Thursday, January 2, 2014

ASA Vote to Boycott Israel

The American Studies Association (ASA) is the nation's oldest organization involved in the interdisciplinary study of US culture and history. Members represent many academic disciplines. They include history, literature, religion, art, architecture, philosophy, music, science, ethnic studies, anthropology, sociology, political science, education, and gender studies among others. On December 16, ASA headlined "ASA Members Vote to Endorse Academic Boycott of Israel." They did so decisively. Over 66% of members support doing so. Less than 31% opposed. Another 3.4% abstained. Why?
Whereas the United States plays a significant role in enabling the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the expansion of illegal settlements and the Wall in violation of international law, as well as in supporting the systematic discrimination against Palestinians, which has had documented devastating impact on the overall well-being, the exercise of political and human rights, the freedom of movement, and the educational opportunities of Palestinians;
There is certainly a level of American oppression implicitly on the Palestinian people, but to call the situation anything but exceptionally complex wouldn't do justice to the areas plight. ASA called its endorsement justified for the following reasons:

  • US military and other support for Israel;

  • Israel's systematic violation of international laws and UN resolutions;

  • the harsh impact of its longstanding occupation;

  • "the extent to which Israeli institutions of higher education are a party to state policies that violate human rights," and

  • strong ASA member support.
The symbolic move has lead to the denouncement by pro-Jewish Universities in the US. 91 have rejected the ASA stance.

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