Backlash against Israel boycott throws academic association on defensive

Tim Goral's picture
Monday, January 6, 2014

With its recent vote to boycott Israel’s higher-education institutions to protest the country’s treatment of Palestinians, the American Studies Association has itself become the target of widespread criticism and ostracism. It has gone from relative obscurity to prominence as a pariah of the United States higher-education establishment, its experience serving as a cautionary tale for other scholarly groups that might consider taking a similar stand on the Middle East.

In sharp contrast to the international campaign for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel, which had been slow to gain a foothold in the United States, the campaign to rebuke the American Studies Association has spread rapidly since the group’s mid-December boycott vote. The presidents of more than 80 United States colleges have condemned the vote.

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