|Photo by: Yonah Jeremy Bob|
NGO threatens to sue US academic group which boycotts Israel
By YONAH JEREMY BOB
The American Studies Association announced in December that it was boycotting Israel and its universities.
In the wake of the American Studies Association’s December- announced boycott of
Israel and Israeli universities, Shurat Hadin is considering suing the ASA for
Shurat Hadin – Israel Law Center on Thursday
sent a letter to the ASA threatening to sue initiate a lawsuit on behalf of
various Israeli academics, arguing that the ASA boycott violates international,
federal and state laws.
The distributed letter mentioned a number of New
York state laws against discrimination that make it unlawful discrimination “for
any person to boycott or blacklist, or to refuse to buy from, sell to or trade
with, or otherwise discriminate against any person, because of the race, creed,
color, national origin.”
It also mentions Article 1.1 of the
international Anti-Racism Convention, which was ratified by the US, as
prohibiting discrimination of the kind that it accuses ASA of
The NGO then wrote that according to the Anti-Defamation
League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
campaign, which the ASA has joined, is at its core not merely anti-Israel, but
Further, Shurat Hadin made the case that BDS is not
“protected free speech,” as it is “action” and not mere speech, adding that BDS
infringes on the free speech of other academics.
The NGO said that “as of
January 8, 2013, over 100 college presidents have gone on record as opposing the
ASA boycott and at least five universities have withdrawn or plan to withdraw as
institutional members of the association.”
Shurat Hadin also cited
several other statutes that it said the ASA had violated.
Darshan-Leitner, director of Shurat Hadin, said, “It is quite simple, the law in
the United States prohibits discrimination on the basis of any protected
characteristic, faith, ethnicity, sexuality or disability.”
continued, “The ASA boycott which targets Israelis because they are Israelis and
Jews is illegal. We commend those professors and academic institutions who have
distanced themselves from this blinkered and hateful boycott.”
did not give a deadline for the ASA to cancel its boycott, but said that failure
to do so would lead to legal action without further notice.
2013, Shrurat Hadin launched similar litigation in Australia against academic
Jake Lynch of Sydney University.
Lynch is fighting the case, which had
hearings starting in the end of November 2013, and has said he was sued because
BDS works and that the point of BDS is not discrimination, but to “contribute to
prospects for sustainable peace, peace with justice, for Israelis and