The American Studies Association’s decision to launch a racist boycott of Israel, while not issuing any sanctions toward countries that academic associations have found actually restrict academic freedom, such as China, is being met with outrage and calls for action.
Professor Jacobson of Legal Insurrection will look into the ASA’s tax exempt status. But the best way to confront a boycott may be with a boycott.
As he has pointed out, the boycott may be illegal under New York State law. The ASA’s boycott wing have carefully worded their resolution not to apply to individuals for, likely, precisely this reason. But that doesn’t mean that it might not be possible to see a bill through in the New York State legislature that would prohibit public funds from being used to in any way fund ASA events or publications… or ASA members and their work.
Considering how much the ASA relies on public universities, such a move might hurt them quite a bit. California would be an uphill battle. But it might be altogether doable in New York.
And such a move should be explored. It would at the very least force universities to screen their budgets and hit American Studies departments in their pocketbooks leading to the withdrawal of professors from the ASA.
Secondly, when you receive a begging letter from a college you attended, or didn’t, reply that you would like to donate, but that you are worried that your donation might subsidize ASA activities or members which you oppose due to their racist boycott of Israel.
If you have previously donated, follow that message up with an open letter to the university president. Reach out to more high-profile donors to encourage them to make the same statements.
Educational institutions are hungry for money. Hit them in the pocketbook and suddenly their political calculus changes.