Newsletter Archive:.
  November 2013  

ASA National Council Votes Unanimously To Endorse Academic Boycott of Israel

Excerpt from the ASA resolution: “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 Council voted for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions as an ethical stance, a form of material and symbolic action. It represents a principle of solidarity with scholars and students deprived of their academic freedom and an aspiration to enlarge that freedom for all, including Palestinians.

 We believe that the ASA’s endorsement of a boycott is warranted given U.S. military and other support for Israel; Israel’s violation of international law and UN resolutions; the documented impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian scholars and students; the extent to which Israeli institutions of higher education are a party to state policies that violate human rights; and the support of such a resolution by many members of the ASA. What Does the Academic Boycott Mean for the ASA

 Our resolution understands boycott as limited to a refusal on the part of the Association in its official capacities to enter into formal collaborations with Israeli academic institutions, or with scholars who are expressly serving as representatives or ambassadors of those institutions, or on behalf of the Israeli government, until Israel ceases to violate human rights and international law.

 The resolution does not apply to individual Israeli scholars engaged in ordinary forms of academic exchange, including conference presentations, public lectures at campuses, or collaboration on research and publication. The Council also recognizes that individual members will act according to their convictions on these complex matters.


Hebrew University Oral History Conference Dealt Two Significant Blows

A Hebrew University oral history conference has been dealt a double blow with the cancellation of their two international keynote speakers: Alessandro Portelli (Italy) and Mary M. Clark (USA).  The university’s claim to be hosting the “first international oral history conference” is even less true now.


David Lloyd: The taboo on boycotting Israel has been broken

Despite years of lawfare in which pro-Israel lobbies and pressure groups have tried to shut down any criticism of Israel and refused to debate the facts, those who spoke at this meeting felt free to voice their opinions and their experiences without fear of harassment or recrimination.

Activists: Israeli Occupation, Colonization and Apartheid no Model for Catalonia

We are extremely worried that these government figures are presenting Israel as a “model” and a “reference for Catalonia. Equally worrisome is that they are using agreements between universities and research associations, among others, as a tool intended to forge an alliance with Israel.


PACBI Editorial

Historic Decision: American Studies Association National Council Unanimously Endorses BDS

PACBI salutes the American Studies Association (ASA) National Council in the United States for its principled support for the cause of justice in Palestine by unanimously endorsing a resolution calling for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions on December 4, 2013.  By doing so, the ASA National Council sends a message that it stands in full solidarity with the world-wide BDS movement initiated and led by Palestinian civil society.

 This historic decision comes after a similar decision by the Association of Asian American Studies and a number of important student council votes in support of divestment from companies involved in Israel's occupation, accentuating an already visible trend of growing support for BDS in the US.  This great accomplishment led by conscientious scholars in the ASA is further evidence of a real, significant shift in public opinion on US campuses, in particular, in support of Palestinian rights under international law and BDS as the most effective and morally consistent means to achieve those rights.

 Palestinian academics, students and society at large deeply appreciate and are inspired by this most effective expression of international solidarity that reminds us of similar initiatives taken by academics and academic associations worldwide in the 1980s in support of the academic boycott of South Africa under apartheid.

 PACBI wishes to acknowledge, with gratitude, the determined efforts of all the academics who diligently and strategically worked on and those who endorsed this unprecedented resolution. Considering the prevailing climate of intimidation in the US academy when it comes to voicing the slightest criticism of Israel’s violations of international law, it indeed takes courage to advocate for the academic boycott and to demand that the rights of those who support the BDS movement should be protected.


Steven Salaita: Academic boycott of Israel is “right and ethical” 

The mission of the academic boycott is “rigorous and ethical, perfectly concordant to comparable boycotts that earned widespread support in the U.S.”



Ben White: Israel asks British gov’t to pressure universities to fight BDS

Israeli Minister Yaakov Peri slammed the academic boycott campaign and urged British Minister for Universities and Science "to try and put some more influence” to fight BDS on campuses.

Noura Erekat: Academic boycott and the Ethic of Legitimate Dissent

BDS opponents seem to miss or choose to ignore that once space becomes available to speak against the orthodoxy of US support for Israel, there is a groundswell of support for Palestinian liberation.

November 2013
  Risala in Arabic means mission, message or letter