Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

American Historical Association Rejects Push for Anti-Israel Votes

Anti-Israel resolutions presented at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association were not voted on after members rejected a vote to suspend the group’s bylaws.

The resolutions were submitted to the American Historical Association, or AHA, by the independent group Historians Against the War. However, business meeting agenda items were supposed to be submitted by Nov. 1 to allow members time to plan to attend the annual meeting. The anti-Israel resolutions were submitted on Dec. 22, and did not appear on the business meeting agenda.

The three-day annual meeting opened on Jan. 2 in New York City.

In a vote Sunday night, members of the AHA declined by a vote of 144 to 54 to suspend the by-law on when the resolutions could be submitted, in order to allow the Historians Against the War to present the resolutions.

One resolution accused Israel of violating academic freedom, saying Israel “arbitrarily limits the entry of foreign nationals who seek to lecture, teach and attend conferences at Palestinian universities, denying both faculty and students the rich experience enjoyed by their peers at Israeli universities and other universities around the world,” and calls on the U.S. State Department to “honor the academic freedom of U.S. citizens by contesting Israel’s denials of U.S. academics who have been invited to teach, confer or do research at Palestinian universities.”

Another resolution calls on the AHA to condemn the “acts of violence and intimidation by the State of Israel against Palestinian researchers and their archival collections, acts which can destroy Palestinians’ sense of historical identity as well as the historical record itself ,” as well as other alleged violations of academic freedom. It also accuses Israel of bombing the Islamic University in Gaza in August.

A resolution calling for an academic boycott of Israel was rejected in November after it was found to be beyond matters “of concern to the Association, to the profession of history, or to the academic profession.”

Jan Goldstein, outgoing AHA president and a professor of history at the University of Chicago, told the meeting that several leadership-sponsored sessions for the 2016 annual meeting have already been reserved for discussions of the Israel-Palestine conflict and related concerns about academic freedom, according to Inside Higher Education.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.