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US Academics Usher in New Year with Anti-Israel Vote

Stand for Israel  keeps you up-to-date on the various anti-Israel groups and movements that attempt to boycott or oppose the Jewish state. Last year we even attended a symposium against one of the most prominent academic organizations in the U.S. when it made an anti-Israel stand. Now, as 2015 begins, The Times of Israel’s Rebecca Shimoni Stoil reports on another academic body that has stopped just short of boycotting, divesting from, or sanctioning Israel – a resolution that will actually be harder to defeat:

As yet another American academic organization brings anti-Israel resolutions before its annual plenum, those monitoring the boycott, divest and sanctions movement against Israel eagerly wait to hear if the new year will start with a bang or a whimper.

The resolutions prepared by Historians Against the War (HAW) to be presented at the American Historical Association’s annual meeting January 2-5 in New York reflect a new direction for anti-Israel activism: condemnations of Israel’s policies and behaviors that stop short of calls to boycott, divest from, or sanction the state or Israeli institutions.

This new approach comes after 2014’s high-profile American Studies Association academic boycott vote and the subsequent fizzling of academic and professional organizations’ enforcement of new academic boycott rules — as Israeli academics participated in its conference.

The first of the two resolutions the group of historians plan to present next weekend is framed as “protecting the right to education in Palestine-Israel.” It accuses Israel of violating the principle of universal access to higher education (as delineated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) by refusing Gazan students the ability to travel to universities outside Gaza and restricting travel of foreign academics into Palestinian areas.

The first resolution also notes that “the Israeli Defense Forces bombed the Islamic University in Gaza which houses the Oral History Center,” alleging that this action is condemnable for violating historians’ traditional concern with the preservation of historical material.

If AHA, the largest association of historians in America, adopts the resolution, it would condemn “the acts of violence and intimidation by the State of Israel against Palestinian researchers and their archival collections, acts which can destroy Palestinians’ sense of historical identity as well as the historical record itself.”

The resolution calls for “an immediate halt to Israel’s policy of denying entry to foreign nationals seeking to promote educational development in the Occupied Palestinian Territories” and calls on Israel “to provide free access for Palestinian faculty and students alike to pursue their education wherever they choose.”

The second resolution, also sponsored by HAW, criticizes Israel for “arbitrarily” limiting the entry of foreign lecturers at Palestinian universities, which denies “faculty and students the rich experience enjoyed by their peers at Israeli universities and other universities around the world.”

This second resolution contains wording nearly identical to the first resolution, but also includes a demand that the “US Department of State honor the academic freedom of US citizens by contesting Israel’s denials of entry of US academics who have been invited to teach, confer or do research at Palestinian universities.”

Tags: Anti-Israel Bias , BDS

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