US military and other support for Israel; Israel's violation of international law and UN resolutions; the documented impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian scholars and students; the extent to which Israeli institutions of higher education are a party to state policies that violate human rights; and finally, the support of such a resolution by a majority of ASA members," a statement released by the association on Monday read.

The results of the vote follow the decision of the association's national council to endorse the resolution in early December, as Ma'an reported at the time.

Although the council expressed its support for the resolution, it also referred the final decision to its members. Of the association's 5,000 members, 1,252 cast their votes. 66.05 percent said yes, while 30.5 percent said no and 3.43 percent abstained.

According to the ASA's website, the resolution entails a ban on "formal collaborations with Israeli academic institutions, or with scholars who are expressly serving as representatives or ambassadors of those institutions."

It does not, however, call for "a boycott of Israeli scholars engaged in individual-level contacts and ordinary forms of academic exchange," the site clarifies, adding that "the goal of the academic boycott is to contribute to the larger movement for social justice in Israel/Palestine that seeks to expand, not further restrict, the rights to education and free inquiry."

The American Studies Association is the largest US-based academic association to support the academic boycott of Israel to-date, and it follows the Association for Asian American Studies' decision to do so in April.

The vote is a particularly historic move given that the United States is one of Israel's strongest allies and gives it more $3 billion in aid per year.

The campaign was supported by the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI), a major scholarly organization with nearly 1000 endorsements from many leading US academics.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel was officially launched in 2004 by Palestinian civil society in order to pressure the state of Israel to end its systematic violations of Palestinian human rights, including the right to education.

Activists argue that extensive institutional collaboration between Israeli universities and the Israeli military warrant an international boycott campaign, as part of a broader movement of boycott, divestment, and sanctions targeting the State of Israel in order to end the occupation and its extensive human rights violations.
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1 ) CARLOS / USA
16/12/2013 19:35
Them and Steven Hawkings too. If Einstien was alive today he would boycott israel.

2 ) southparkbear / usa
16/12/2013 20:53
don't hold you breath Carlos. being connected to academia both in israel and the U.S. I can tell you this is another 'huge' palestinians victory on paper. As you know palestinians so far had 83422 huge victories that gave them far more than what they could dream off.

3 ) Giacomo / USA
16/12/2013 20:57
Approx. 17% of the membership approved. Hardly 'overwhelming'.

4 ) @ Carlos-1 / USA too
16/12/2013 21:51
Some simple math* for those Academics' effect on Israel.
* Effect: ASA Steven Hawkings 0 = 0

5 ) Colin Wright / USA
16/12/2013 21:53
To Giacomo #3: 'Approx. 17% of the membership approved. Hardly 'overwhelming'. It actually makes the result all that more telling. The Zionists would have needed to mobilize only 627 'no' votes out of a total membership of five thousand. Apparently, either they couldn't do that, or they were too demoralized to try. Moreover, as a pure guess, I'd assume about five hundred of those five thousand were American Jews. Israel's losing large -- and influential -- chunks of support in America.

6 ) Lynx / Palestine
16/12/2013 21:59
Israel...on its way to the trash bin of history, to join the old Republic of South Africa...and Nazi Germany!

7 ) Colin Wright / USA
16/12/2013 22:06
Gotta correct my previous post: the Zionists would have needed to muster nine hundred or so 'no' votes to defeat this measure. That's still less than 20%. We have here a slice of 'progressive,' educated America -- and it is totally unwilling to support Israel.

8 ) Colin Wright / USA
16/12/2013 22:07
To southparkbear #2: '...I can tell you this is another 'huge' palestinians victory on paper...' Kinda like the 'wins' that were being logged against Apartheid South Africa circa 1975, eh?

9 ) Julie / USA
16/12/2013 22:55
@3 and approx. 83% did not choose to vote NO...but they easily could have. that's overwhelming, especially considering the implications and repercussions had they taken the opportunity to vote no!

10 ) Colin Wright / USA
17/12/2013 00:16
To Carlos #1: 'Them and Steven Hawkings too. If Einstien was alive today he would boycott israel.' EinstEIN. It's a German name. The second vowel is the one that's pronounced.

11 ) Tobias / USA
17/12/2013 00:43
Palestine has NOT become a real state based upon EU sanctions, or even a UN resolution, so clearly the ASA resolution is little more than a flea bite to the Lion of Judah.

12 ) ian / australia
17/12/2013 04:15
#3 "Approx. 17% of the membership approved. Hardly 'overwhelming'." Yes, there's endemic gutlessness in the US where Israel is concerned (more bewilderment, I would say) and you clearly have your Israel "issues", but THIS is the road that spelt DEATH for apartheid in South Africa. Israel is becoming a dirty word, a pariah...just like SA. Even supplanting the new warm and fuzzy Iran. These moral instincts don't go away. (The ASA won't be RETRACTING this.) They gain momentum. They snowball.

13 ) ian / australia
17/12/2013 04:16
(contd.) They enter the mainstream as the collective baseline position on what's right and wrong, good and evil...and justice for the Palestinians becomes a matter of time.

14 ) ian / australia
17/12/2013 04:19
#2 "...being connected to academia both in israel and the U.S..." LOL. EASILY the biggest laugh of 2013.

15 ) Jihane / Palestine/France
17/12/2013 22:34
@ Ian. Don't be cruel, Teddybear meant connected to academia through internet of course. He occasionnally looks at their websites.....

16 ) Colin Wright / USA
18/12/2013 01:29
To Tobias #11: '...the Lion of Judah.' I'm going to enjoy listening to that lion snivel and whine as this all plays out over the next decade. Boast of your power some more; it's just going to make the end sweeter.

17 ) ian / australia
18/12/2013 02:31
#5, #9 "Of the association's 5,000 members, 1,252 cast their votes. 66.05 percent said yes, while 30.5 percent said no and 3.43 percent abstained." Yes, out of 5,000 members eligible to vote, only 376 people OBJECTED to the boycott. Most (3,748) didn't vote whether out of indifference, indecision or a combination of gutlessness and befuddlement because Israel was involved, but, importantly, they were unwilling to stand up AGAINST it. Not voting is a way of letting the people with strong feelings

18 ) ian / australia
18/12/2013 02:33
(contd.) decide and accepting the decision. It's going with a groundswell of public opinion. Exactly like Apartheid: many didn't lift a finger (me included) but even the most politically indifferent wouldn't have dreamed of actively standing up for it.

19 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
18/12/2013 11:34
Ian...please define "groundswell of public opinion". It's only the internet that allows the pro-Palestinian crowd to overinflate their image of reality leading to comments like #6. One day the "groundswell" will wake up and demand war crimes trials for the Palestinian leadership for their decades of inflicting terrorism on the world, not just on Israel. Who knows, Ian, maybe one day the Aborigines will recover their country and send you packing to where you came from!

20 ) @ Delusions (#16) / USA too
18/12/2013 16:11
Honestly Colin,
-A- Children eventually learn that Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus are not real, and
-B- You, despite your insistance upon delusions being real, may also eventually realize (if your own mortality does come first) that
-C- The situation will "play out over THE NEXT DECADE" or century,
WILL BE JUST LIKE THE LAST DECADE or century, and
-D- It is Not the Lion of Judah "sniveling about the occupation or "stolen lands", or "whines for more international donations" !!!!

21 ) ian / australia
19/12/2013 12:13
#19 Yes Brian, the "groundswell of public opinion" condemning Israeli crimes against the Palestinians hasn't yet reached Apartheid proportions. It's kind of nascent. But, tell me, is Israel's reputation becoming enhanced in the world? Is it growing? Does the ASA outcome, where a relatively square academic body in the Israeli heartland couldn't rally more than 376 votes AGAINST a boycott, augur well for the future? That's certainly a "groundswell" at the ASA with 4,624 members tacitly accepting

22 ) ian / australia
19/12/2013 12:16
(contd.) it's the right thing to do though being a bit gutless about saying it. And is an international "groundswell" to arrest President Abbas and try the PA for war crimes REALLY more likely than growing revulsion at Israeli policies entering the mainstream...as it did with apartheid in South Africa? Did the "groundswell of public opinion" call for Nelson Mandela's trial for sabotage or his virtual canonisation? This genie isn't going back in the bottle.

23 ) Tobias / USA
20/12/2013 00:45
- Palestine became a UNESCO member to harm Israel interests, but UNESCO was harmed (losing 25% of it's funding) instead, and - Now the US Universities of Brandeis and Penn State have quit ASA over it's Israel Boycott, and the ASA was financially harmed instead of Israel, for rejecting the core principles of freedom of association and expression.

24 ) ian / australia
20/12/2013 04:23
#19 And what's so wrong with #6? Lynx/Palestine isn't saying Israel will be annihilated, wiped off the map, made to vanish (into the "night and fog"), the population exiled or slaughtered...any more than South Africa or Germany were wiped off the map or destroyed. They're still there. Just better behaved. It's their odious regimes, not the nation, which have been consigned to the "trashbin of of history'', as surely Israel's will be one day.
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