Palestinian, Arab American scholars back ASA’s Israel boycott, condemn “intimidation”

A Palestinian man reads an Israeli order temporarily closing the studies center of Al-Quds University, in occupied Jerusalem’s Old City on 1 October 2013, to prevent a press conference by the Coalition for Jerusalem.

Saeed Qaq APA images

The following sign-on statement from Palestinian and other Arab-American scholars and writers comes in the wake of the American Studies Association (ASA) vote to endorse the academic boycott of Israeli institutions, and the backlash against it by anti-Palestinian groups.

Statement of Support for the American Studies Association

We, the undersigned Palestinian and other Arab-American scholars and writers as well as Arab scholars in the United States affirm our strong solidarity with the American Studies Association’s position in favor of the boycott of Israeli academic institutions

We also condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the expressions of hate and intimidation to which ASA members are being subjected, tactics that are illegal or verge on illegality under US law.

We express our heartfelt gratitude to the ASA – and to all other academic associations including the Association for Asian American Studies and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) – that have taken this principled and courageous stand despite the fierce backlash from organizations that support Israel’s atrocious and decades-old human rights record of military occupation and dispossession of the Palestinian people and their lands.

We appreciate your recognition of the 2005 Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) and its three rights-based demands as one for solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle for self-determination.

We further express our appreciation of your recognition that BDS is a legitimate, non-violent tool of resistance by peoples enduring settler-colonialism, occupation, and apartheid. The effectiveness of this form of struggle was demonstrated during the South African struggle for freedom, justice and equality and is now being demonstrated by the Palestinian-led BDS movement, which represents all major political and civil society forces within and beyond Palestine.

We welcome ASA’s stand as an affirmation of the decades of groundwork laid by earlier generations of Arab American scholars in the study of the impact of the US-Israeli alliance in the Middle East and the United States. For many years Arab American scholars as well as Arab scholars in the US have worked in isolation and those tackling this issue have faced a grueling combination of anti-Arab racism, Islamophobia, and various levels of censorship with little or no support from most professional organizations.

By broadening the possibility for critical discussion and debate about the US, Palestine, and Israel, the ASA’s stand has created a new opening that will help to challenge the attack on academic freedom that Palestinian and Arab-American scholars and our allies encounter in the US.

We strongly uphold the principles of free speech and association guaranteed in US jurisprudence and demand that the legal protections offered by these guarantees be extended to our colleagues in the ASA without delay.

We urge all of our colleagues of whatever ethnicity to support the ASA by:

  • Becoming a member of the ASA and/or making a donation to the organization,
  • Encouraging your department to join the ASA.
  • Writing a letter of support to the ASA.

Institutional affiliation for purposes of identification only.

Signed:

  • Rabab Abdulhadi, Associate Professor, San Francisco State University
  • Lila Abu-Lughod, Columbia University.
  • Bashir Abu-Manneh, Visiting Assistant Prof., Brown University.
  • Ali Abunimah.
  • Samer Alatout, Associate Professor.
  • Evelyn Alsultany, University of Michigan.
  • Paul Amar, University of California Santa Barbara.
  • Sam Bahour, Co-editor, Homeland: Oral History of Palestine and Palestinians and political pundit at ePalestine.com
  • Riham Barghouti, Teacher, NYC and Founding Member, Adalah-NY
  • Moustafa Bayoumi, Associate Professor, Brooklyn College, City University of New York.
  • Hatem Bazian, University of California Berkeley and American Muslims for Palestine.
  • George Bisharat, Professor of Law, UC Hastings College of the Law.
  • Lara Deeb, Scripps College, Department of Anthropology
  • Noura Erakat, Freedman Fellow, Temple Law School
  • Samera Esmeir, Associate Professor, Department of Rhetoric, University of California Berkeley.
  • Leila Farsakh, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Massachusetts Boston.
  • Nadia Guessous, Rutgers.
  • Layla Azmi Goushey, doctoral student in Adult Education, Teaching and Learning Processes, University of Missouri; Assistant Professor of English, St. Louis Community College.
  • Bassam Haddad, Director, Middle East Studies Program, Associate Professor, Department of Public and International Affairs, George Mason University.
  • Toufic Haddad, senior teaching fellow, School of Oriental and African Studies.
  • Elaine Hagopian, Prof. Emerita of Sociology, Simmons College, Boston.
  • Lisa Hajjar, Professor of Sociology, University of California Santa Barbara.
  • Wael Hallaq, Columbia University.
  • Nadia Hijab, Co-Founder and Director, Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network.
  • Amira Jarmakani, Georgia State University.
  • Rania Jawad, Assistant Professor, Birzeit University.
  • Suad Joseph, University of California, Davis
  • Nour Joudah, Institute for Palestine Studies.
  • Rhoda Kanaaneh, Visiting Researcher, Center for Palestine Studies, Columbia University.
  • Remi Kanazi, poet and writer.
  • Ahmed Kanna, University of the Pacific
  • Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies, Department of History, Columbia University
  • Lisa Majaj, Independent Scholar.
  • Saree Makdisi, professor of English, University of California Los Angeles.
  • Dr. John Makhoul.
  • Nadine Naber, Associate Professor, Gender and Women’s Studies, Asian American Studies, University of Illinois, Chicago.
  • Dena Qaddumi, Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies; Policy Member, Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network.
  • Steven Salaita, Associate Professor, Virginia Tech.
  • Therese Saliba, Evergreen State College.
  • Aseel Sawalha, Department of Anthropology, Fordham University
  • Sherene Seikaly, Director, Middle East Studies Center, The American University in Cairo.
  • Julie M. Zito, PhD, Professor of Pharmacy and Psychiatry, University of Maryland, Baltimore.

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Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.