I have obtained a copy of a letter circulating in Congress denouncing the academic boycott of Israel by the American Studies Association.

The authors of the letter hope to have at least 50 co-signers (maybe more), split roughly evenly between Democrats and Republicans.

Here is the text of the letter, with the initiating four Members of Congress inticated:

Mr. Curtis Marez
President
American Studies Association
1120 19th St NW, Suite 301
Washington, DC 20036

Dear Mr. Marez:

We write in strong opposition to the American Studies Association’s (ASA) recent decision to boycott Israeli universities and academic institutions. While ASA has every right to express its views on policies pursued by any nation or government, we believe that the decision to blacklist Israeli academic institutions for Israeli government policies with which ASA disagrees demonstrates a blatant disregard for academic freedom.

The ASA claims that the boycott “is in solidarity with scholars and students deprived of their academic freedom and it aspires to enlarge that freedom for all, including Palestinians.” We believe that this boycott accomplishes just the opposite. The university is an institution intended to foster, encourage, and inspire constructive dialogue and original thought. However, this boycott undermines academic freedom by prohibiting educational and cultural exchanges with Israeli universities and academic institutions.

Even more concerning is the singular targeting of Israel for boycott. Like all democracies, Israel is not perfect. But to single out Israel, while leaving relationships with universities in autocratic and repressive countries intact, suggests thinly-veiled bigotry and bias against the Jewish State. This morally dishonest double standard has already been rejected by well over 100 university presidents, with several member universities even withdrawing from the organization in protest.

Some higher education organizations—including the American Association of University Professors, the American Council on Education, and the Association of American Universities—have denounced the boycott as unjust and harmful to the goals of academic freedom. Even Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejects boycotts of Israel, stating: “No, we do not support the boycott of Israel…We have relations with Israel, we have mutual recognition of Israel.”

Academic cooperation can be an important tool to help foster peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but you have chosen the unproductive path of isolation. We hope that the ASA will learn to appreciate the mutually beneficial academic ties between the United States and Israel and work with us to promote peace and academic freedom.

Sincerely,

Peter J. Roskam
Member of Congress

Theodore E. Deutch
Member of Congress

Doug Collins
Member of Congress

Bradley S. Schneider
Member of Congress

Cc:
Ms. Lisa Duggan
President-elect
American Studies Association
1120 19th St NW, Suite 301
Washington, DC 20036t

The Members who already have agreed to sign the letter are, as of this writing, as follows:

Peter Roskam
Ted Deutch
Doug Collins
Brad Schneider
Eliot Engel
Michele Bachmann
Pat Tiberi
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Mike Quigley
Henry Waxman
Grace Meng
Steve Stivers
David Joyce
Randy Weber
Leonard Lance
Brad Sherman
Eric Swalwell
Matt Salmon
Doug Lamborn
Tim Walberg
Jackie Walorski
Gary Peters
Patrick Murphy
Juan Vargas
Tom Marino
Jeff Duncan
Trent Franks
Corrine Brown
Peter King
Kevin Yoder
Betty McCollum
Richard Hudson
Sander Levin
Mike Kelly
Adam Schiff
Dina Titus

Related Posts: