Conference of Presidents Calls on University Presidents to Publicly Drop All Support of ASA

New York, NY

In a letter sent to the presidents of all universities associated with the American Studies Association (ASA), Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations leaders, Robert G. Sugarman, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, CEO, urged them to disassociate from the ASA and to remove any funding used for faculty travel or participation in the Association. They called for public statements citing the examples from Larry Summers, Past President of Harvard University, the Association of American Universities (AAU), Frederick Lawrence, President of Brandeis University, and Mukund Kulkarni, Chancellor of Penn State University Harrisburg.

 

The leaders wrote, “We write out of deep concern at the action taken by the ASA to boycott Israeli universities. This is a blatant affront to academic freedom and unjustifiably targets Israel. It is inconceivable to us that Israel, the sole true democracy in the Middle East, which honors academic freedom, should be so demonized and delegitimized. The true serial violators of human rights like Iran, Syria, Cuba, Sudan, North Korea, as well as many others, are ignored. Israel’s record speaks for itself with its universities welcoming students of every religious, ethnic, and national background”.

 

Mr. Sugarman and Mr. Hoenlein noted that “Without a proper response to the ASA action, there will be continued acts of discrimination with escalating consequences. We cannot dismiss these initiatives as the acts of a radical few who manipulate the larger organization. These measures will only further isolate, damage, and denigrate Israel and Israeli academic institutions.”

 

We call on the presidents to publicly reject this academic boycott and the Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) campaign against Israel by denying any funds, direct or indirect, to the ASA or any other body that adopts similar measures”.

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The Conference of Presidents is the central coordinating body representing 50 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern

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