Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have issued a bi-partisan statement condemning the American Studies Association’s recent decision to boycott Israeli universities and academic institutions, The Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday.
Sixty-nine Democrats and 65 Republicans signed the letter, an effort led by Representatives Peter Roksam (R-Illinois), Ted Deutch (D-Florida), Doug Collins (R-Georgia) and Brad Schneider (D-Illinois).
Roksam branded the ASA ’s boycott “bigoted and an affront to academic freedom.”
“This boycott doesn’t advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but only reinforces dangerous stereotypes that limit mutual understanding and cooperation — two things that should be at the very heart of our academic endeavors,” the signatories said in a joint statement.
“We therefore cannot tolerate these ignorant smear campaigns to isolate Israel and deteriorate the historic U.S.-Israel relationship.”
More than 200 American universities and six major U.S. academic organizations have declared their opposition to the boycott since the ASA decision.
On January 10, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver introduced a bill that would effectively prevent any public university in New York from receiving state funds if it joined the boycott.