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Boycott of Israeli academic journals indirectly aided by U.S. academic publishers

Boycott of Israeli academic journals indirectly aided by U.S. academic publishers

U.S. academic publishers are key funders of the American Studies Association

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)


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TrooperJohnSmith | March 24, 2014 at 1:32 am

One thing about the antisemitic crowd, they learn from their past mistakes. No longer are they draped in white robes with eye holes, burning crosses and proclaiming that their are God-fearing, patriotic enemies of the Jews. No longer do they wear their brown shirts and march along to martial music as they look for defenseless Jews and Jewish-owned businesses. No longer do they put up barriers to their clubs, organizations or political parties. No, they have cleaned up, got educated and donned the mantle of righteous anger over Israeli treatment of a group that, until they happened to wind up inside the borders of the only democracy in the middle-east, no one gave two sh!ts about them.

Ask BDS where they were when King Hussein killed hundreds of the Palestinians in 1970? Where was BDS when after 1948, Egypt made sure that the Palestinians stayed in their designated areas kept out of Egypt proper? Oh, has anyone mentioned that before 1967, Jordan and Egypt were opposed to a Palestinian state or even giving them Jordanian or Egyptian citizenship?

I didn’t think so.

Typical Lefties. If you don’t have a real cause, invent something that can pass for one.

stevewhitemd | March 24, 2014 at 7:42 am

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

Perhaps we should find out.

MouseTheLuckyDog | March 24, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Sorry professor to disagree with you on a major point.
We we should boycott Israeli journals, because
[b] we should boycott ALL academic journals [/b].

Consider the nature of academic journals. 99% of the purchases are done by university libraries or academics ( to a much lesser extent). The academics pay for it out of their grant money. The university libraries pay for it out of money given to them from grants, being part of the universities overhead.

The (academic) editors of academic journals, do it for free, for the prestige. The reviewers, also academic, do it for free, for the prestige. The authors actually pay to have their works published, because of “publish or perish”, It’s paid for by their grants.

So we see that nowadays, academic journals mostly just funnel grant money, mostly from the government, to the publishers. There was a time when they served an important purpose, but now the government would be better cutting grants and using the money saved to finance some sort of electronic publishing house for academic journals.

For more information googe, “Boycott Elvesier”.