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US scholar group endorses academic boycott of Israel


Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-12-16

The American Studies Association (ASA) said on Monday it had endorsed an academic boycott of Israel to protest Israeli treatment of Palestinians.

The group, which has around 5,000 members, describes itself as the US’ “oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history”.

In the vote, more than 66 percent of the 1,252 participants voted in favour of the boycott action, while just over 35 percent were against it. The remaining 3.4 percent abstained from voting.

The vote, which ended Sunday, comes after a December 4 announcement in which ASA’s National Council said it supported a wider boycott of Israeli academic institutions and asked its members to approve the decision.

In April, the Association for Asian American Studies -- another heavy-weight American academic group -- had previously endorsed the boycott.

‘Israel violates international law’

According to the New York Times, the boycott calls on American schools and academic groups to ban collaboration with Israeli institutions. Individual Israeli scholars will, however, still be able to attend conferences and hold lectures at US universities -- as long as they do not officially represent Israeli universities or the government.

ASA said that while publications and research in between individual scholars will be exempt from the boycott, guidelines have been drawn up for how its members should “engage” with colleagues based in Israel.

In a statement posted on its website, ASA said its endorsement of the boycott stems from US military and other forms of support for Israel, pointing also to “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.”

The group also said its resolution acknowledges “that the US plays a significant role in enabling the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”

US left-leaning weekly The Nation said the Israeli government is treating the movement as a “strategic threat,” adding that US Secretary of State John Kerry has called it an “existential danger” to Israel.



Date created : 2013-12-16


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