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Public Statements

Letter to Curtis Marez, President of the American Studies Association - Condemning Academic Boycott of Israel

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Today, a bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers condemned the American Studies Association's (ASA) academic boycott of Israel. 134 Members of Congress, led by Reps. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Doug Collins (R-GA), and Brad Schneider (D-IL), sent a letter to ASA President Curtis Marez opposing ASA's boycott as bigoted and an affront to academic freedom.

"We come together--Democrats and Republicans alike--to strongly condemn the ASA boycott, which undermines academic freedom and exhibits flagrant prejudice against the Jewish State of Israel," said the House lawmakers. "This boycott doesn't advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but only reinforces dangerous stereotypes that limit mutual understanding and cooperation--two things that should be at the very heart of our academic endeavors. We therefore cannot tolerate these ignorant smear campaigns to isolate Israel and deteriorate the historic U.S.-Israel relationship."

The ASA boycott has been widely condemned by hundreds of universities and scholars, as well as the Association of American Universities, American Association of University Professors, and the American Council on Education.

January 17, 2014

Mr. Curtis Marez

President

American Studies Association

1120 19th St NW, Suite 301

Washington, DC 20036

Dear Mr. Marez:

We write in strong opposition to the American Studies Association's (ASA) recent decision to boycott Israeli universities and academic institutions. While ASA has every right to express its views on policies pursued by any nation or government, we believe that the decision to blacklist Israeli academic institutions for Israeli government policies with which ASA disagrees demonstrates a blatant disregard for academic freedom.

The ASA claims that the boycott "is in solidarity with scholars and students deprived of their academic freedom and it aspires to enlarge that freedom for all, including Palestinians." We believe that this boycott accomplishes just the opposite. The university is an institution intended to foster, encourage, and inspire constructive dialogue and original thought. However, this boycott undermines academic freedom by prohibiting educational and cultural exchanges with Israeli universities and academic institutions.

Even more concerning is the singular targeting of Israel for boycott. Like all democracies, Israel is not perfect. But to single out Israel, while leaving relationships with universities in autocratic and repressive countries intact, suggests thinly-veiled bigotry and bias against the Jewish State. This morally dishonest double standard has already been rejected by well over 100 university presidents, with several member universities even withdrawing from the organization in protest.

Some higher education organizations--including the American Association of University Professors, the American Council on Education, and the Association of American Universities--have denounced the boycott as unjust and harmful to the goals of academic freedom. Even Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejects boycotts of Israel, stating: "No, we do not support the boycott of IsraelÂ…We have relations with Israel, we have mutual recognition of Israel."

Academic cooperation can be an important tool to help foster peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but you have chosen the unproductive path of isolation. We hope that the ASA will learn to appreciate the mutually beneficial academic ties between the United States and Israel and work with us to promote peace and academic freedom.

Sincerely,

1. Peter J. Roskam

2. Theodore E. Deutch

3. Doug Collins

4. Bradley S. Schneider

5. Edward R. Royce

6. Eliot L. Engel

7. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

8. Brad Sherman

9. Fred Upton

10. Henry A. Waxman

11. Peter T. King

12. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

13. James Lankford

14. Steve Israel

15. Pete Sessions

16. Chris Van Hollen

17. Leonard Lance

18. Sander M. Levin

19. Nita M. Lowey

20. Gus M. Bilirakis

21. Jerrold Nadler

22. Mike Pompeo

23. Patrick J. Tiberi

24. Frederica S. Wilson

25. Cory Gardner

26. Kevin Yoder

27. Jim Bridenstine

28. Kerry L. Bentivolio

29. Gene Green

30. Todd Rokita

31. Mark Pocan

32. William R. Keating

33. Aaron Schock

34. Dina Titus

35. Tom Marino

36. Marc A. Veasey

37. John Fleming

38. Jackie Walorski

39. Gerald E. Connolly

40. Ron DeSantis

41. Richard Hudson

42. Alan Grayson

43. James P. McGovern

44. Eric Swalwell

45. Tulsi Gabbard

46. George Holding

47. Luke Messer

48. Randy K. Weber, Sr.

49. Ted S. Yoho

50. Michael G. Grimm

51. Alan S. Lowenthal

52. Devin Nunes

53. Julia Brownley

54. Steve Stivers

55. Lois Frankel

56. Mike Quigley

57. David Schweikert

58. Pedro R. Pierluisi

59. Rush Holt

60. Joseph P. Kennedy III

61. Adam Kinzinger

62. Paul Cook

63. Bill Foster

64. Allyson Y. Schwartz

65. Tim Griffin

66. Jim Costa

67. Grace Meng

68. Alan Nunnelee

69. Derek Kilmer

70. Jared Polis

71. Joe Garcia

72. John B. Larson

73. Tom Reed

74. Mark Meadows

75. Patrick Murphy

76. Mike Kelly

77. Carol Shea-Porter

78. David P. Joyce

79. Juan Vargas

80. Gary C. Peters

81. John K. Delaney

82. Bill Johnson

83. Betty McCollum

84. Daniel Lipinski

85. Rodney Davis

86. Corrine Brown

87. Stephen F. Lynch

88. Tom Latham

89. Gregory W. Meeks

90. Louie Gohmert

91. Spencer Bachus

92. Bruce L. Braley

93. Carolyn B. Maloney

94. John Campbell

95. Albio Sires

96. Matt Salmon

97. Alcee L. Hastings

98. Janice D. Schakowsky

99. Bill Pascrell, Jr.

100. Steve Chabot

101. Christopher H. Smith

102. Doug Lamborn

103. Michele Bachmann

104. Steve Pearce

105. Doris O. Matsui

106. Trent Franks

107. Tim Walberg

108. Jim Gerlach

109. Mike Coffman

110. Robert E. Latta

111. James F. Sensenbrenner, Jr.

112. John Shimkus

113. Charles W. Dent

114. Brian Higgins

115. Suzan K. DelBene

116. Ann M. Kuster

117. Scott H. Peters

118. Steve Cohen

119. John A. Yarmuth

120. David Loebsack

121. Kathy Castor

122. James R. Langevin

123. Jeff Duncan

124. David N. Cicilline

125. Patrick Meehan

126. Randy Hultgren

127. Al Green

128. Steve Scalise

129. Adam B. Schiff

130. Paul C. Broun

131. Joseph Crowley

132. Denny Heck

133. Todd C. Young

134. Carolyn McCarthy


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