We reported yesterday how incoming American Studies Association President Lisa Duggan of NYU organized an anti-Israel conference through NYU, but didn’t want those who disagree to know about it (via Elder of Ziyon).  The Facebook post about the event since has been taken down.

It appears that secrecy is the new policy at ASA.

Earlier this month I wrote to ASA Regional Chapter Presidents asking for their position on whether the ASA academic boycott of Israel applied to Regional Chapters and their events, such as regional conventions.  This is an important issue because much of ASA’s presence — other than its Annual Meeting — takes place through the Chapters.  To understand the scope and application of the boycott, we need to know whether the Regional Chapters will follow the boycott.

My email is quoted below.  Some responded that they didn’t know but would find out and get back to me (but didn’t), others didn’t respond.

Now I know why I have been met with mostly silence.

Apparently the ASA Exceutive Committee is not happy about this inquiry, and has told the Regional Chapters not to communicate with me other than to refer me to the ASA boycott resolution itself (which, of course, I already have).  This amounts to a complete non-communication strategy.

Here is the email the ASA Executive Committee sent (emphasis added):

Dear Chapter Officers,

This is to advise you of the following query:

“I have been following the American Studies Association boycott of Israel. Can you tell me if, as a regional chapter, you are governed by
the ASA boycott resolution and guidelines? If so, will those boycott guidelines be applied to your conference and other activities? I would appreciate your prompt reply.”

We recommend that you not respond to Jacobson/Legal Insurrection, beyond referring them to the ASA resolution.

Not only do they represent some of the most vocal opposition, but any of the information you provide them in response to their hypothetical questions could be used in a lawsuit (for example the one that Shurat HaDin threatened).

Furthermore, the ASA’s boycott of Israeli academic institutions does NOT “govern” ASA regional chapters.


Mr. Jacobson has not merely been “following the American Studies Association boycott of Israel,” but was its first and most vocal
external opponents.

He orchestrated a campaign against institutional membership. Now he is harassing each of the regional chapters.

We found this Ha’aretz article. See final two paragraphs.


Netanyahu convenes ministers to discuss growing Israel economic boycott threats Knesset ministers to consider whether to launch an aggressive public campaign or operate through diplomatic channels.

See also https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/9666-israeli-ministers-discuss-using-lawyers-and-mossad-to-fight-bds


The ASA Executive Committee

The ASA email highlights the lack of clarity as to whether ASA Regional Chapters will apply the boycott.  The ASA email puts the word “govern” in quotes, but the question is whether the boycott rules will be applied at the Regional Chapter level, whether they “govern” or not.  That ASA simply plays word games highlights ASA’s attempt to obscure the breadth and scope of the boycott.

It’s interesting that the ASA Executive Committee considers a respectful inquiry on a factual matter as to Regional Chapter positions on the boycott to be “harassing.”  A better example of harassment would be the anti-Israel boycott itself, which demonizes and punishes the most academically free country in the Middle East based on false accusations of Apartheid and discrimination.

From the beginning of their boycott efforts, ASA leadership has sought to portray ASA as a victim based on nothing more than criticism of its position, as I wrote in my post Anti-Israel academic boycotters demand Freedom From Criticism.

In reality, ASA is the victimizer, not the victim.  ASA has victimized not only Israeli academics but the academic community at large, including students, through an academic boycott that has been condemned by almost 250 university presidents and major academic groups.


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