WASHINGTON  — The American Studies Association leadership endorsed a boycott of Israeli universities, but also sought the approval of the body’s 5,000 members.

The decision posted Wednesday follows a contentious debate at the group’s annual meeting last month and 10 days of deliberations that were supposed to last a morning. The boycott resolution was approved unanimously by the 20-member national council.

“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,” the council announcement said.

The council, however, is seeking the endorsement of the group’s entire membership.

“The ASA is a large organization that represents divergent opinions,” the announcement said. “Anticipating strong and potentially divided feelings on this question, the Council unanimously decided to ask ASA members to endorse the resolution by a vote.”

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