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100+ Organizations Call on 250 University Presidents to Endorse Statement Condemning Academic BDS

December 4, 2018

Delivered via email to 250 University Presidents

RE: 101 Organizations Urge Your Endorsement of the University Leaders Statement Against the Implementation of an Academic Boycott of Israel

Dear Chancellor/President,

We are 101 civil rights, education, religious, faculty and student organizations deeply concerned about the harmful impact of the academic boycott of Israel on U.S. students and faculty. We are writing to urge you to sign the University Leaders Statement Against the Implementation of an Academic Boycott of Israel, accessible below or at this link.

Following the American Studies Association’s adoption of a resolution endorsing a boycott of Israeli universities in 2013, leaders of 250 U.S. colleges and universities, including your own, issued statements opposing the ASA resolution. However, in light of recent reprehensible attempts by faculty at University of Michigan, Pitzer College and elsewhere to implement an academic boycott that thwarts their own students’ academic freedom and their own colleagues’ scholarly activities, it is imperative that university leaders speak out once again, this time even more forcefully.

The statement below acknowledges that implementation of the academic boycott of Israel subverts the scholarly and educational opportunities and curtails the academic freedom of students and faculty on U.S. campuses, and it condemns such behavior in the strongest possible terms.

Please let us know if we can add your name to the growing list of university leaders across the country who have endorsed this statement.

Thank you in advance for your leadership and commitment to protecting the academic rights and opportunities of all students and faculty at your school, including those whose study or scholarship focuses on Israel.


Academic Council for Israel
Academic Engagement Network
Accuracy in Academia
Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity (AEPi)
Alums for Campus Fairness - Columbia University
Alums for Campus Fairness - National
Alums for Campus Fairness - Swarthmore
Alums for Campus Fairness - UC Davis
Alums for Campus Fairness - UC Riverside
Alums for Campus Fairness - UCLA
Alums for Campus Fairness - University of Michigan
AMCHA Initiative
America Israel Cooperative Enterprise
American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists
American Council of Trustees and Alumni
American Institute for Jewish Research
American Jewish International Relations Institute
American Truth Project
American Zionist Movement
Americans for Peace and Tolerance
Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA)
B'nai B'rith International
BEAR: Bias Education, Advocacy & Resources
Binghamton University Zionist Organization (BUZO)
Bobcats for Israel at Ohio University
Boston Israel Action Committee
Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law
Buckeyes for Israel (Ohio State University)
Bulldogs for Israel (Brooklyn College)
Campus Anti-Semitism Task Force of the North Shore
Center for Righteousness and Integrity
Christians and Jews United for Israel
Club Z
Coalition for Jewish Values
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)
Congregation Beth El Israel Committee
CUFI on Campus
Dartmouth Students for Israel
Davis Faculty for Israel
Eagles Wings
Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET)
Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME)
Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors
Hasbara Fellowships
Hoos for Israel (University of Virginia)
Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel
Iranian American Jewish Federation
Iranian Jewish Women’s Organization
Israel Allies Foundation
Israel in NYC
Israel Matters
Israel Peace Initiative (IPI)
Israeli-American Civic Action Network
Israeli-American Civic Education Institute
Jerusalem U
Jewish War Veterans of the USA
Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa (JIMENA)
Knights for Israel (University of Central Florida)
Mercaz USA
Merrick-Bellmore Jewish Community Council
Middle East Forum
Middle East Political and Information Network (MEPIN)
National Conference on Jewish Affairs
National Council of Young Israel
Oral Roberts University United for Israel Club
Proclaiming Justice to the Nations
Rabbinical Alliance of America
Religious Zionists of America
Rhode Island Coalition for Israel
Russian Jewish Community Foundation
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
Simon Wiesenthal Center
Slugs for Israel (University of California Santa Cruz)
StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department
Stop BDS on Campus
Students and Parents Against Campus Anti-Semitism
Students Supporting Israel at Chapman University
Students Supporting Israel at City College of New York
Students Supporting Israel at Columbia
Students Supporting Israel at Drake University
Students Supporting Israel at Penn State University
Students Supporting Israel at San Jose State University
Students Supporting Israel at UC Irvine
Students Supporting Israel at UC Santa Barbara
Students Supporting Israel at UCLA
Students Supporting Israel at University of Minnesota
Students Supporting Israel National
Students Supporting Israel of Santa Monica College
Swarthmore Students for Israel
The Israel Christian Nexus
The Israel Project
Tufts Friends of Israel
WoMen For All
Young Jewish Conservatives
Zionist Organization of America
ZOA’s Fuel for Truth



University Leaders Statement Against the Implementation of an Academic Boycott of Israel

Individual faculty members and students have the free speech right to declare their public approval of an academic boycott of Israel. However, we are concerned at the prospect of some individuals on our campuses actually proceeding to implement an academic boycott by complying with the 2014 guidelines of the Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). Implementing these guidelines will not only inflict serious harm on Israeli academic institutions, but on faculty and students at our own schools as well.

Among a wide range of recommended practices, PACBI guidelines specifically urge members of the academic community “to boycott and/or work towards the cancellation or annulment of events, activities, agreements, or projects involving Israeli academic institutes or that otherwise promote the normalization of Israel in the global academy…or violate the BDS guidelines.” Were faculty or students on our campuses to fully implement these guidelines, they would be engaging in activities that directly and substantively harm their own students and colleagues, including:

  • Undermining a faculty member’s collaborative research or teaching projects with Israeli universities and scholars;
  • Interfering with the equal non-discriminatory treatment of all applicants for admissions to graduate programs;
  • Disrupting and shutting down events featuring Israeli leaders or scholars organized by their colleagues or students;
  • Working toward the closure of their own university’s study abroad programs in Israel; and
  • Refusing to write letters of recommendation for their students who want to pursue studies in Israel.

All of these actions to implement academic boycotts of Israel subvert the scholarly and educational opportunities or curtail the academic freedom of colleagues and students who are members of our own campus communities. Some of the actions above, along with other forms of personal assault, are carried out by students as well. Treating one’s own students or faculty colleagues as collateral damage to a political agenda is wrong and violates the principles of collegiality and academic integrity central to our institutions. We condemn such behavior in the strongest terms.

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