OlympiaBDS supports the American Studies Association (ASA), “the nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to the
interdisciplinary study of American culture and history” (www.theasa.net), that has recently adopted the academic boycott of Israel. The ASA has received significant negative pushback from detractors of BDS, and so we pass along this edited action statement from the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel to all our supporters. Additional links and resources are described at the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation’s ASA action page here.
“In an act of international solidarity, in line 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.
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
Here are some actions you can take to support the ASA:
-Announce your support of the ASA and the right of the association to act according to the will of the membership. Denounce the campaign of intimidation against the ASA. Possibilities include letters to the editor, announcements in faith community bulletins, or sign onto the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation’s support letter which can also provide succinct language to use in your letter.
-Support ASA-related activities. You can find more information about the activities of the ASA here.
-Write to your congressional and state representatives and urge them to do the following:
- Defend the academic freedom of the ASA and its membership.
- Ensure that ASA activities are not subject to discriminatory practices.
- Encourage and facilitate more critical discussions of the US-Israeli relationship. “