web analytics
March 31, 2015 / 11 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


The Anti-Boycott Bill In Albany

It’s no secret that many in the academic community support boycotts as a means of pressuring and punishing Israel. So it’s understandable that proposed legislation to prohibit use of public funds to promote boycotts – authored by New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and now being considered by the Assembly – has created an uproar. An identical bill was passed last week by the State Senate.

But the logic employed by those opposed to the legislation escapes us. After all, opponents of the bill – including those not openly hostile to Israel – claim it stifles free expression and academic freedom, yet the law only seeks to discourage actions designed to limit those very values.

The statement of intent in a section of the bill itself, which critics conveniently leave out of any discussions, provides an important context in which to consider the legislation. Here are some excerpts:

The legislature hereby finds that it is beneficial to students of this state to have access to an education that is not bound by borders and to have the opportunity to obtain a global education…. A global education allows students to connect, compete, and cooperate with their peers around the world. Therefore it is the policy of the State of New York that colleges not use state funds to support boycotts of countries, or higher education institutions located in countries, that host higher education institutions chartered by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York.

In order to implement this policy the operative provisions of the law provide, in pertinent part:

No college in this state may use state aid provided directly to such college to: fund an academic entity, provide funds for membership in an academic entity or fund travel or lodging for any employee to attend any meeting of such academic entity if such entity has issued a public resolution or other official statement or undertaken an official action boycotting a host country or higher education institutions located in such country.

Significantly, in terms of free expression and academic freedom, another provision of the bill clarifies that it does not

limit the attendance by any employee of a college at any event of an academic entity that boycotts a host country or higher education institutions located in such country and attendance at meetings of any such entity shall not be used by the college with regard to employment decisions.

Typically, though, for most opponents who have gone public with their views, the pro-free speech and academic freedom thrust of the bill is ignored. Thus, the New York City chapter of the Center for Constitutional Rights airily concluded in a letter to legislators last week that the legislation “attempts to stifle constitutionally protected speech by denying aid to colleges and universities who fund membership in organizations that support boycotts of an enumerated list of countries, including Israel. But government restrictions and regulations cannot be based on the desire to punish speech that aims to influence public opinion on a nation’s policies and actions….”

It was even more pronounced for The New York Times. In an editorial titled “A Chill on Speech,” the Times presented the issue as follows:

The New York legislature is moving to pass a bill that would bar state financing for academic groups that have taken official action to boycott higher-education institutions in Israel. The initiative, which last week passed the State Senate, is now pending before the Assembly. It should be voted down by lawmakers, or, if they prove feckless, Gov. Andrew Cuomo should veto it.

The bill was introduced after the American Studies Association, an organization of scholars, in December adopted a resolution supporting a call by Palestinians to boycott Israeli academic institutions. The group said it would refuse formal collaborations with Israeli academic institutions or with scholars who represent those institutions or the Israeli government until “Israel ceases to violate human rights and international law.”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “The Anti-Boycott Bill In Albany”

  1. Nathan Katz says:

    The sentiment is good but it is a bad idea.

  2. freedom of speech will not be turned off by stupid government cover up.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Israel's favorite circus opens its 20th session Tuesday.
Knesset Opens the Tent to its 20th Circus
Latest Indepth Stories
Photo from President Barack Obama's past visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

{Originally posted to author’s website, FirstOne Through} TRUST Trust is the bedrock of a functional relationship. It enables one party to rely on the other. A trust that includes both intention and capability permits a sharing of responsibility and workload. The relationship between US President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu started off badly and further […]

jabotinsky with sword

Jabotinsky said “Go To Hell” was a good retort to opponents of the Jewish people; fitting for Obama.

Obama Racine

Obama pulled off one of US history’s greatest cons,twice fooling a gullible electorate and most Jews

Auschwitz Entrance

While in Auschwitz I felt a tangible intensity. I could sense that I was in a place of sheer evil.

Obama needs to wake up. The real enemy is not Netanyahu but Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad,IS

My beliefs & actions have led to numerous death threats against me; my excommunication by my church

In November 2014, Islamic Relief Worldwide was classified as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

Too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight; it can represent freedom and independence.

Erica Pelman is a spiritually-driven woman. She is founder and director of “In Shifra’s Arms” (ISA), an organization that offers aid to pregnant Jewish women of all religious backgrounds practically, financially and emotionally. Its arms are open to any pregnant woman in need whether single, divorced, separated, or from a financially-strapped family. “Presently, we are […]

Many so-called “humanitarian NGOs” frequently abuse Israel by applying false moral equivalencies

Israeli history now has its version of “Dewey Defeats Truman” with headlines from 2 anti-Bibi papers

In God’s plan why was it necessary that Moses be raised by Pharaoh, away from his own family&people?

In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.

In any event, Mr. Netanyahu after the election sought to soften his statement on Palestinian statehood and apologized for what he conceded were remarks that “offended some Israeli citizens and offended members of the Israeli Arab community.”

More Articles from Editorial Board

In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.

A worthy idea any way you look at it.

If nothing really changes in the hearts and minds of the Palestinians, is Israel obligated to provide them and its other adversaries launching pads for attacks?

The United States placed enormous pressure on Israel to relinquish its gains, which Prime Minister Ben-Gurion did with great reluctance.

The real issue is that in many respects the president has sought to recalibrate American values and our system of government.

Former Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman, writing in the Washington Post on Sunday, provided one of the clearest and most compelling analyses we’ve seen of the importance of the prime minister’s speech.

Gone are the days when an anchorman sitting in a New York studio could, after sharing 22 minutes of carefully selected and edited news items, trumpet in stentorian tones, “And that’s the way it is.” No it wasn’t. It never was.

President Obama has frequently cautioned that Americans should take great care to avoid fomenting anti-Muslim passions in our reaction to the murderous activities regularly being perpetrated by terrorists in the name of Islam. One wonders why, though, he seems to have no concern with the potential for anti-Semitic fallout from his full-court press against Israeli […]

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-anti-boycott-bill-in-albany/2014/02/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: