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September 26, 2016 / 23 Elul, 5776
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House Bill to Slap Financial Penalties on anti-Israel Boycotts

The proposed legislation would prevent American taxpayers from having to subsidize the views of those seeking to marginalize and to penalize Israeli scholars and academic institutions
Cong. Peter Roskam (R-IL) introducing the Protect Academic Freedom Act on Tues., Feb. 4, 2014

Cong. Peter Roskam (R-IL) introducing the Protect Academic Freedom Act on Tues., Feb. 4, 2014
Photo Credit: Cong. Roskam screen capture

In other words, for example, with respect to the ASA boycott: first the secretary of education would determine whether there is an American Studies Department at a given university. If there is, and that AS department or the parent university has not withdrawn from the ASA, the university’s federal funding will be at risk. The same would be true for any other association that passes an academic boycott measure.

HARVARD STUDENTS PUBLICLY ASKED THEIR UNIVERSITY TO WITHDRAW FROM THE ASA

Harvard students Sara Greenberg and Yoav Schaefer applauded Harvard University President Drew Faust for condemning the ASA boycott in a letter written to Faust published in the Harvard Crimson earlier this month. The students urged Faust to go the next step, demonstrating “moral leadership and immediately withdraw Harvard’s institutional membership from the ASA.”  The students pointed out that other universities had done exactly that, in the wake of the ASA boycott. Brandeis Univesity, Penn State Harrisburg, Kenyon College and Indiana University have all already withdrawn from the ASA.

The Harvard students asked its university “to uphold its values and set an example for other universities around the country, showing that organizations promoting such boycotts will not only be denounced, but will also lose support from America’s leading academic institutions.”

Now Greenberg and Schaefer can add a financial basis to their moral basis for encouraging Harvard to withdraw from the tainted American Studies Association.

Last month, Congressman Roskam led a bipartisan letter signed by 134 Members of Congress, including Congressman Lipinski, to the American Studies Association (ASA) condemning its academic boycott of Israel.

Congressman Roskam announced this initiative on the House floor on Tuesday morning. Watch the video of his announcement, below. The bill will be referred to the House Committee on Education.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the U.S. correspondent for The Jewish Press. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com


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