The American Jewish Committee has expressed outrage over the Association of Asian American Studies’ (AAAS) endorsement of an academic boycott against Israeli academic institutions.
A resolution favoring the boycott was adopted at the national organization’s recent annual meeting, though only ten percent of the membership reportedly voted.
“This pernicious resolution stands in stark contrast to the broader American academic community position opposing such boycotts,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “Moreover, this AAAS action will not bring closer Israeli-Palestinian peace. That can only be achieved through direct, bilateral negotiations, which the Palestinians have spurned for the past four years.”
The American Association of University Professors has long opposed academic boycotts. Moreover, in 2007, more than 400 American college and university presidents signed a statement proclaiming such efforts “intellectually shoddy and politically biased attempts to hijack the central mission of higher education.”
The AAAS resolution accuses Israeli academic institutions of being “complicit” in the “occupation” of and ”discrimination” against Arab students and scholars. The resolution also revealingly targets the United States, stressing that “the AAAS seeks to advance a critique of U.S. Empire, opposing U.S. military occupation in the Arab world.”
“We call on responsible Asian American academics to urge the AAAS to move expeditiously to totally reverse this resolution,” Harris added. “The current resolution is counter-productive to the cause of Middle East peace, to freedom of expression and inquiry, and to dissemination of knowledge on American campuses.”