Dear ASA Members and Supporters of the Academic Boycott of Israeli Universities
As you may know by now, the resolution unanimously approved by the ASA National Council calling for a boycott of Israeli universities has received an overwhelming majority vote from the ASA membership. The Caucus on Academic and Community Activism that initiated the resolution considers this a moment of historic victory for the academic boycott and for academic freedom.
Your support for the BDS movement is unprecedented in the US academy, and we are proud that it has had ripple effects nationally and globally as we have taken up serious discussion of the resolution. After several years of discussion in ASA, it is exciting to see that an academic boycott of Israeli universities now has the support of the organization, and of the many members who over the past year have engaged in vigorous debate and thoughtful discussion about the reasons to support an academic boycott. The significance and wider support for the ASA’s adoption of this resolution are reflected in the number of non-ASA members who have come out in support of the resolution. Over 4,300 people and 150 organizations thanked the ASA for its support for academic boycott (http://www.endtheoccupation.org/ThankYouASA), and the ASA has received an eloquent letter of thanks from Palestinian academics .
We appreciate the sensitivity of this issue, and that even during moments of intense disagreement the discourse amongst members of the ASA has been civil and respectful. This gives us hope that we can move forward as members of the ASA to work on issues of shared concern. This vibrant and vigorous discussion surrounding the boycott breaches the silence that has dominated the US academy when it comes to honest and open deliberation about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and opposition voices, and enlarges the space to engage in open and serious discussion about Palestine, Israel, the occupation, settler colonialism, apartheid, and US foreign policy. We thank the National Council and the ASA leadership for their unanimous support and all their hard work. We also thank the hundreds who supported this resolution. Given the policing of criticisms of Israel in the mainstream media and in the US academy, we consider your votes and the eloquent and passionate articles, blog entries, and letters written on behalf of the resolution to register a historic step forward in what is a peaceful and democratic movement to create justice for Palestinians.
We have every intention of building on this victory. As the ASA adopts this movement for antiracist and transnational solidarity, the Caucus is determined to abide by its principles in our academic work, in response to what our Palestinian colleagues have asked of us. In addition, we aim to build a network within the ASA that will work to center questions of the place of Palestine in American Studies, and to explore its articulations with members’ commitments to indigenous, anti-racist, anti-imperialist, labor, feminist, LGBTQ, and disability-related struggles. We also want this network to be a place of support for those who may face reprisals or harassment due to their public support for the academic boycott, so that we can also work in solidarity with one another and with the untenured faculty and graduate/undergraduate students who courageously advocated for the ASA boycott resolution.
Second, we urge you to be involved in building the larger movement for an academic boycott across the U.S., and in working within other academic associations and with your colleagues and departments/programs on your campuses. We ask each of you to go to the USACBI site < http://www.usacbi.org> and endorse the national call for academic boycott, if you have not done so already. If you have done so, we urge you to ask your colleagues to endorse.
In addition to celebrating the monumental passing of this resolution, we look forward to working collectively as part of a solidarity network to shape a vision and set of actions so we can carry on the work of the BDS movement and work towards justice, freedom, and democracy in our organizing as well as in our scholarship. We hope to see you at future meetings of the ASA Caucus on Academic and Community Activism! You may join the Caucus by going to this site: http://www.theasa.net/caucus_activism/
In solidarity and with best wishes for the new year,
The Academic and Community Activism Caucus, ASA
Thank you all for your support for the academic boycott of Israeli institutions by the American Studies Association.
As I am sure you know, the ASA’s National Council unanimously endorsed a resolution to endorse and honor the call from Palestinian civil society to support the boycott of Israel academic institutions. They also called on the membership to ratify their decision.
VOTING CLOSES ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15.
I am writing to encourage you to vote for this resolution, if you have not done so already, and to be sure to do so by the voting deadline. I want to add that this is an institutional boycott, not an individual one and will not stop you from collaborating with an Israeli scholar or stop an Israeli scholar from giving a talk at a US university.
I know this is a busy time for us all with the end of the teaching term and the holiday season. But this resolution is a strong statement that commits the Association to acting upon its principles and is, to judge by the open meeting held at the annual conference, very much in keeping with the intellectual and moral commitments of the majority of its members. It is important that as many members as possible express their opinion on the matter.
You can vote at
And please do encourage your colleagues also to vote in favor of this motion.
The Academic and Community Activism Caucus, ASA