I previously sent an email to President of Princeton regarding academic boycott of Israel and specifically inquired as to whether Princeton would drop its Institutional Membership in the American Studies Association so long as ASA imposes an academic boycott on Israeli academic institutions and scholars.  Both Penn State Harrisburg and Brandeis have dropped their Institutional Memberships.  The Association of American Universities has come out with a strongly worded denunciation of the academic boycott oof Israel.

I just received the following statement from Princeton’s press spokesman on behalf of President Christopher L. Eisgruber:

Thanks for your email to President Eisgruber about the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israel. In correspondence with Princeton alumni who have asked about the boycott, President Eisgruber has said,

I share your dismay at the American Studies Association’s misguided boycott. Academic boycotts are almost always bad policy–scholarly engagement helps to sustain and build liberal democratic values. For that reason, among others, I believe that Princeton should continue to work constructively with scholars and institutions throughout the world, whether one admires or dislikes the government under which they operate. And, whatever one thinks of boycotts in general, to single out Israel alone is indefensible.

My personal support for scholarly engagement with Israel is enthusiastic and unequivocal. Indeed, my latest article (currently in page proofs) emerges from a conference in Jerusalem sponsored by the Israel Democracy Institute, and it will appear in a volume published by that organization.

That said, I do not intend to denounce the ASA, make it unwelcome on campus, or inhibit the ability of faculty members to affiliate with it. My hope is that the ASA’s more thoughtful and reasonable members will eventually bring the organization to its senses–here, too, engagement may be better than a boycott. That is for individual faculty members to decide. In any event, I look forward to continued interaction with the wonderful scholars and universities in Israel.

Please feel free to use this statement and attribute it to President Eisgruber.


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