Image 01 Image 03

Maybe it’s time to reconsider the tax-exempt status of academic boycotters

Maybe it’s time to reconsider the tax-exempt status of academic boycotters

The American Studies Association can boycott Israel all it wants, but it should do so on its own dime

I don’t use the word “evil” very often here, but it certainly would be justified as to the Boycott Divestment Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel and BDS supporters in academia.

See the BDS Tag for my prior writings on the BDS movement for background.

Now that the National Council of the American Studies Association has endorsed an academic boycott of Israel, the ASA has joined the Jihad against Israel.

The ASA National Council’s justifications are flimsy and historically incorrect and biased.

They cite the separation “wall” (actually mostly a fence, only a wall in certain places) as a justification without noting that the “wall” was build only after a year of unrelenting Palestinian suicide bombings at cafes, reception halls, buses, and even at Hebrew University. Several hundred Israelis civilians died in these suicide bombings. The “wall” put an end to that.

So too did checkpoints, where even to this day sophisticated weapons for use against Israel are stopped.

(added) They cite the ruling by the U.N. International Court of Justice that the “wall” is illegal under international law. But that was a mere “advisory opinion,” with no binding effect, made at the request of the U.N. General Assembly. That advisory opinion is contested on the merits, and is tainted because it simply ratified pre-existing U.N. General Assembly anti-Israel policy.

They cite the Israeli occupation of “Palestine.” Note that they do not say “the West Bank.” That gives away their game, which is the destruction of Israel. (Note, historical and legal reality is that there is no illegal occupation even of the West Bank.)

They cite the 2008 Israeli attack on Gaza without noting that it came only after Hamas and its affiliates, all of whom are committed to the destruction of Israel, fired several thousand missiles at Israeli civilians.

They cite interference in Palestinian academic and eduational freedom, without noting the thriving anti-Israel universities under Palestinian control such as Birzeit University and Al Quds University. How much academic freedom is there at those universities for those who are not anti-Israel, or for Jews?

There also is no mention of Israeli attempts to increase participation of non-Jewish Israelis in higher education, and that non-Jews have excelled at Israeli universities.

They do not demand a boycott of universities in Islamic countries that discriminate against Jews and Christians, women, and gays. They do not demand a boycott of Turkish universities even though Turkey illegally occupies part of Cyprus and represses Kurdish national aspirations. We could go on and on. They single out only the Jewish-run universities and only Israel.

I have long argued against boycotts in general. Maybe it’s time to rethink that unilateral disarmament.

The Arab economic boycott of Israel dates back to the creation of Israel.  Anti-boycott laws were passed in the U.S., although they only apply to cooperation in the official Arab boycott, not BDS. Maybe it’s time to change that, and to deny tax exempt status to organizations which join the BDS boycott.  Much as with the anti-boycott legislation on the books, it would not punish or restrict ideas or speech, but acts.

The ASA is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.  The anti-Israel boycott arguably exceeds ASA’s legal purpose used to obtain that tax exempt status:

The object of the association shall be the promotion of the study of American culture through the encouragement of research, teaching, publication, the strengthening of relations among persons and institutions in this country and abroad devoted to such studies, and the broadening of knowledge among the general public about American culture in all its diversity and complexity.

At a time when support among Americans for Israel is at all time highs, the people of this country have the right not to subsidize the boycott of Israel through tax preferences. Tax exempt organizations can boycott Israel all they want, but they should have to do so on their own dime.

Maybe it’s time to give academic boycotters a taste of their own medicine, as unfortunate as such a result would be. They brought the war against Israel into their organizations, and should live with the consequence.

[Note – some wordings changes were made shortly after publication.]


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.



Were the caliphate ever to come to pass, theirs would be amongst the first heads lopped off.

Why isn’t the Anti-Defamation League all over this?

Aucturian, the ADL may take it up, but one can’t wait for them to respond. The ADL has become ever more political, and academia is a major part of the liberal/democrat establishment. ADL thrives off of this world and sometimes chooses not to take a cause for fear that they would ruffle the wrong feathers. Google ADL and Northeastern (try to find the Jewish Advocate article).

My wife, an escaped academic, said if she were still at a university she would have spoken directly with the American studies department for assurance that the department opposes the boycott. I suggest that anyone–student, faculty, or staff–affiliated with a university could inquire with his/her school’s American studies department and write a letter or op-ed to the school paper. Depending on the American studies department’s answer (or lack of an answer), you can openly commend the department for opposing bigotry or you can shame them for joining the bigotry. At least you can put the American studies faculty on the spot so they have to address it.

Boycott the boycotters, and let them know about it.

“Science is settled” groupthink now infects American Studies.

Please, before American Studies mission creep into Middle East Studies causes tenure to creep into diplomatic immunity and these activist flakes start refusing to pay their parking tickets, let’s have a little Israeli-peer-reviewed journal action going on, shall we?

Before the ASA starts composing obnoxious little songs and choreographing dorky accompanying dance moves, (which is how I now picture their meetings), is it too much to ask that they subject their views (actions at this point) to some Israeli peer review?

Here, from today’s news, maybe they can use this as supporting evidence:

“NYC Politician Blames ‘Jewish Success’ for ‘Knock-Out’ Attacks”

There you go. This whole disgrace is nothing more than an “Higher Education Knock-Out Game,” so use this to back up your claims, ASA, you “scholars.”

LukeHandCool (who remembers writing quite a few papers in college where the evidence supporting his arguments had to be much stronger than what the ASA has offered backing up its position)

ThomasAnthonyGuerriero | December 5, 2013 at 1:23 pm

All tax exempt status should .
Thomas Anthony Guerriero

“American studies” is interdisciplinary drivel with its own departments for reasons of academic politics only. Their existence is the prof that there are too many professors in this country.
Full disclosure: 10 years ago or so I graded paper in a class on conspiracy theories offered by an American Studies department. Non of conspiracy theories discussed involved Jews.

ThomasGuerriero1 | December 5, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Tax emept status should be reviewed.
Thomas Guerriero

Tax exemptions are small potatoes.

Get the federal government OUT of higher education completely. Let the institutions who choose to employ these leftist extremists pay their own freight, then maybe they will choose more carefully.

How do we collectively support this idiocy with our tax dollars? And NPR? PBS? And how do we collectively ALLOW the likes of mouse John Bohener to remain as the GOP Squeaker?

Collectively, the non fascists of this nation are idiots. The supporters of the GOP are even dumber.