Two-thirds of the 1,252 members who voted
approved the boycott, according to an ASA announcement Monday, a day
after the deadline for voting. At the time of the vote, there were 3,853 eligible voters, meaning one-third of the membership participated.
“During the open discussion at the recent
convention, members asked us to draft a resolution that was relevant to
the ASA in particular and so the Council’s final resolution acknowledged
that the US plays a significant role in enabling the Israeli occupation
of Palestine.”In its announcement, the ASA said it would
invite Israeli and Palestinian academics to its 2014 national meeting in
Los Angeles. The ASA describes itself as “devoted to the
interdisciplinary study of American culture and history.”
Obviously the organization isn’t to strong on the history part of their study, otherwise they would realize that the reason there is no resolution to the conflict is the Palestinians haven’t moved a finger toward peace. While every Prime Minister after Yitchak Rabin has support a two state solution, not one Palestinian leader including President Abbas has recognized Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State.
“One has to start somewhere,” he said according to a New York Times report, adding that the US has “a particular responsibility to answer the call for boycott because it is the largest supplier of military aid to the state of Israel.” In addition, Marez noted, Palestinian civil groups had asked the ASA for the boycott, whereas no similar requests had been made by similar groups in other countries.
It is not a coincidence that these academics are singling out the world’s only Jewish-majority country for boycott. This is not to say that Professor Marez and his colleagues are personally anti-Semitic but the action certainly is based in hatred. Larry Summers, former Obama economic adviser and a past president of Harvard University, told Charlie Rose that he considers boycotts of Israel “anti-Semitic in their effect if not necessarily in their intent.”
Summers went on: “If there was an academic boycott against a whole set of countries that stunted their populations in some way, I would oppose that because I think academic boycotts are abhorrent, but the choice of only Israel at a moment when Israel faces this kind of existential threat, I think, takes how wrong this is to a different level.
That Israel was chosen for boycott despite the facts on the ground about what is happening in the disputed territories and what is happening in the rest of the Middle East hints to the fact that there is more to this decision than any action of Israel. Summers might say it wasn’t meant to be anti-Semitic, I say it doesn’t matter. It is the classic scapegoating of the Jewish Community.
In a rare recognition of its duty to the Jewish Community, The Anti-Defamation League called the vote to endorse the boycott “manifestly unjust.”
“This shameful, morally bankrupt and
intellectually dishonest attack on academic freedom by the American
Studies Association should be soundly condemned by all who are committed
to the ideal that open exchange of ideas is the most effective way to
achieve change,” said National Director Abraham Foxman in a statement.
In related news, William Jacobson who runs the Legal Insurrection blog has announced:
I have retained one of the leading practitioners in the field of charitable organizations, Alan P. Dye, Esq., to file a challenge to ASA’s 501(c)(3) status if the resolution passes. We expect to file the challenge prior to year end, if not sooner.
ASA’s anti-Israel academic boycott resolution calls ASA’s 501(c)(3) status into question for many reasons, including but not limited to the act of engaging in an academic boycott not satisfying the requirements of 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that an organization must be “organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable,…or educational purposes…” An academic boycott, which clearly is a substantial activity of the ASA and will be for the coming years, does not satisfy this test.
Click here to read the entire post by Jacobson in which he describes the legal action.