American Studies Association votes to boycott Israel

Proponents of an academic boycott of Israel hailed last week's endorsement by the American Studies Association as a sign that American scholars' attitudes have shifted significantly, writes Beth McMurtie for The Chronicle of Higher Education. In an online poll, 66% of the 1,252 members of the association who voted chose to back a resolution put forth by the group's governing council.

The vote made the group the second disciplinary association in the United States, after the Association of Asian American Studies, to support such a boycott this year. The boycott, which is driven by concern over Israel's treatment of Palestinians, is directed against higher education institutions and not, supporters emphasised, individual scholars.

Critics of the decision say not only that boycotts are antithetical to the value of academic freedom, but that it is impossible to boycott institutions without harming individual scholars. And they say the victory was less indicative of a sea change than of how out of touch the American Studies Association is with most of academe.
Full report on The Chronicle of Higher Education site