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In Response to Responses to the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
withRiham Barghouti, Palestinian American, who worked lived in Palestine for 10 years and worked at Birzeit University, founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
and Adalah-NY
and Andrew Ross,  Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, N.Y.U. Member, American Studies Association

NYS Senate co-leader Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx) and Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) introduced a bill that would give colleges and universities in New York 30 days to withdraw their support from groups like the American Studies Association, which recently voted for such an academic boycott, or NYS lawmakers Senate co-leader Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx) and Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) want to strip aid from universities whose faculty participate in academic organizations that urge a boycott against Israel.  The bill passed the Senate but is stalled in the Assembly. This is in response to the American Studies Association (ASA), which recently voted for such an academic boycott. Cornell,  New York University, Columbia, SUNY Buffalo and SUNY Stony Brook are among the institutions with faculty affiliated with the ASA, made up of 5,000 professors. The ASA over-whelmingly voted to refuse to enter into formal collaborations with Israeli academic institutions, or with scholars who are expressly serving as representatives or ambassadors of those institutions , or on behalf of the Israeli government, until Israel ceases to violate international law. and human rights. We’ll discuss the growing efficacy of the boycotts, divestiture and sanctions movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This seems like an infringement of rights. (0+ / 0-)

    More specifically the freedom of association and freedom of speech.

    Personally, I don't think an academic or cultural boycott of Israel (or Cuba or anywhere else for that matter) is a good idea and I also think there are a bunch of (racist) assholes on both sides of the green line. On the other hand, I don't think punishing colleges or getting professors fired for their poltical beliefs is a good idea either.

    Seriously, do you want politicians telling you which (non-violent) groups you can belong to? Have politicians force you to participate in activities against your will? Smells like dictatorship or at least McCarthyism to me.

    I ride the wild horse .

    by BelgianBastard on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 02:48:49 AM PST

  •  c. 21.8% of ASA's 3,853 eligible members voted (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for the boycott, according toInside Higher Ed.  That's not nothing, but it's hardly, as the diary claims, an "over-whelming[] vote[]" among "5,000 professors."

    Of the 1,252 votes cast, 66.1 percent of members endorsed the boycott, 30.5 percent rejected it and 3.4 percent abstained. Slightly less than a third of the association’s 3,853 eligible voting members participated in the 10-day online referendum.
    It also appears that the current ASA leadership did not exactly play fair in terms of enabling members visiting the organization's website to learn about opposing views (emphasis added):
    Eight past ASA presidents sent a letter last week opposing the boycott as being "antithetical to the mission of free and open inquiry for which a scholarly organization stands” and taking issue with the association's leaders for refusing to post the anti-boycott petition and an open letter from the AAUP opposing boycotts on its website.

    “I hope that people will remember that many more members did not vote than did vote,” said Shelley Fisher Fishkin, the president of the association in 2004-5 and the Joseph S. Atha Professor of Humanities and director of American studies at Stanford University. “The views that were expressed in this flawed process should not be taken as representative of the views of the majority of scholars in the field.”

    Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

    by another American on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 05:40:30 AM PST

  •  I doubt the wisdom of the proposed (0+ / 0-)

    legislation, but let's be clear that the bill's essential thrust is to control the spending of state tax dollars. Professors and academic institutions are free to spend money from non-New York state sources as they wish:

    No college in this state may use state  aid  provided  directly  to such  college  to: fund an academic entity, provide funds for membership in an academic entity or fund travel or  lodging  for  any employee  to attend  any  meeting of such academic entity if such entity has issued a public resolution or other official statement or undertaken an  official action  boycotting  a  host  country  or  higher education institutions located in such country.
    (Emphasis added).

    The bill expressly does not apply to, among other circumstances:

    (b) when such boycott is connected with a labor dispute; or

    (c)  when  such  boycott  is  for  the  purpose of protesting unlawful discriminatory practices as determined by the laws, rules or regulations of this state.

    For example, were the American Historical Association to vote to boycott academic institutions located in U.S. states that forbid equal marriage, the bill, if enacted, would not prevent the use of New York state funds to participate in AHA meetings or activities.

    Finally, considering the academic-freedom-based objections to the ASA boycott, it is more than ironic to find defenders of that boycott object to a possible counter-boycott on the grounds of academic freedom.

    Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

    by another American on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 05:55:49 AM PST

  •  Hysterical!!! (0+ / 0-)

    I suppose the ASA and BDS advocates will cry foul, because they don't approve divestment strategies targeted at them.

    In other words, they would have us believe that it's fine (and "legitimate")  to direct such strategies at Israeli institutions, but when such strategies are -- in response -- directed at BDS advocacy . . .  oh well . . . that's an entirely different matter . . .  and they cry foul.



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