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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Israeli Schools Thank US Academics for Solidarity Against Boycott

Israeli academic leadership thanked their American counterparts for calling out the American Studies Association which, hijacked by hatred, approved a boycott of Israeli academic institutions in the name of academic freedom.
Pres. of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Prof. Menachem Ben-Sasson. Oct. 9, 2013

Pres. of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Prof. Menachem Ben-Sasson. Oct. 9, 2013
Photo Credit: Flash 90

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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.

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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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6 Responses to “Israeli Schools Thank US Academics for Solidarity Against Boycott”

  1. I think it's great that there were numerous universities around the United States who chose to stand with good rather than evil. But, it would be a fool hearty notion to believe that this support is universal because sadly it's not. Here in Philadelphia where I live, the University of Pennsylvania has had BDS rallies. Columbia University invited Ahmadinejad to speak with the grand prize of having a few students to have dinner with him. Berkeley has been known to have anti Israel campaigns on their campus. Not to mention rabid anti Semite, professor Gallagher of Oxford or Cambridge University, I can't remember which one. Just to name a few examples. Still, we must be grateful and recognize the schools that chose to do the right thing and stand with Israel Isn't it a sad state of affairs when Israel has to thank others for supporting the most democratic and free society in the middle east if not the world for not boycotting them. Shorty after I found out about the BDS rally at Penn, I wrote to them and asked what was the main reasons why people go to school. The obvious answer is to gain the necessary skills needed to enter their chosen profession. But, if you look at a typical four year college degree program, the first two years are devoted to liberal arts. Why, so the student can touch on a subject that interests them enough to explore it as a career option and also so the student will become more worldly and open minded. When schools, organizations, governments, and political legions partake or condone hate campaigns, it lowers their credibility, stature, and legitimacy. Even though Penn is an Ivy League school, they certainly didn't act like it and my opinion of them is lowered. But, in fairness this concept applies across the board, not just a single school. What those of us who support Israel must start doing is making their voices heard and stand up against the forces of bigotry, evil, and hatred. We are outnumbered for sure but the only way they can win is by us not standing up and speaking out.

  2. BDS does not stand for all United States people and were sorry for our governments actions.

  3. Well, let's see how many of these "courageous" institutions also speak out against the anti-boycott bills — prospective laws that directly threaten academic freedom — currently pending in New York, Maryland and Florida, as well as in Congress.

  4. I am very moved by the academic community who fought against the boycott of Israeli academics by ASA. If the European Countries fought against persecution of Jews by the Nazis, there would not have been a Holocaust. Instead they turned their backs against their Jewish neighbors, reported them and stole all the Jewish property. They still live in our homes.
    Holocaust survivor

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