Following the annual meeting of the American Studies Association (ASA) in Washington D.C. on November 21-24, 2013, the National Council of the ASA voted to endorse the call from Palestinian civil society for an academic boycott of Israel.
The National Council – composed of elected representatives from the general ASA membership – voted affirmatively in support of the Resolution, put forward by the Academic and Community Activism Caucus. The Resolution recognizes that, due to the Occupation, Palestinian students and scholars currently face severe obstructions to their right to education through “restrictions on movement and travel that limit their ability to attend and work at universities, travel to conferences and to study abroad.” Citing a United Nations report that outlines how the Israeli occupation of Palestine has impacted students “whose development is deformed by pervasive deprivations affecting health, education and overall security,” the ASA Resolution resolves to honor the call for a boycott of Israeli universities as a means of showing solidarity with Palestinians.
At an open forum held at the annual meeting, 44 speakers were chosen at random from the audience to speak on the topic of the Resolution; 37 spoke in favor, with only 7 opposed. Members recommended endorsing academic boycott as part of a broader movement de-normalizing the unparalleled military and financial ties between the U.S. and Israel, interrogating U.S. complicity in a global structure of settler-colonialism, and creating more academic freedom for critical reflections on Israel within the U.S. academy. A petition, circulated at the conference and on-line, has gathered over 1,000 signatures in favor of the Resolution at the time of this press release. This is a significant number, given that total membership of the ASA is 3884, with registration for the annual conference at 1970. The petition and the open forum indicate the overwhelming support of the membership for the Resolution. This support was echoed throughout the annual meeting in a great number of panels. In these sessions of the annual conference, leading scholars in the fields of History, Ethnic Studies, American Studies, Critical Race Studies, Gender Studies, Queer Studies, and Legal Studies spoke eloquently and passionately in favor of the Resolution, calling upon the American Studies Association to show its support now for the oppressed Palestinian people, and their decades-long struggle to end the Israeli occupation and achieve self-determination.
The Academic and Community Activism Caucus congratulates the National Council on a decision in keeping not only with the spirit of the Open Meeting, but in accord with the principles of the American Studies Association, which has in its recent history expressed a strong commitment to the study and critique of racism, colonialism, and other forms of social injustice.
The Resolution in full is available here:
petitions/members-of-the-asa- support-resolution-to-boycott- israeli-academic-institutions
Press Contacts: David Lloyd (firstname.lastname@example.org); Steven Salaita (email@example.com), ASA Activism Caucus Representatives