Region | Palestinian Territories

US researchers body votes to boycott Israel

It is the second time a US academic organisation has voted to boycott Israeli universities

  • AFP
  • Published: 13:09 December 17, 2013
  • Gulf News

New York: An association of more than 5,000 US teachers and researchers voted to boycott the Israeli regime.

Members of the American Studies Association, the largest group devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history, voted on Sunday by two-thirds to endorse the boycott.

Various organisations across the world campaign for academic and cultural boycotts of the Israelis to protest against their more than 40-year occupation of Palestinian territory.

But it is only the second time a US academic organisation has voted to boycott Israeli universities. The Association for Asian American Studies endorsed a boycott in April.

“The resolution is in solidarity with scholars and students deprived of their academic freedom and it aspires to enlarge that freedom for all, including Palestinians,” the ASA announced.

But World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said the vote “shows the Orwellian anti-Semitism and moral bankruptcy of the American Studies Association”.

He criticised the move as unfair and biased in the wider context of the Middle East.

“The American Studies Association singles out the Jewish state, the one Middle Eastern country that shares American values, for opprobrium? No wonder many Americans dismiss the academy as deeply biased and disconnected with reality,” Lauder said.

The far larger American Association of University Professors, which has more than 48,000 members, opposes a boycott of the Israelis.

The World Jewish Congress is the international organisation representing Jewish communities in 100 countries.

Set up in 1951, the American Studies Association is the oldest and largest association in the US devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history.

According to its website, it has 5,000 individual members along with 2,200 library and other institutional subscribers.

Earlier this year, renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking pulled out of a June conference hosted by Israel’s President Shimon Peres on the grounds of an academic boycott.

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