Legal Insurrection has extensively covered the American Studies Association anti-Israel academic boycott and the reaction. See our American Studies Association Tag for full coverage going back to early December.

Two recent events we reported on were the rejection of the ASA boycott by two large regional ASA Chapters, the California ASA and Eastern ASA.

We’ve also reported on the widespread rejection by over 250 university presidents and ASA’s sources of funding.

While ASA always puts a strong face on its status, an email appeal to fund-raise $100,000 sent out today suggests that ASA is not doing as well as it says.

Here’s the email:

April 2, 2014

Dear ASA members:

To say the least, the past several months have been eventful for the Association. Since the boycott resolution passed over 600 new members have joined the ASA and we have garnered strong support from opinion pieces in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune, as well as from numerous organizations and individuals in the US and the world. Moreover, based on the large number of excellent submissions, the 2014 ASA Convention promises to be as big and exciting as always.

At the same time, however, the ASA has been condemned in the press and by college presidents, smeared as anti-Semitic, and threatened with lawsuits. Lawmakers have also joined in, sponsoring legislation in the US House of Representatives and in a number of state legislatures aimed at cutting funding for ASA members, including those who decide not to honor the boycott.

In this context, we ask you to stand with the ASA by making a donation.

We invite everyone who has supported the boycott as well as those who are in solidarity with the ASA, despite our political or strategic differences, to join in financially supporting our principled response to these attacks and our continued growth and impact as an association.

The ASA call for boycott is protected by the first amendment, and we have excellent, pro-bono legal help, as well as the help of ally organizations that are joining with the ASA in fighting against legislation attacking freedom of speech and freedom of association.

While the financial state of the ASA is sound and our trust fund remains stable, we need to raise more funds to defend the ASA against attacks in the media and promote the Association; to invite Israeli and Palestinian scholars to our annual meetings; and to support graduate student travel to the convention in the context of threatened cuts.

The Executive Committee has set a fund-raising target of $100,000.

Donations from allies are coming in, some for $50 and others for $5,000 and $10,000! We are planning a major online fund-raising appeal to all of those who have signed petitions, sent us letters of support, or been recommended by ally organizations. We have a lot in the works but your financial participation is critical.

To make a donation, please follow this link:

http://standwiththeasa.org/contribution/

And please share this appeal with sympathetic friends and colleagues.

Looking forward to your support and to making our next convention the most successful ever.

Sincerely,

Curtis Marez
President
American Studies Association