Brandeis condemns American Studies Association's boycott

A statement from Brandeis University President Fred Lawrence:

Brandeis University condemns the American Studies Association’s (ASA) boycott of institutions of higher education in Israel. I am proud that Brandeis was one of the very first institutions in the world to withdraw as an institutional member of the ASA, and I urge other institutions to follow our lead and disassociate from the ASA.

The boycott defies the explicit opposition of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), founded nearly a century ago to protect academic freedom; no organization has devoted itself more durably to the defense of such rights than the AAUP. The boycott also defies the stance of the Executive Committee of the Association of American Universities, which has denounced the ASA’s attempt to delegitimize Israeli institutions of higher learning. Remarkably enough, the boycott even defies the position of the president of the Palestine Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, who has criticized such boycotts of Israeli institutions. I find disturbing the uniqueness of the target of the ASA decision, with Israel representing the only nation on the planet whose universities are thereby stigmatized. The boycott even defies common sense; what Israeli universities can do that would end the policies that the ASA has condemned is hard to imagine. As former Harvard president Lawrence Summers has said, boycotts targeted solely at Israel are, if not anti-Semitic in intent, anti-Semitic in effect.

Brandeis University values its many relationships with Israeli academic institutions. We will not allow the ASA’s action to undermine those relationships or the principle of academic freedom.

Categories: General, Humanities and Social Sciences, International Affairs

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