The American Studies Association infamously voted in December 2013 to endorse and honor the call for an academic boycott of Israel:

It is resolved that the American Studies Association (ASA) endorses and will honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. It is also resolved that the ASA supports the protected rights of students and scholars everywhere to engage in research and public speaking about Israel-Palestine and in support of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) issued guidelines to implement the Palestinian call to which ASA has agreed. Similar guidelines were issued by the American Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI).

The guidelines are quite sweeping, putting the lie to the claim that individuals are not boycotted; boycotting virtually every aspect of Israeli academia is a boycott of Israeli academics.

While ASA has issued talking points and explanations of how the ASA boycott will work, ASA has not disavowed the PACBI and USACBI guidelines.  Instead, ASA repeatedly deferred to PACBI and USACBI in detailing the nature and terms of the ASA boycott, something discussed in great detail in my challenge to ASA’s tax-exempt status.

One of the provisions of the PACBI and USACBI boycott guidelines prohibits participation in or interaction with Israeli academic journals:

10. Publishing in or refereeing articles for academic journals based at Israeli universities. These journals include those published by international associations but housed at Israeli universities. Efforts should be made to re-locate the editorial offices of these journals to universities outside Israel.

To me, this is one of the most chilling aspects of the academic boycott. Not quite book burning, but book suppression for sure.

I focused on this provision during my speeches recently at Ithaca College and Cornell University against the academic boycott to drive home to students just how pernicious, anti-intellectual and anti-academic this boycott is in reality.

As troubling as the boycott of Israeli academic journals is, more troubling is that much of the ASA’s financial support comes from publishers of academic journals.

According to ASA’s public filings, most of ASA’s revenue comes from “programming services,” according to tax filing information compiled by GuideStar:

ASA 2012 Revenue Data By Year

ASA 2012 Revenue Data Pie Chart

If ASA operates similarly to other small academic organizations with which I am familiar, most of the programming revenue would come from the annual meeting, including member registration fees.  A key component also would come from  advertising and exhibiting in connection with the annual meeting.

Advertising rates for ASA’s Annual Meeting Book can run in the thousands of dollars for multi-page spreads. Exhibitors pay at least $750 for a standard booth, with offers available for multiple booth combinations.

So who are these advertisers and exhibitors providing key revenue to an organization that has signed onto an international boycott which includes a boycott of Israeli academic journals?

Mostly U.S. academic publishers.

Here is the list of 2013 advertisers:

ASA Advertisers 2013 Annual Meeting

Here is the list of 2013 exhibitors:

ASA Exhibitors 2013 Annual Meeting

I wonder if these academic publishers know what they are supporting. And if they did, would they care.

(Featured Image – Jerusalem Shrine of the Book, home of Dead Sea Scrolls)