American Studies Association adds over 700 new members since Israel boycott call

ActivismIsrael/PalestineUS Politics
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The American Studies Association sent out the following press release today showing the the onslaught of attacks it has faced since voting to endorse an academic boycott of Israel has only accomplished in strengthening the group. From the press release: “In the wake of the American Studies Association’s December 2013 endorsement of a Palestinian civil society call for an academic boycott of Israel – and as two efforts to legislate against academic boycotts fail to move forward in the Illinois and Maryland  state legislatures – the ASA has gained new members and support. Over the past several months, the ASA has welcomed more than 700 new members. The ASA has also collected more membership revenue in the past three months than in any other three-month period over the past quarter-century”

American Studies Association Increases Membership and Support, Overcoming Pressure in Wake of Academic Boycott of Israel Endorsement

In the wake of the American Studies Association’s December 2013 endorsement of a Palestinian civil society call for an academic boycott of Israel – and as two efforts to legislate against academic boycotts fail to move forward in the Illinois and Maryland  state legislatures – the ASA has gained new members and support. Over the past several months, the ASA has welcomed more than 700 new members. The ASA has also collected more membership revenue in the past three months than in any other three-month period over the past quarter-century and its ongoing “Stand with the ASA” grassroots fundraising campaign has exceeded the association’s expectations thus far.

Last week, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, released a statement in support of the ASA’s boycott efforts. In it, he states that: “In South Africa, we could not have achieved our democracy without the help of people around the world, who through the use of non-violent means, such as boycotts and divestment, encouraged their governments and other corporate actors to reverse decades-long support for the Apartheid regime. …The [anti-boycott] legislations being proposed in the United States would have made participation in a movement like the one that ended Apartheid in South Africa extremely difficult.” The day before his statement was released, an Illinois State Senate Committee rejected a resolution condemning academic boycotts. A bill to defund universities that subsidize faculty associations with organizations supporting boycotts was also scuttled in Maryland, where non-binding condemnatory language was instead inserted into the budget bill.

ASA President Curtis Marez stated, “Despite the backlash of the last few months, the ASA is thriving. The boycott vote is consistent with our longstanding support for human rights and opposition to war and militarism. Many Americans are now for the first time hearing about their government’s support for the occupation and discriminatory laws against Palestinians. I’m proud that the ASA helped open up discussion about BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) and the difference it can make.” Commentary by ASA leaders, members and supporters was published in the Los Angeles TimesChronicle of Higher EducationWashington PostNew York Times,CNN.com, and the Chicago Tribune, among other news outlets.

In response to the legislative threats from politicians, threatened legal action, and physical threats from others, veteran attorneys have stepped forward to assist the ASA in responding to such legal bullying for taking a principled stand in support of Palestinian human rights. The ASA is not the only organization to face such bullying. In 2013 alone, Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, an initiative built in partnership with the Center for Constitutional Rights, documented more than 100 cases of legal and other intimidation against Palestinian rights activists on U.S. campuses.

Incoming ASA president Lisa Duggan noted, “We are looking forward to our upcoming annual conference in November, which will feature a wealth of panels and events presenting first-rate American Studies scholarship on topics ranging from the politics of settler colonialism and transnational Black studies to popular culture and contemporary performance art. We will be welcoming Palestinian and Israeli scholars along with large contingents of other international ASA members poised to continue addressing matters of global concern affecting all of us.”

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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11 Responses

  1. thetruthhurts
    April 10, 2014, 3:01 pm

    fabulous, may the little snowball of truth continue to roll on till it becomes a deception-suffocating avalanche!

  2. brenda
    April 10, 2014, 3:46 pm

    excellent! The ASA has balls. The tide is turning. Best news I’ve heard in awhile.

  3. hophmi
    April 10, 2014, 4:33 pm

    I’m sure it will range from far-left to radical-left as usual.

    It’s not surprising that the ASA has gained members. Maybe that was the real motivation behind the resolution.

    • adele
      April 10, 2014, 5:09 pm

      Yes, Hophmi, I am sure that the scheming ASA’s intention all along was to plot this “evil” in order to gain members. (rolling my eyes….)

    • Pamela Olson
      April 10, 2014, 5:17 pm

      Aw, poor widdle victim hophmi. He’s gotten used to being in total control, and now his little house of cards is starting to wobble.

      Well, get used to it. This thing is only going in one direction. And it’s not the one you want.

      I understand it stings to lose privilege that you’ve come to take for granted. But on the bright side, the Palestinians won’t have to be at the blind, brutal mercy of the likes of you for much longer.

    • Dutch
      April 10, 2014, 8:30 pm

      Sure, same here. We all know that companies like Unilever, Royal Haskoning/DHV, Vitens and PGGM are in fact extremely left-wing, involved in a marketing-gig to increase their profits.

      Your nightmare is just starting, buddy.

  4. DaBakr
    April 10, 2014, 8:53 pm

    wow, when somebody suggests ulterior motives on this side of the ‘war of ideas in the ME’ i can see it doesnt go down very well. but then the big Zionist conspiracy? Well, you know how that goes.

    @ “your nightmare is just starting, buddy”

    oh wow. like we aren’t used to dire predictions of doom and gloom for the past 60yrs and now we should really start to be scared-just when we have become a net energy exporter with possible shale reserves that are 40% of sauds. we are greatly annoyed, we always worry, we always must be prepared but threats? get a grip. why should a threat from some little pischer be more resonant then Nassers threats? Even Nasrallah doesnt threaten-he says he’ll “respond” ;) .

    • Dutch
      April 11, 2014, 11:57 am

      Maybe you’re not aware, but these Dutch companies were talking about human rights abuses. And today the UN confirmed that Palestine will join the requested int’l conventions, among them the Geneva Conventions. Israel calls that a nightmare, not for the reasons you state, but for the fact that it will end their colonial project, and that the country will be called to justice. If that means a ‘threat’ to you, you’re in bad shape, mister.

  5. Felixio
    April 12, 2014, 11:33 pm

    Is good to see that BDS is taking shape, but amazes me to see how much resistance is coming from some of the US states, maybe it’ll be like legalizing marihuana, one state goes for it and the others see the benefits and many others fallow.

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