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Quotes Condemning ASA Boycott

University Newsroom and Presidential Statements Condemning

ASA Academic Boycott of Israel


AMCHA Initiative is pleased to share the following quotes from university newsrooms and university presidential statements regarding the American Studies Association’s academic boycott of Israeli institutions. The following universities are a mere sampling of the large number of universities that have condemned an academic boycott of Israeli institutions of higher learning.

“Indiana University joins other leading research universities in condemning in the strongest possible terms the boycott of institutions of higher education in Israel…Boycotts such as these have a profound chilling effect on academic freedom, and universities must be clear and unequivocal in rejecting them…Indiana University will contact the ASA immediately to withdraw as an institutional member. We urge the leadership of the ASA and other associations supporting the boycott to rescind this dangerous and ill-conceived action as a matter of urgency.” – Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie

“I cherish the concept of academic freedom, and I oppose the ASA boycott of Israel.” – Kenyon College President Sean Decatur

“It is ill-advised to make academic institutions the instrument with which to promote a political agenda by attempting to isolate students and scholars. Boston University cannot support this boycott” – Boston University President Robert A. Brown

“Brown University does not support academic boycotts against Israel or any other country. To do so would be antithetical to open scholarly exchange and would inhibit the advancement of knowledge and discovery. Brown University is fully supportive of the statement of the Association of American Universities opposing the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.” – Brown University President Christina Paxson

“Academic boycotts subvert the academic freedoms and values necessary to the free flow of ideas, which is the lifeblood of the worldwide community of scholars. The recent resolution of the ASA proposing to boycott Israeli universities represents a direct threat to these ideals, ideals which universities and scholarly associations should be dedicated to defend.” – Harvard University Office of the President

“This boycott is a contradiction, one that threatens what it purports to protect: the freedom of thought and expression that is the heartbeat of our academic community. We therefore reject the ASA’s efforts to impose a boycott on institutions of higher education in Israel…” – Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels and Provost Robert C. Lieberman

“Lehigh University strongly opposes the American Studies Association’s (ASA) boycott of Israeli academic institutions, and we are disappointed that a portion of the ASA’s membership chose to take this action….A boycott of any group is harmful to all.” – Lehigh University

“… the singling out of Israel for this action is astounding given the rationale for the resolution… the vote is a sad reflection of an extreme and hateful ideology of some members of the academy…it is important to note that the Executive Committee of the Association of American Universities quickly condemned the ASA’s resolution, along with a number of colleges and universities. “ – Middlebury President Ron Liebowitz

“…we believe the ASA resolution directly contradicts the values of academic freedom and advancing scholarship for which Northwestern stands. Northwestern University faculty and students should have the ability to pursue academic collaborations with their colleagues at institutions around the world, including Israel. Northwestern for years has had highly successful and valued joint degree programs and extensive partnerships with Israeli institutions and scholars. We intend to maintain and strengthen relationships such as these.” – Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro and Provost Dan Linzer

“We join with the Association of American Universities and others in strongly opposing any boycott of Israeli higher education…this proposed boycott is the antithesis to academic freedom. Put simply, we believe that to limit the exchange of ideas is to limit human potential.” – Ohio State University

“This is as clear a violation of academic freedom as one can imagine.” – Purdue University President Mitch Daniels

“Smith College upholds the ideals of academic freedom and engagement with global scholarship, scholars, research and ideas. The college rejects the American Studies Association’s proposed boycott of Israeli universities and will continue to support our students and faculty in pursuing opportunities in Israel and with their Israeli counterparts. In recent years, such opportunities have included hosting Israeli scholars on our campus for residencies in the U.S.; hosting summer Global Engagement Seminars for our students in Jerusalem; and running a thriving Jewish Studies program. Additionally, we are actively exploring the possibility of faculty and student exchanges with Israel.” – Smith College Office of the President

“Stanford University does not support an academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Stanford agrees with the position taken by the Association of American Universities on Dec. 20: “Efforts to address political issues, or to address restrictions on academic freedom, should not themselves infringe upon academic freedom.”- Stanford University

“…Were we still an institutional member [of the ASA], we would not be any longer after the misguided and unprincipled announcement of the boycott of the only democracy in the Middle East…In this strange case, why the ASA would propose an academic boycott of Israel and not, for example, of Syria, the Sudan, North Korea, China, Iran, Iraq, or Russia escapes rational thought. Trinity has participated in the Rescue Scholar program since its inception; we have welcomed scholars from some of the most repressive countries on the planet, and it is inconceivable to us that we would ever be welcoming a Rescue Scholar fleeing Israel for political reasons. As President of the ASA, you have tarnished a once distinguished association.” – James F. Jones, Jr., President and Trinity College Professor in the Humanities

“Tufts University strongly opposes the resolution of the American Studies Association (ASA) to boycott Israeli academic institutions.” – Tufts University

“A recent decision by the American Studies Association, ASA, to impose an academic boycott on Israel is a regrettable step that subverts academic freedom. Any limit on the open exchange of knowledge and ideas stands in direct opposition to the scholarly values and goals we uphold as an institution. UC Berkeley fully supports the position taken by the Association of American Universities, AAU, against this academic boycott.” – UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks

“…we oppose boycotts of academic institutions or scholars in any region of the world, and oppose recent actions by academic societies to boycott Israeli institutions.” – University of Chicago

“Choosing one nation for a boycott is patently unfair and represents a disturbing philosophy among some segments of the academy.” – University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst

“To restrict the free flow of people and ideas with some universities because of their national identity is unwise, unnecessary, and irreconcilable with our core academic values.” – University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh and Senior Vice President and Provost Mary Ann Rankin

“We oppose academic boycotts because they are inconsistent with the tenets of academic freedom and open scholarly inquiry. We agree with the position of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), as stated in a 2006 report, that such boycotts are antithetical to academic freedom.” – University of Maryland, Baltimore County

“The University of Miami resolutely opposes academic boycotts of any kind. We join with other higher education institutions in rejecting the actions of the American Studies Association as misguided, inappropriate, and hostile to the larger purposes of learning, academic freedom, and intellectual exchange— which are fundamental missions of American higher education.” – University of Miami President Shalala

“The University of Michigan strongly opposes the boycott of academic institutions in Israel…The University of Michigan is committed to continuing and strengthening its long-standing and productive institutional relationships with Israeli universities and institutes. Many of our faculty and students have exciting and productive collaborations with counterparts there. For example, we have student exchanges with The Technion Israel Institute of Technology, an alliance with Ben Gurion University in renewable energy, and a groundbreaking collaboration in the biomedical sciences called the UM/Israel Partnership for Research that involves the Weizmann Institute of Science, The Technion and Tel Aviv University.” – University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Martha Pollack

“As I stated in December 2010 when our university took a strong stand against academic boycotts or similar actions directed against Israel, we continue to believe such actions would be a betrayal of our values as a pluralistic university.” – University of Southern California President C. L. Max Nikias

“Washington University is deeply troubled and dismayed that the American Studies Association (ASA), among others, has engaged in a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.” – Washington University in St. Louis

“The ASA has not gone on record against universities in any other country: not against those that enforce laws against homosexuality, not against those that have rejected freedom of speech, not against those that systematically restrict access to higher education by race, religion or gender. No, the ASA listens to civil society only when it speaks against Israel…As president of Wesleyan, and as a historian, I deplore this politically retrograde resolution of the American Studies Assn. Under the guise of phony progressivism, the group has initiated an irresponsible attack on academic freedom.” – Wesleyan University President Michael S. Roth

“Any attempt to close off discussion or dialogue among scholars is antithetical to the fundamental values of scholarship and academic freedom. I stand with the Executive Committee of the Association of American Universities in my strong opposition to a boycott of Israeli academic institutions” – Yale University President Peter Salovey

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