Challenge to anti-Semitic boycott given go-ahead
Bob Kellogg One News Now
April 24, 2017


Members of a national academic association are suing the organization itself after it chose to adopt a boycott of all Israeli academic institutions.

Pro-Palestinian members of the leadership of the American Studies Association abused their positions by forcing adoption of the boycott. So says Kenneth Marcus, president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law. Marcus' group is representing the plaintiffs who argue that violates ASA's own rules and mission (more details).

"The mission of the American Studies Association is to promote the scholarly study of the United States; it is not to promote the study of the Middle East," he emphasizes. "And it is certainly not to engage in political activism about countries outside of North America."

Marcus points out that two of the four plaintiffs are well-respected ASA award winners and another is one of the organization's founding members.

"They are upset," he explains, "not just because they view the boycott as anti-Semitic and a violation of academic freedom, but because it undermines the scholarly quality of an organization that they worked so hard to build."

Despite attempts by the defendants to have the lawsuit suppressed, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras recently ruled the plaintiffs can move forward with most of their claims.

The Brandeis Center leader calls the decision an important victory – not just their clients "but for everyone who is concerned about the anti-Semitic BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] movement and its deleterious impact on academic institutions."

Original Article

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Over 50% of Jewish American college students report that they experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism on their campuses during the 2013-2014 academic year. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has announced that campus anti-Semitism “is a serious problem which warrants further attention.” Campus anti-Semitism can include subjecting Jewish students to different treatment, harassment, violence or a hostile environment. In some cases, campus anti-Semitism is related to anti-Israel sentiment. In other cases, it is not. For most purposes, we define anti-Semitism according to the U.S. Department of State definition of anti-Semitism. .
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Advisory Board Spotlight

Ruth R. Wisse
Ruth R. Wisse is the Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University, and has taught at McGill, Stanford, New York, Hebrew and Tel Aviv universities.
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