Native American Studies association joins academic boycott of Israel
By HERB KEINON
North American academic group latest to declare support for boycott of Israeli institutions.
Another small North American academic association – the Native American and
Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) – decided this week to boycott Israeli
Ohio State English Prof. Chadwick Allen,
president of the association and coordinator of American Indian studies at the
university, wrote on the association’s website that the move followed a “member-
generated” petition asking that the group “formally support the boycott of
Israeli academic and cultural Institutions that was initiated by the Palestinian
Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.”
officials said the association is believed to only have “a few hundred” members.
They said this boycott call, like the one taken earlier this week by the
American Studies Association (ASA), needed to be put in proportion.
one of America’s 4,000 colleges and universities have decided to boycott Israel,
the official said, and only “four or five” student government bodies have called
on their universities to do so. Both NAISA and ASA have a left-wing, even
radical bent, the officials said.
NAISA’s Allen wrote that over the
course of several months the organization’s council reached a consensus to
support the boycott, and wrote their own declaration of support for
The document reads that the NAISA Council “protests the infringement
of the academic freedom of indigenous Palestinian academics and intellectuals in
the Occupied Territories and Israel who are denied fundamental freedoms of
movement, expression and assembly, which we uphold.”
“As the elected
council of an international community of indigenous and allied non-indigenous
scholars, students and public intellectuals who have studied and resisted the
colonization and domination of indigenous lands via settler state structures
throughout the world, we strongly protest the illegal occupation of Palestinian
lands and the legal structures of the Israeli state that systematically
discriminate against Palestinians and other indigenous peoples,” the statement
The statement said the boycott is directed “specifically at
the Israeli state, not at Israeli individuals. The NAISA Council encourages
NAISA members to boycott Israeli academic institutions because they are
imbricated [overlapping] with the Israeli state, and we wish to place pressure
on that state to change its policies.”
The statement was written on
Sunday. On Monday, the ASA announced it was joining the boycott.
move elicited a strong statement from Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, who
called it “shameful” and a “travesty,” and clearly hinted that it constituted
anti-Semitism in its singling out of the Jewish state.
group, the Association for Asian American Studies, adopted the boycott in
The leadership of the much larger and more influential American
Association of University Professors wrote an open letter earlier this month
saying it was disappointed by the ASA decision and that it rejected
One Israeli official said Wednesday that under the principles
of these boycotts, “it would have been more than justified to boycott US
academics as a response to American occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.
Would these people have justified such a boycott of the US?” he
The official added that this is “another display of double
standards by boycotters who turn their heads and pretend not to see the
Palestinian part in prolonging the situation, or – for that matter – the
decade-long occupation of northern Cyprus by Turkey, or the western Sahara by
In a related development, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
spoke Wednesday with his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte, who said he rejects any
boycott of Israel.
The phone call came following the Dutch water giant
Vitens’s decision last week to stop all cooperation with Mekorot, Israel’s
national water company, because of political reasons.
Rutte said the
Dutch government continues to cooperate with Mekorot on various projects, and
cited his Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, who said recently that “the Dutch
government emphasizes that it opposes any boycott of Israeli companies or