An announcement just was posted on the American Studies Association website, and reads in part:

ASA Members Vote To Endorse Academic Boycott of Israel

The members of the American Studies Association have endorsed the Association’s participation in a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. In an election that attracted 1252 voters, the largest number of participants in the organization’s history, 66.05% of voters endorsed the resolution, while 30.5% of voters voted no and 3.43% abstained. The election was a response to the ASA National Council’s announcement on December 4 that it supported the academic boycott and, in an unprecedented action to ensure a democratic process, asked its membership for their approval….

Of note, the total number of votes equals only about one-quarter of the total ASA membership of 5000. Those voting Yes represent approximately 16% of the total membership, yet it will be a vote that will stain the ASA for years to come.

As I announced prior to the vote result, the Tax-Exempt Status of American Studies Association to be challenged if Israel boycott resolution passes.

More to follow:

So what’s my take-away from this?

I’m most shocked at the low turnout for the vote.  Given the time and energy devoted by the anti-Israel backers of the boycott, only 825 or so votes were in favor.  At the same time, opponents (who were ambushed by the proposal) only managed to get about 375 people interested.  Effectively, most people didn’t care.  Apathy is perhaps the saddest lesson from this given the odious nature of the proposal, and it’s how anti-Israel zealots are able to drive issues far out of proportion to their actual numbers.

In a nation that overwhelmingly supports Israel at historically high levels, a highly organized cadre of anti-Israel radicals was able to pull off a multi-year effort successfully.  They put their people in charge of a previously non-partisan academic organization, waited to ambush the opposition, made sure the flow of information was one-sided, and in the end used a relatively small but motivated group of symathizers to commit the entire organization to an act widely condemned outside the anti-Israel community.

It’s a lesson in how good people let bad people win, and should be a wake up call to supporters of Israel and/or academic freedom.

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