To Friends of the AMERICAN STUDIES ASSOCIATION
SUPPORT THE ASA
Background: In an act of international solidarity, congruent with its historic mission to advance social justice, the American Studies Association (ASA) announced on December 16, 2013, that it endorses an academic boycott of Israeli universities. This decision came about following an open public debate at the national convention in November 2013 and an unprecedented membership-wide vote. More ASA members voted on this resolution than in any previous ballot in the association’s history. A significant majority (66.05% “yes” to 30.5% “no”) of the voting members endorsed the boycott resolution. Read the ASA National Council statement on the Resolution.
The ASA’s position is coherent with its long-standing commitment to social justice issues in the United States as well as in international sites where the US has significant political involvement. See for example, What does the academic boycott mean to the ASA. The association’s endorsement of the boycott is an expression of academic freedom, and a commitment to social equality, anti-racism and anti-colonialism which have been at the forefront of critical transformations in the humanities and the social sciences. A similar resolution was passed in April, 2013, by the Association of Asian American Studies in 2013 and another was recently passed (December 2013) by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. Numerous internationally renowned scholars, such as Judith Butler,
Angela Davis, Richard Falk, Robin D. G. Kelley, George Lipsitz, and John Carlos Rowe, have endorsed the ASA’s position. But most importantly, the ASA’s endorsement of the academic boycott of Israeli universities reflects the democratic will of the voting membership in December 2013. The ASA endorsement is part of a growing movement among professional academic associations in the United States and Europe that question Israel’s policies toward Palestinians and the US government’s unconditional support. Individual members are not required to
Many in the US are unaccustomed to public criticism of Israel. Some organizations and individuals are now mounting a campaign to discredit the ASA. The ASA’s elected leaders have been harassed and are receiving hate mail. The ASA office is being flooded with insulting and threatening phone calls. The ASA Facebook page has been subject to a barrage of inflammatory attacks. National organizations, including Stand With US, are mounting campaigns to undermine the ASA in the academy by appealing to donors and students to call on university administrators to withdraw support from ASA: The Caucus on Academic and Community Activism has already published a press release responding to these attacks but we need more support.
What Can You Do?
Renew your membership in ASA, especially institutional members of the organization, and encourage other programs to become institutional members. (ONLY 83 schools are institutional members.) To renew Institutional Memberships.
To renew Individual Memberships.
Announce your support of the ASA and the right of the association to act according to the will of the membership.
Academic freedom guarantees not only the individual right of faculty members to express their views, but also the autonomy of professional associations.