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American Studies Association Tag

In December 2013, the American Studies Association (ASA) became the first, and so far the only, major American academic association to adopt the academic boycott of Israel, part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). As I have documented, the BDS movement is a continuation of the anti-Jewish boycotts of the 1920s and 1930s in the then British Mandate for Palestine, the Arab League boycott of Jewish businesses (even prior to Israel's independence) and later of Israel, and the gross antisemitic activism at the 2001 Tehran and Durban conferences which launched boycotts in the current form.

In December 2013, the American Studies Associations passed an academic boycott of Israel, part of the international Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The ASA boycott, which is the subject of ongoing litigation, was undertaken by anti-Israel faculty who methodically took over key ASA committees and National Council. Though only about 20% of the ASA membership voted for the boycott, that was enough given low participation rates in the voting.

The academic boycott of Israel, part of the broader Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, has been endorsed by approximately 1400 university and college faculty members in the U.S. alone. So far, the only major academic association to endorse the academic boycott was the American Studies Association (December 2013), though there have been failed attempts at the American Anthropological Association, the Modern Language Association, the American Historical Association and other major organizations.

The American Studies Association (ASA) was the first, and so far the only, major American academic association to adopt the academic boycott of Israel, part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) call to isolate and cut ties with Israel and Israelis. The fallout from the December 2013 ASA resolution was swift. The ASA action, which is considered a violation of academic freedom by the American Association of University Professors, was condemned by over 250 university presidents and numerous university associations.

The American Studies Association (ASA) adopted the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) academic boycott of Israel in December 2013. The academic boycott, which is considered a violation of academic freedom by the American Association of University Professors, was condemned by over 250 university presidents and numerous university associations.

The American Studies Association (ASA) passed an academic boycott of Israel in December 2013, along guidelines of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The ASA leadership backed the resolution, which was sent to the membership for a vote. Turnout for the online vote was low, but a majority of those voting voted in favor. Although the much smaller Association for Asian American Studies had passed the boycott the previous April, the ASA was the first major American faculty association to pass the boycott.

There is a mini-firestorm that has erupted slowly over the appointment of Professor N. Bruce Duthu to be Dean of the Faculty at Dartmouth College. The first flames appeared in late March 2017 at the Dartblog, run by Dartmouth alums. After noting Duthu's alleged lack of academic and professional qualifications for such a position, Joseph Asch '79 wrote:
Finally, and of greatest concern, is the man’s politics. He signed the American Studies Association petition urging the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) directed at Israeli universities.... Additionally he is listed as an author of the Declaration of Support for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions by the Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association....

The American Studies Association (ASA), which is run by anti-Israel activists from academia, was the first (and only) significant-sized American faculty association to adopt the academic boycott of Israel. A few very small groups also have adopted the boycott, but attempts to reach larger organizations, such as the Modern Language Association, American Anthropological Association and American Historical Association, have failed. Legal Insurrection was at the forefront of covering ASA's December 2013 vote and the reaction, including the rejection of the boycott by over 250 university presidents and numerous major university organizations.

A war has been declared on Israel on campus by faculty and students supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. The rallying cry is to blacklist those acting on behalf of Israeli academic institutions or participating in "normalization" events, such as musical and cultural events. On the faculty academic front, we have seen groups such as the American Studies Association and some smaller groups blacklist Israeli academics representing their institutions, as part of a formal academic boycott. That boycott has been declared by the American Association of University Professors to be a violation of academic freedom. There also are many reports from Israeli academics of a silent boycott, in which individual U.S. professors refuse to interact with individual Israeli scholars and students, resulting in denied access to journals for publication and peer reviews. The claim by many pro-BDS faculty members that BDS does not target individuals is an outright lie.

The Turkish purge of academia, which has been ongoing long before the recent failed coup, has accelerated since the coup attempt. Over 1500 university Deans were dismissed, travel for faculty restricted, and faculty abroad ordered home. On Saturday, July 23, 2016, President Erdogan expanded the purge, as we reported earlier. The Christian Science Monitor further reports:
President Tayyip Erdogan tightened his grip on Turkey on Saturday, ordering the closure of thousands of private schools, charities and other institutions in his first decree since imposing a state of emergency after the failed military coup....

Yesterday I asked the question, in light of the academic purge in Turkey, Will anti-Israel academic boycotters now also boycott Turkish universities? As noted in that post, over 250 university presidents and major university associations have condemned the academic boycott of Israel. In particular, the December 2013 adoption of the academic boycott of Israel by the American Studies Association was condemned as violation of academic freedom. Read the dozens and dozens of statements describing how the ASA has violated academic freedom here.

It was one of the most notorious statements of the academic boycott movement against Israel. Shortly after the American Studies Association adopted the academic boycott of Israel in December 2013, and a firestorm of condemnation by University Presidents and associations erupted, then ASA President Curtis Marez justified singling out Israel because "one has to start somewhere":
The American Studies Association has never before called for an academic boycott of any nation’s universities, said Curtis Marez, the group’s president and an associate professor of ethnic studies at the University of California, San Diego. He did not dispute that many nations, including many of Israel’s neighbors, are generally judged to have human rights records that are worse than Israel’s, or comparable, but he said, “one has to start somewhere.”
In that single phrase, "one has to start somewhere," was the hypocrisy and essential anti-Semitism of the BDS academic boycott movement laid bare.

Faculty associations have been a focus of anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activity. Unlike at universities, where there are counter-balancing constituencies, such associations can be hijacked by relatively small percentages of the membership, who take over committees and national councils. This allows the agenda to turn away fein the academic purposes of the organization, and instead, to turn the organizations into anti-Israel activist platforms. We have seen that play out at the American Studies Association and some smaller associations. The American Anthropological Association just finished membership voting on a BDS resolution, but the results have not been announced. The faculty association warfare on Israel is getting very personal:

The American Studies Association (ASA) was the first significant-sized faculty association to implement the academic boycott of Israel. A lawsuit just filed by several distinguished members challenges the ASA boycott, seeks damages against individual officers and National Council members who advanced the boycott, as well as injunctive relief, arguing that ASA exceeded its purpose defined under its constitution and bylaws. A copy of the Complaint is embedded at the end of this post. The lawsuit could serve as a model for litigation against other faculty organizations which have been hijacked by anti-Israel activists.

Once again, Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, is mired in controversy regarding anti-Israel activities on campus involving Vassar faculty. The controversy surrounds the February 3, 2016, appearance of Rutgers Associate Professor Jasbir Puar at the invitation of several Vassar departments, including Jewish Studies. At the outset of the appearance, according to the Vassar alumni/parent/friends group Fairness to Israel (FTI), a request was made by the Vassar professor introducing the speaker not to record the event, although it was acknowledged that it was legal to do so:
Before I give my brief remarks, I would like to request that you silence your devices you brought with you so as not to disrupt the conversation with Professor Puar is conducting with us today. I would also like to request on her behalf and on behalf of the rest of the assembly that you refrain from recording this evening’s proceedings, in the spirit of congeniality and mutual respect, though it is not against the law, to record someone vocation professional labor without informing them, it is quite unseemly and violates the modest contract of trust essential to the exchange of ideas.
Requesting non-recording of an open, public event on the pretext that non-recording is "essential to the exchange of ideas" is odd.

I really had expected the worst regarding the anti-Israel resolution being voted on at the Business Meeting taking place at the American Historical Association's Annual Meeting in Atlanta. For full background and details, see our prior post, American Historical Association to Consider Anti-Israel Resolution. The Times of Israel also had an extensive write-up today, in which I was extensively quoted. If the Resolution had passed the Business Meeting, it likely would have gone to a full membership vote. I thought the Resolution had a chance because, as I was quoted in The Times of Israel:
“The way these business meetings go is most people don’t show up,” Jacobson said. “Most don’t even go to the annual meeting, and most who do go to the annual meeting don’t go to the business meeting. It comes on the last day, late in the afternoon, when a lot of people have already left town. So if you have an organized group of a couple of hundred people, they may be able to get this through the business meeting because they are the ones most motivated to show up.”
The vote just took place, and the Resolution was soundly defeated, 51 for, 111 against.

We wrote previously about the scheduled anti-Israel resolutions at the seasonal faculty association meetings in 2015-2016. We are now in the midst of this season, with the American Historical Association (AHA) annual meeting in Atlanta this week. Once again, we see an attempt to politicize a reputable scholarly organization by a small group of radicals with an anti-Israel agenda. On the table at the AHA Business Meeting on Saturday, January 9, 2016, is a resolution condemning Israel's alleged mistreatment of Palestinians in education. Under the AHA Constitution, if the resolution passes the Business Meeting, it goes to the AHA Council for approval, non-concurrence or veto. If the Council votes not to concur, it goes to a full membership vote.[*] Unlike resolutions at the American Studies Association in 2013 (which passed) and currently at the American Anthropological Association (pending a membership vote), the AHA resolution does not explicitly call on the AHA to adopt the academic boycott of Israel pushed by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Rather, the AHA resolution is similar to the resolution which previously failed to pass a membership vote at the Moddern Language Association in 2014, denouncing Israel for allegedly violating the academic freedom of Palestinians. But the AHA resolution is just as much a part of the BDS agenda, and would set the stage in later years for a full BDS resolution at AHA. Where BDS supporters think they can pass a full academic boycott they do; where they think they can't, they try interim steps. I analyze the AHA resolution below.

I was a guest last night on the Mark Levin Show, the 4th highest rated talk show in the country with over 7 million weekly listeners, regarding our post, ALERT: Faculty Association anti-Israel Boycott season has started. This is the second time I have discussed the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on Mark's show. This time I discussed not just the problem, but a solution. First, the background:
WAJ: "A combination of left-wing and Islamist-type professors have done at the campus level something which really is unbelievable. They've singled out Israel in their faculty associations, and they are trying, slowly but surely, to get more and more faculty groups to endorse the boycott of Israel, the complete academic boycott of Israel.... This season they're really coming up to a big busy season. The National Women's Studies Association is voting, as we speak, for the next 10 days, the membership is voting on the full boycott of Israel. How insane is that, of all the problems with ISIS attacking in Paris, with all of the problems of women being abused in the Middle East, the Women's Studies Association is singling out Israel....