The American Anthropological Association has voted overwhelmingly in favor of a motion to support the academic boycott of Israel.
If the move wins final approval, it would make the AAA the largest academic organization in the U.S. to come out for the boycott. Dozens of major American universities including Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Princeton and the Universities of Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Texas at Austin, have voted to reject the boycott.
The resolution carried by a vote of 1040-36, of 1,400 members in its annual conference in Denver. A final vote is set for April, when over 10,000 members will vote whether to make it official.
“The phenomenon of academic boycotts has intensified and in recent years expanded beyond the marginal radical borders of academia and onto leading U.S. campuses,” said Prof. Peretz Lavie, president of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and chairman of the Association of University Heads in Israel, following the vote.
“This phenomenon is likely to cause heavy damage to research, reliant on international cooperation, which in turn will also affect industry, the economy, and the future resilience of the state of Israel,” he said.
“We must recognize the issue as a matter of national importance and jointly act to halt and prevent the spread of this phenomenon,” he said.
The Global Jewish Advocacy group denounced the decision. Dan Elbaum, AJC Assistant Executive Director, said in a statement.
“In Denver AAA members lost sight of their mission, determining the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be solved by boycotting the colleges and universities of the Middle East’s only democracy. Only Israel’s schools of higher education, where Jews and Arabs study together, merit AAA condemnation,” he continued.