Denver, CO, December 30, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Mountain States Region today issued an open letter to the presidents of all the major colleges and universities in Colorado and Wyoming asking that they join with other presidents to speak out against a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions adopted by the American Studies Association (ASA) in December 2013.
ADL pointed out that the resolution adopted by ASA is part of a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. The BDS movement unfairly and inappropriately seeks to isolate and punish Israel and eventually dismantle it as a Jewish state. The ASA boycott is a travesty of academic freedom, a double standard regarding Israel and an act of hatred.
The following is the text of the open letter to the college and university presidents from Scott L. Levin, ADL Mountain States Regional Director:
December 30, 2013
On December 16, 2013, the American Studies Association (ASA) membership voted to support a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. This resolution is part of a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. The BDS movement unfairly and inappropriately seeks to isolate and punish Israel and eventually dismantle it as a Jewish state. Although the resolution of the ASA is non-binding, we urge you to join your voice with presidents of dozens of American colleges and universities that have issued statements rejecting the boycott and disassociating their schools from the resolution. Among them are the presidents of Brandeis University, Harvard University, Indiana University, Kenyon College, John Hopkins University, University of Connecticut, University of Michigan and Yale University. Several presidents have also led the way for their institutions to withdraw from ASA.
For example, Drew Faust, President of Harvard University, stated:
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.
Please note we do not oppose all criticism of Israel; however, a call to boycott Israeli academic institutions and individual academics is profoundly unjust. It does nothing to promote a negotiated peace agreement or present constructive initiatives. Instead, it effectively chills the very people and institutions that freely, and often heatedly, debate and critique Israeli, Palestinian and Arab policies. We believe it is crucial for academic institutions and associations to instead advance initiatives that foster peace and reconciliation, initiatives that will result in two states for two peoples.
Many prominent individuals have also opposed an academic boycott of on the basis of principle and tactics. The American Association of University Professors recently stated it stands “in opposition to academic boycotts as a matter of principle.” Even Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has declared, “We do not support the boycott of Israel.”
Please speak out against this travesty. Feel free to contact me at (303) 830-7177 x215 or by email at email@example.com if you have any questions or comments.
Scott L. Levin
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.