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August 2, 2014 / 6 Av, 5774
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Israeli Schools Thank US Academics for Solidarity Against Boycott

The leadership of Israeli academic institutions sent a letter of gratitude to the American academic institutions who condemned the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israeli academic institutions which was passed late last year.

Menachem Ben-Sasson, chair of the Council of University Presidents in Israel, and president of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, sent the letter of gratitude. In it, he addressed the literally hundreds of American university presidents and heads of academic associations who refused to remain silent in the face of an outlandish inversion of academic freedom.

Those academics refused to ignore an American academic association, hijacked by hatred of Israel, which had approved a boycott of academics solely on the basis of national origin and on the policies of an independent government.

The letter from Ben-Sasson, and on behalf of every Israeli academic institution, thanks their American counterparts “for both your courage and for your steadfast adherence to the principle of free and independent scientific thought.”

“We hope that the collaborative efforts between Israeli universities and leading research institutions around the world will increase and expand,” Ben-Sasson concluded.

The letter was sent to Hillel International so that it could be distributed to the American academic leadership who publicly opposed the misguided ASA boycott of Israeli academics and their institutions.

Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of Hillel International said that Hillel is working to distribute the Israeli message of gratitude to the American university leadership.

The ASA approved its resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions and all Israeli academics speaking either on behalf of their institution or the Israeli government in December, 2013.

The response from American university leadership was resounding: do not claim to act on behalf of academic freedom when instituting an academic boycott!

Even the heads of universities who have turned their heads and ignored viciously hostile anti-Israel activities on their campuses which were in many instances officially supported by their own institutions, responded with condemnation.

The universities which have publicly condemned the ASA Israel boycott include Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Brown University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Stanford University, Wesleyan University, Middlebury College, Catholic University of America, Trinity College, Brandeis University, Penn State University (Harrisburg), Kenyon College, Indiana University, Smith College and more than 200 0thers.

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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