American Studies Association Calls for Boycotting Israel Academia for Academic Freedom


What does the American Studies Association have to do with Israel? Absolutely nothing. But its National Council passes ridiculous resolutions on the thinnest of pretexts.

In 2006, the ASA National Council adopted a resolution calling for a withdrawal from Iraq because the war “threaten academic freedom and compromise scholarly integrity”.  Also because “military recruiters are disproportionately enlisting working-class students and students of color, and interfering with their completion of secondary and higher educations”.

Apparently the ASA had never heard of the GI Bill which actually made the expansion of the universities that host them possible.

Now, after an extended debate, the American Studies Association’s National Council has rammed through a resolution calling for the boycott of Israeli academia… for academic freedom.

The American Studies Association leadership endorsed a boycott of Israeli universities, but also sought the approval of the body’s 5,000 members. The decision posted Wednesday follows a contentious debate at the group’s annual meeting last month and 10 days of deliberations that were supposed to last a morning.

So as with the Park Slope co-op, the real battle is just getting started.

The American Studies Association’s National Council resolution starts out by condemning anti-Semitism and then perpetuates it with a thoroughly unique boycott that it has not leveled against any other country.

“Whereas there is no effective or substantive academic freedom for Palestinian students and scholars under conditions of Israeli occupation.”

The resolution does not bother to justify or defend this ridiculous claim. Gaza and West Bank universities are not run by Israel. Nor does Israel even govern the general areas. These universities routinely feature calls for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews… making it obvious that Israel really does not run them.

On the other hand, China and Russia run universities and make academic freedom impossible. But the American Studies Association has not issued a call to boycott China or Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran or any of the other countries that violate academic freedom.

Worse still, Educational International lists Palestine as one of the countries violating academic freedom

PALESTINE (Autonomous Palestinian Territories): Since the Palestinian Authority took control of the universities in the Autonomous Territories, issues concerning restriction of academic freedom have centred around the control exerted by the Authority on university policies.

So the ASA is boycotting Israel, a country that does have academic freedom, on behalf of Palestine, an entity which does not have academic freedom.

EI is critical of Israel, on dubious grounds, but still lists it as Category Two, no restrictions, alongside Italy, the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Palestine on the other hand is Category Three, Academic Freedom Restricted, alongside Zimbabwe, Egypt, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

So this isn’t about academic freedom. This is about boycotting Israel. If the ASA wanted to make a statement about academic freedom, it could speak out on Turkey.

Why Turkey? Let Nature, the magazine, answer that question.

Turkey cracks down on academic freedom

Turkey is upping the pressure on scientists and students who question its policies, and international human-rights advocates are taking notice.

In the past few years, the government has clamped down on the independence of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey and the Turkish Academy of Sciences (see Nature 477, 131; 2011). It has also harassed and jailed individual academics and students. Now, an international network is launching a campaign to support Turkish scientists whose academic rights it considers to have been violated.

The American Studies Association does not care about academic freedom. And it should be honest about that. Its position on Israel has as much to do with academic freedom as its position on the War on Iraq had to do with Academic Freedom.

And if it insists on paradoxically boycotting Israeli academia in the name of Academic Freedom, it should have the intellectual integrity to drop the academic freedom nonsense until it’s ready to stand up for academic freedom in Turkey, Russia and China and around the world.


  • Clare Spark

    American Studies has always been reactionary, anti-American and anti-Semitic. See They are known to be a marginal and weak field by both historians and professors of the various languages and literature. A bogus “leftist: field filled with pop culture buffs who are remarkable for their ignorance of history and politics. My link is entitled “Railroading Captain Ahab.”

  • oldschooltwentysix

    Totally agree. This is antisemitism but they are beyond the ability to see, prey to the indoctrination and manipulation they suffer by the activists among them, whose intent is not so innocent. They actually believe that Palestinians are more persecuted by Jews than by Arabs, and that it is the worst persecution on the planet. This is the extent of their ignorance, and their abuse of power.

  • Rachel Levy

    The sad truth is I find myself hating these people and then I am no better than them. I hate them because I think their cruel,evil people that want Israel destroyed,and the Jewish people living there massacred. To me there no different at all than the Europeans who knew what Hitler was doing and either supported it by their silence and indifference, or even worse being directly involved in the genocide of the Jewish people by being members of the SS and Gestapo,and in some ways this is even worse because these evil people can hide their hatred now behind the whole so called Palestinian human rights campaign. Unbelievably the newsmedia goes along with their whole facade often calling them “peace activists”.

  • Truth

    As a human being, I’m very proud of the ASA’s decision to boycott Israel.

    • john spielman

      I say boycott the ASA, it is bogus organization by a neo Goebbels, its new minister of propaganda

    • Biff Henderson


      As a defender of the human race I’m embarrassed that dip wads like yourself have the audacity to make that claim. The graduates of Israel’s academic community made it possible for you to transfer your keyboard strokes to this forum. Without them you’d be poking at air. You enjoy the fruits of Israel every waking hour and spit in the face of your benefactors. Is knuckle dragging more your style? Maybe you should toss the keyboard, grab a club and join the other Neanderthals in Palestine.

    • carpe diem 36

      why is it that you are able to see who voted Up on an article but not who voted Down?

  • Habbgun

    Let’s be honest this is a symptom of the breakdown of academia and not the breakdown itself. The university system is a monopolistic system and the idea that there is some sort of Western civilization that must magically be included in any education through required coursework is an illegal tie-in. There is nothing these people have to say or teach that would for instance mandate that a chemistry curriculum that would normally take 2 years to accomplish should take 4 to 5 because they mandate their own courses as a required minimum. The physical sciences exist only because nature exists. The university is only a means of knowledge transmission and not the knowledge itself. It is time the means of production in this case is given back to the masses where it belongs.

  • islamsucks

    simple, ASA is infiltrated by Muslims.

  • Stan Squires

    I am from vancouver,canada and i supports the ASA in its decision to support the boycott of israeli academic institutions.This is what a lot of universities in the USA and canada are doing.The BDS campagne is making lots of progress in canada,usa and europe.
    The supporters of israeli apartheid don’t like the BDS campagne.During the apartheid South Africa the govs.of canada,usa and european govs.supported the apartheid gov. there.Still the majority of people here in canada,usa and europe fought against apartheid in south africa and boycotted everything from there.The majority of people supports the Palestine struggle against israeli apartheid and are involved in the BDS Campagne.This campagne will continue to grow despite zionist objection to it.

  • Roslyn green

    The final solution is not dead. The holocaust could not have happened without willing executioners. These people will say no we don’t hate Jews, just the Jewish state. We like our Jews in crematoria so we can feel sad. If Jews fight back we don’t like them. This new anti semitism is exactly the same as the old anti semitism. The persecution of Jews continues. Hitler admired the Moslems for killing Jews. It was the national socialist party. You kill the Jews and redistribute their property. These guys could care less about the slaughter of Christians in Moslem lands. It is anti semitism that animates these nazi professors.