Anti-BDS summit at UN Headquarters, May 2016.
(photo credit: SHAHAR AZRAN)
The American Historical Association, the largest organization of historians in the US, rejected a petition last week that called for an investigation of alleged violations of academic freedom in Israel.
According to the History News Network website, the petition was filed on behalf of the Historians Against the War at the association’s annual meeting in Denver, Colorado, on January 5-8.
The petition called on the association’s governing council to “investigate the charges that academic freedom is widely violated in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.”
James Grossman, executive director of the AHA, told The Jerusalem Post that the council “chose to take no action” on the petition.
During their annual meeting, the council issued the following statement: “The AHA upholds the rights of students, faculty and other historians to speak freely and to engage in nonviolent political action expressing diverse perspectives on historical or contemporary issues. We condemn all efforts to intimidate those expressing their views. Specifically, we condemn in the strongest terms the creation, maintenance and dissemination of blacklists and watch lists – through media (social and otherwise) – which identify specific individuals in ways that could lead to harassment and intimidation.”
The statement is similar to a second petition filed by the Historians Against the War that called on the AHA to condemn blacklists publicizing the names of people who support Palestinian rights. However, the declaration issued by the council calls for the “right to nonviolent political action” and makes no mention of Israel or Palestinians.
This is the third consecutive year the AHA has blocked anti-Israel measures.
Last year the association rejected a resolution presented at its annual meeting by HAW that called for condemning Israel for suppressing “the right to education in the occupied Palestinian territories.”
The resolution was rejected by a vote of 111 to 50.