Israeli universities hailed the decision of the American Anthropological Association on Tuesday to reject a resolution calling for an academic boycott of Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The narrow defeat of the resolution — 2,423 votes against and 2,384 in favor — came after a prolonged lobbying campaign by Israeli academics.
Prof. Peretz Lavie, president of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and head of the Association of University Heads in Israel (VERA), termed it a “significant achievement” for Israeli universities.
“Thanks to the combined and persistent struggle with the Israeli Anthropological Association, we were able to prevent the approval decision,” he said.
AAA reported that 51 percent of its eligible members voted, an unprecedented turnout.
“The membership has spoken and we hear them,” said AAA President Alisse Waterston.
“We appreciate this was a difficult vote on an important and contentious issue. I’m especially proud that our members participated in knowledgeable, thoughtful, respectful debate throughout the process, and that AAA offers a model for informed engagement on difficult subjects,” she said.
She added: “Now is the time for us to come together as an association steadfastly committed to advancing scholarly knowledge, to finding solutions to human and social problems, to giving voice to the underserved and to serving as a guardian of human rights.”
VERA had also enlisted various American academic groups in its lobbying effort.
Last month, leading universities including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Chicago and the 10 campuses of the University of California released statements reaffirming their opposition to academic boycotts and in solidarity with Israeli higher academic institutions.