ASA Boycott Resolution and NGO Connections
- On Monday December 16, 2013 the members of the American Studies Association (ASA) endorsed the Association’s participation in a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
- The ASA mentioned several NGOs which were influential in producing their boycott decision, including Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP), Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), and U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI).
- JVP is mentioned several times in reference to the ASA resolution, including involvement in persuading the ASA to adopt the boycott resolution. In the Council Statement on the Academic Boycott of Israel, JVP’s role is described: “The Saturday November 23rd open discussion was attended by approximately 745 ASA members…Speakers included students, faculty, past Presidents, former members of the National Council, former and current members of the AQ editorial staff, American Studies department chairs, and an ASA member also representing the organization Jewish Voice for Peace. While different opinions were articulated, the overwhelming majority spoke in support of the ASA endorsing an academic boycott.”
- JVP is also quoted as a source in the ASA’s “Answering questions about the ASA boycott from Department Chairs, Deans, Administrators” section in regards to TIAA-CREF’s divestment from Caterpillar.
- The ASA resolution is “modeled on PACBI, the 2004 call by Palestinian academics and intellectuals for an academic and cultural boycott which took inspiration from the Boycott campaign against South African apartheid.”
- In the ASA’s “Links to Material on the Academic and Cultural Boycott Campaign” section they refer to PACBI Guidelines for the International Academic Boycott of Israel.
- These “Guidelines” justify boycotting Israeli academics on the basis that “While an individual’s academic freedom should be fully and consistently respected in this context, an individual academic, Israeli or not, cannot be exempt from being subject to boycotts that conscientious citizens around the world…may call for in response to what is widely perceived as a particularly offensive act or statement by the academic in question (such as direct or indirect incitement to violence; justification — an indirect form of advocacy — of war crimes and other grave violations of international law; racial slurs; actual participation in human rights violations; etc.).” (emphasis added).
- PACBI’s co-founder is Omar Barghouti, a leading BDS advocate and formerly a doctoral student at Tel Aviv University.
- In the ASA’s “Links to Material on the Academic and Cultural Boycott Campaign” section they refer to USACBI’s Mission Statement.
- This mission statement gives the following one-sided background for the boycott of Israeli academics: “In light of Israel’s persistent violations of international law, and Given that, since 1948, hundreds of UN resolutions have condemned Israel’s colonial and discriminatory policies as illegal and called for immediate, adequate and effective remedies, and Given that all forms of international intervention and peace-making have until now failed to convince or force Israel to comply with humanitarian law, to respect fundamental human rights and to end its occupation and oppression of the people of Palestine…These non-violent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination.”
- The Mission statement also advocates for the Palestinian “right of return,” which is equivalent to calling for the elimination of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. The mission statement claims that the boycott should remain in effect until “Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by: 1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall; 2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and 3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”