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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776
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The Pro-Israel Backlash to Anti-Israel Activity Continues

The last time the Philadelphia City Council condemned a boycott of Israel was 40 years ago. But that boycott was by Arabs, not American academics.
Philadelphia City Council member Kenyatta Johnson (D) introduced a resolution condemning the ASA boycott of Israeli academic institutions

Philadelphia City Council member Kenyatta Johnson (D) introduced a resolution condemning the ASA boycott of Israeli academic institutions
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“Institutions of Higher Learning are the foundation for the exchange of ideas, and should be an open floor for discussions of philosophical and political thought. This boycott stifles all of this and goes against the very essence of free speech,” Johnson wrote.

A copy of the entire Resolution can be seen at Legal Insurrection, which also shows a 1965 resolution from the Philadelphia City Council of that time, condemning a boycott against Israel.

That anti-boycott of Israel resolution is nearly 40 years old.  But it is significant in several other ways. For one thing, the member introducing the legislation, George X. Schwartz, was Jewish and was introducing the measure at the request of a Jewish organization. Even more striking is that the 1965 measure condemned a boycott of Israel by Arabs, not by American academics.  One step forward, one step (at least) backwards.

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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