Opposition to the American Studies Association vote to support the anti-Israel boycott gained momentum this week as a number of leading universities came out against the ASA, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Over three dozen schools, including Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, Duke, Stanford, Brown, the University of Chicago, New York University, Wesleyan and Washington University in St. Louis, condemned the boycott in recent days.
The executive committee of the Association of American Universities, representing 62 schools across the U.S. and Canada, has also rejected the boycott.
The ASA, a group of loosely affiliated university departments and individual professors, voted on December 4 to boycott Israeli universities and some Israeli cultural institutions.
Congressman Eliot Engel, ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sent a letter to ASA president Curtis Marez on Monday denouncing the bias inherent in the boycott.
“Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas himself made clear that his government does not support boycotts of the institutions that the ASA is now targeting,” Engel wrote.
“Israel is the first country formally subject to a boycott by the ASA,” he continued, “which curiously has chosen to stay silent on China’s suppression of independent academic voices critical of the Communist Party, the Venezuelan government’s retaliation against opposition-oriented universities, or Zimbabwe’s denial of foreign academics from countries critical of Robert Mugabe’s dictatorial government from assuming academic residencies at the University of Zimbabwe.”
Engel attached to his letter the U.S. State Department’s long list of nations that trample on academic freedom or the rights of their citizens.