The American Studies Association’s Badge of Shame

Boycott_Jews_april_1_1933The American Studies Association (ASA) voted this week for an academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The action taken by the ASA is nothing less than a badge of shame. The ostensible reason given was “solidarity with scholars and students deprived of their academic freedom and an aspiration to enlarge the freedom for all, including Palestinians.” The truth is, however, that the ASA has never targeted any other country for a boycott.  Israel, a democracy that protects the civil liberties and religious freedoms of its minorities, while protecting its citizens from constant Palestinian terrorism, is the ASA’s sole target. While measures such as checkpoints are used by Israel to protect its citizens from Palestinian suicide bombers, one can hardly regard them as a form of injustice.  Palestinian students might arrive late to class on occasion but the measures do not impede their studies or academic freedom.

The ASA is alleged to have 5,000 members, and the association has described itself as the “nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history.” In the vote to endorse the boycott, 1,252 members voted. Of those, 66% voted for the boycott, 30.5% voted against. Following the vote, the ASA announced, “We believe that the ASA endorsement of the boycott is warranted, given U.S. 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 party to state policies that violate human rights; and the support of such a resolution by many of the ASA…”

Abe Foxman, Anti-Defamation League national director responded to the ASA boycott with the following statement: “This shameful, morally bankrupt and intellectually dishonest attack on academic freedom by the American Studies Association should be soundly condemned by all who are committed to the ideal that open exchange of ideas is the most effective way to achieve change. Targeting Israeli institutions solely because they are in Israel – the only democratic country in the Middle East where scholarship and debate are encouraged and flourish – is based on myopic and fundamentally distorted perspective of Israel and the conflict, and it is manifestly unjust.”

The arbitrary focus on Israel by the ASA, while ignoring the Muslim world where women and religious minority rights are routinely violated, reveals a clear prejudice on the part of the ASA. The ASA’s own words suggest an ideological bias in declaring, “Given U.S. military and other support for Israel,” as if the U.S. does not give military and financial aid to other countries, including the Palestinian Authority. U.S. aid to the Palestinians hasn’t curtailed its encouragement of hatred and intolerance towards Jews and Israel throughout its educational system. Palestinian campuses are hotbeds of anti-Zionism, and the professors and administrators have openly and consistently spawned terrorism against the Jewish State. And, while Israeli-Jews are unwelcome on Arab or Palestinian-Arab campuses, Arabs in Israel enjoy academic freedom – including the right to wage raucous demonstrations against the Jewish state. ASA members should ask the simple question pertaining to freedom and human rights: Could a Jewish-Israeli student survive on a Palestinian campus? The obvious answer is no. He or she would likely be killed.

Another reason given for the ASA boycott against Israeli academic institutions is allegedly “Israel’s violation of international law and UN resolutions.” This shameful excuse by the ASA is indicative of malice, if not ignorance. The ASA should know that the UN has been stacked against Israel almost from the beginning. The combination of the Muslim and Soviet blocs could have passed a resolution in the General Assembly that the “earth is flat” and it would have won by an overwhelming majority. Today, while the Soviet bloc is gone, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) is still the largest and most influential voting bloc in the UN. Insofar as international law is concerned, UN Security Council Resolution 242 speaks of Israel exchanging “territory,” not all the territories in the West Bank or Judea and Samaria it liberated from Jordan in 1967. Jordan occupied these territories during the 1948 War of Independence and its annexation attempts were never recognized by the international community. Egypt and Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel and the former received the entire Sinai Peninsula in return. Jordan, too, settled its claims with Israel.

In 1988, King Hussein of Jordan, transferred responsibility for the future of the West Bank to the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), who chose the armed struggle and terror against Israel rather than peace negotiations. The Oslo Accords signed in September, 1993, were violated in September, 2000, when Yasser Arafat launched the Second Intifada rather than agreeing to an “end the conflict with Israel” at Camp David, held under the auspices of President Clinton. Israel has not violated international law. It is the Palestinian refusal to compromise that has kept “the pot boiling.”

It is apparent that the ASA is only willing to use the boycott weapon against the Jewish State. When Jewish and pro-Israel students’ human rights were violated on Canadian campuses in 2010, there was no call by the ASA for a boycott of those academic institutions. Writing for Canada Free Press, Richard Cravatts, Ph.D., stressed that “ A recent incident that took place at the beginning of February, York University in particular, has now revealed a troubling pattern of tolerating physical and emotional assaults by pro-Palestinian radicals against Jewish students and others who dare to demonstrate any support for Israel or question the tactics of Islamists in their efforts to destroy the Jewish state.”

Professor Cravatts added, “Violence, and threats of violence, against Jewish students during conversations about Israel have occurred at other Canadian universities, as well. At the University of Toronto’s insidious 2009 Israeli Apartheid Week, for instance, the annual event had so devolved into a racist, rabid rally that proceedings were closed to cameras and reporters, and individuals who actually attempted to participate in a dialogue about the issues being raised by the noxious event in the first place were confronted with physical intimidation and threats, encountering the dark side of pro-Palestinianism.”

At the University of California campuses, verbal and physical attacks against Jewish and pro-Israel students have become commonplace. Pro-Israel speakers are usually harassed and sometimes attacked. That is certainly a violation of human rights and academic freedom. Has the ASA boycotted the University of California system for violating the human rights of pro-Israel students?

The New York Times quoted Curtis Marez, President of ASA as saying that the “ASA has never before called for an academic boycott of any nation’s universities.” Marez conceded that many nations including Israel’s neighbors are generally judged to have human rights records that are worse than Israel’s. But, Marez concluded, “One has to start somewhere.” Larry Summers, former President of Harvard University, and former U.S. Treasury Secretary, appearing last week on PBS with Charlie Rose, ridiculed the notion of the boycott against Israel and called for a counter boycott of the ASA and its events.

To select Israel as deserving of a boycott when genocide and oppression are being perpetrated by the Iranian and Syrian regimes, to mention but two examples of global evil, is an outrage. Given Israel’s circumstances as an island of progress, democracy, and human rights in a sea of repressive dictatorships and rogue nations, one can only call it anti-Semitism under the guise of anti-Zionism. This action by the American Studies Association confers upon it nothing less than a badge of shame.

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  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    All teachers who value truth, honesty and freedom should resign from the fascist socialist ASA.

    From the River to the Sea,
    Pal-e-SWINE Will Never Be!

  • Retro22

    The fools over at ASA are highly over rated.We assume that the academic degrees abbreviated after their names denote great wisdom & integrity.This is highly debatable.When my wife was a young student at C.C.N.Y in n.y. there was another means of explaining what these degrees really were about.She told me that a B.S. stood for BULL SHUT,an M.S. was defined as MORE SHUT & a PhD was “PILED HIGHER & DEEPER”.This may be as close as we will ever get to the true meaning of what these ASA buffoons are all about

  • Jil

    Who even heard of the ASA prior to their misguided vote? I certainly hope other universities follow the lead of Penn St- Harrisburg and Brandeis.

  • mcbee555

    I believe that Israeli academics can do very well despite the bigotry of ASA.
    The least attention paid to ASA, the better. It would be poetic justice for those supporting ASA to never take one medication developed by Israelis or American Jewish scientists. ASA should formalize its statement against all Jewish scientists who’ve benefitted this world via their medical discoveries and improvements, to make sure its supporters abide by the boycott.
    Yes, that would be just reward for the bigotry.

  • tokoloshiman

    ATTACK THE ONE WHO WILL NOT KILL YOU IN RESPONSE TO CRITICISM – THAT IS THE SAFE COWARDLY AND EXPEDIENT THING TO DO OBVIOUSLY IN ASA ‘S CASE. JUST LIKE THE UN.

  • Judahlevi

    Yes, Israel is boycotted by leftist professors but Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, etc. are not. That makes sense.

    Frankly, Israel is better off without any of these professors with their distorted worldview. Most universities would be as well.

  • Proud ASA Member

    Anti-Zionism isn’t anti-Semitism. One can be opposed to Israel’s brutal occupation of the Palestinians, and that has nothing to do with how one feels about Jewish people. Please stop using this dishonest argument. The ASA has taken a bold step towards helping to address one of the defining human rights and justice issues of our time. Viva Palestine!

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Fascist ASA Member,

      You ignore islamist fascism, racism, executions of gays in fascist iran, stoning women to death, use of poison gas (a WMD) by sadaam hussein on the Kurds of Iraq, religious police in fascist iran, lack of freedom of religion in saudi arabia, current day slavery in Sudan and Mauritania, fascist iran using their islamist gestapo (revolutionary guard) to guarantee fixed “elections” in fascist iran, islamists bombing passenger planes like Pan Am 103, islamofascists hijacking passenger planes on 9/11, islamofascists bombing London transport on 7/7/05, death fatwas on writers like Salman Rushdie, kidnapping, beheading and posting the video of the murder of innocents like Daniel Pearl, Boston Marathon bombing…

      I can go on and on and on.

      Fascist ASA Member, you need to be kicked out of any teachers union that has any claims to honesty and impartiality.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Fascist ASA Member,

      Chant this…

      From the River to the Sea,

      Pal-e-SWINE Will Never Be!

      • Hass

        LoL….

    • Hass

      Proud? Of what?

      You and those 66% who voted for the boycott are clueless.

      And you know what you can do with your Viva Palestine idiocy.

      • defcon 4

        Australia is lucky to have someone like you as a citizen.

        • Hass

          Thank you kindly, I’m really flattered.

          A very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to you and your family.

          And thank you for your kind words and I hope to learn more with your informative comments in 2014.

    • iluvisrael

      You’re nothing but cowardly swine. Any person or group that singles out the one Jewish nation for demonization is a Jew hater – got that?

    • UCSPanther

      The way you nuts act when “Israel” is so much as whispered only proves my theory of “Scratch an antizionist, find an antisemite”.

      Nice try, and Muerte Palestine.

      • SCREW SOCIALISM

        VIVA UCSPanther!!!

    • Judahlevi

      World Jewish Congress:

      “This vote to boycott Israel, one of the most democratic and academically free nations on the globe, shows the Orwellian anti-Semitism and moral bankruptcy of the American Studies Association (ASA).
      “The Middle East is literally filled with dead from governments’ reaction to the convulsions of the ‘Arab Spring,’ but the American Studies Association singles out the Jewish State, the one Middle Eastern country that shares American values, for opprobrium? No wonder many Americans dismiss the academy as deeply biased and disconnected with reality.”

    • Judahlevi

      There are 200,000 dead in Syria and millions of refugees, zero academic freedom in China … well, why go on; none of these matters seems worthy of notice by the ASA. It is illuminating that one of the endorsers of this move (actually, it is the second name that appears) on the ASA website is Angela Davis, former Communist Party candidate for national office and now a distinguished professor emerita of feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She, like the ASA, has long been blind to human rights abuses — except in Israel.

      This move by the ASA will not harm Israel, but it is enlightening for anyone with children attending or soon to be attending college that this group of academics harbors such an extraordinary bias. The much larger American Association of University Professors has opposed this and all academic boycotts, but that is only partial comfort. The AAUP opposition means that ASA members had a principled and academically defensible basis for voting against the boycott of Israel, yet they voted for it. Those votes express not only bias against Israel, for the reasons Summers notes, but a bias as well against the spirit of free inquiry that is supposed to infuse American academia.

    • Judahlevi

      Dershowitz:

      China occupies Tibet, Russia occupies Chechnya and several other countries occupy Kurdish lands. In those cases no offers have been made to end the occupation. Yet no boycotts have been directed against the academic institutions of those occupying countries.

      When the President of the American Studies Association, Curtis Marez, an associate professor of ethnic studies at The University of California, was advised that many nations, including all of Israel’s neighbors, behave far worse than Israel, he responded, “One has to start somewhere.” This boycott, however, has not only started with Israel. It will end with Israel. Marez’s absurd comment reminds me of the bigoted response made by Harvard’s notorious anti-Semitic president A. Laurence Lowell, when he imposed anti-Jewish quotas near the beginning of the twentieth century. When asked why he singled out Jews for quotas, he replied, “Jews cheat.” When the great Judge Learned Hand reminded him that Christians cheat too, Lowell responded, “You’re changing the subject. We are talking about Jews now.”

      You would think that historians and others who belong to the American Studies Association would understand that in light of the history of discrimination against Jews, you can’t just pick the Jewish State and Jewish universities as the place to “start” and stop.

      The American Studies Association claims that it is not boycotting individual Israeli professors, but only the universities at which they teach. That is a nonsensical word game, since no self-respecting Israeli professor would associate with an organization that singled out Israeli colleges and universities for a boycott. Indeed, no self-respecting American professor should in any way support the bigoted actions of this association.

      Several years ago, when a similar boycott was being considered, a group of American academics circulated a counter-petition drafted by Nobel Prize Physicist Steven Weinberg and I that read as follows:

      “We are academics, scholars, researchers and professionals of differing religious and political perspectives. We all agree that singling out Israelis for an academic boycott is wrong. To show our solidarity with our Israeli academics in this matter, we, the undersigned, hereby declare ourselves to be Israeli academics for purposes of any academic boycott. We will regard ourselves as Israeli academics and decline to participate in any activity from which Israeli academics are excluded. “

      More than 10,000 academics signed this petition including many Nobel Prize winners, presidents of universities and leading scholars from around the world.

      Shame on those members of the American Studies Association for singling out the Jew among nations. Shame on them for applying a double standard to Jewish universities. Israeli academic institutions are strong enough to survive this exercise in bigotry. The real question is will this association survive its complicity with the oldest and most enduring prejudice?

    • Jane

      Why don’t your fallacy laden members come out and say the real truth behind your absurd agenda?
      which is…you people just hate the Jewish Nation along with the Jews. And you really don’t give a F*** about the so called Palestinians.

  • Mladen_Andrijasevic
    • camp7

      Good article – thanks.

    • Wolfthatknowsall

      Very interesting article.

      MAD … Mutually-Assured Destruction … was based upon the premise that no sane leader would risk the absolute destruction of his country for any ideological reason. Although the world came to the brink, a couple of times, it worked.

      MAD won’t work against Iran. The use of a nuclear weapon against against Israel would unleash an unspeakable nuclear horror against the Iranian people, in retaliation.

      However, the Mullahs who run Iran are not guided by logic, but rather by an insane logic. The chaos following a nuclear exchange between Iran and Israel would … in their view … bring the Mahdi (the 12th Imam), out of his well, and he would conquer the world for Islam.

      MAD simply won’t work against people who “think” like that.

    • Wolfthatknowsall

      I was addressing my post to you, and we are in complete agreement.

  • Dyer’s Eve

    Bloody fools!

  • Silver Garcia

    More and more it is obvious that the USA and Israel must split due to the fact that the USA as are many Western nations, fixed in the grasp of the left.

    The left is well financed and is everywhere. It owns the media, it is in the White House, the universities, congress, senate, FBI, CIA, etc.. All tacitly financed by wealthy Muslims or Soros who is a front for the money power as was JP Morgan, who seek to fill the world with chaos and blood and poverty.

    Israel is no doubt making plans with Russia, China and India, the new wealth of the world. They have most of most of the gold, oil and their brains are not polluted with leftwingisms.