NEW YORK – Opposition mounted against the American Studies Association this
week as over three dozen American universities publicly rejected the
organization’s boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, Duke, Stanford, Harvard, Brown, the
University of Chicago, New York University and Washington University in St.
Louis, among others, have all condemned the boycott in recent days, distancing
themselves from the organization.
The ASA is a group of loosely
affiliated university departments and individual professors devoted to the study
of the United States. The group voted on December 4 to protest Israeli
universities, as well as some Israeli cultural institutions.
executive committee of the Association of American Universities, which
represents 62 schools across the US and Canada, has rejected the
Congressman Eliot Engel (D-New York), ranking member of the
House Foreign Affairs Committee, sent a letter to ASA president Curtis Marez on
Monday with State Department’s yearly Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
attached for a litany of nations that fail to respect academic freedom or the
rights of their citizens.
“Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
himself made clear that his government does not support boycotts of the
institutions that the ASA is now targeting,” Engel wrote.
“Israel is the
first country formally subject to a boycott by the ASA ,” he continued, “which
curiously has chosen to stay silent on China’s suppression of independent
academic voices critical of the Communist Party, the Venezuelan government’s
retaliation against opposition-oriented universities or Zimbabwe’s denial of
foreign academics from countries critical of Robert Mugabe’s dictatorial
government from assuming academic residencies at the University of Zimbabwe.”