Dear ColleaguesAs many of you may be aware, there has been a Palestinian campaign for an academic boycott of Israel for a few years now. I would like to suggest that ASA support this boycott, which many Israeli professors support.My concern about what it would mean for Israeli institutions to be included in such an organization stems from my own sense of how things are for my friends who teach at Birzeit University, Bethlehem University, and Al Quds University. By making a clear statement that supports Palestinian professors and institutions as an organization, I think, will send a vital message. For those who are interested, here is the precise text of the call to boycott, which you can find on Birzeit’s website:
We, Palestinian academics and intellectuals, call upon our colleagues in the international community to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel’s occupation, colonization and system of apartheid, by applying the following:
1.Refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions;
2.Advocate a comprehensive boycott of Israeli institutions at the national and international levels, including suspension of all forms of funding and subsidies to these institutions;
3.Promote divestment and disinvestment from Israel by international academic institutions;
4.Exclude from the above actions against Israeli institutions any conscientious Israeli academics and intellectuals opposed to their stateÂ’s colonial and racist policies;
5.Work toward the condemnation of Israeli policies by pressing for resolutions to be adopted by academic, professional and cultural associations and organizations;
6.Support Palestinian academic and cultural institutions directly without requiring them to partner with Israeli counterparts as an explicit or implicit condition for such support.
I hope that the American Studies Association will consider engaging with these issues, especially in light of the recent email from the AJS.
On 28 May 2006, I sent the following email to the American Studies Association ASA listserv: