Association of American Universities Condemns Academic Boycotts of Israel

Such Actions 'Directly Violate Academic Freedom'

By Michael Kaplan

Published December 23, 2013.
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The Association of American Universities issued a statement late last week condemning rising support for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions, arguing that it infringes upon principles of academic freedom.

The statement, representing 62 American and Canadian universities, comes a week after the American Studies Association passed a resolution to “honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.”

“Any such boycott of academic institutions,” the AAU statement read, “directly violates academic freedom, which is a fundamental principle of AAU universities and of American higher education in general… We urge American scholars and scholars around the world who believe in academic freedom to oppose this and other such academic boycotts.”

The statement was signed by 11 members of the organization’s Executive Committee, all leading figures in higher education.

A number of universities have since published statements to their websites similarly condemning academic boycott, also citing issues with academic freedom.

“To restrict the free flow of people and ideas with some universities because of their national identity is unwise, unnecessary, and irreconcilable with our core academic values,” read a statement published by the Office of the President at the University of Maryland.

The AAU statement marks the most significant academic push-back yet against ASA’s controversial resolution and follows a wave of concerns expressed by other institutions about an infringement on academic freedom, which led to the withdrawal of two of its member organizations.


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