By Bill Korach www.thereportcard.org
The American Studies Association is the nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history. This influential and very far left group have decided that democratic Israel deserves a US boycott, while the terrorist Palestinians deserve support and encouragement. Four of the six members of the executive committee signed a 2009 letter to President Obama that described Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians as “one of the most massive ethnocidal atrocities of modern times” and declared that a one-state solution, which would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state, is “almost certainly” the only road to peace.
The hypocrisy of supporting the Palestinians who practically invented terror against women and children and who teach their children to be suicide bombers, while condemning Israel where Muslim, Jew and Christian live together in peace is truly breath-taking.
Not all of the membership supported this action by President Curtis Marez. According Jonathan Marks, professor of politics at Ursinus College said in yesterdays Wall Street Journal:
“Evidently, while the rest of us scholars were teaching classes and conducting research, some other professor-activists were figuring out how to take over the American Studies Association. Well, hats off to them. They succeeded.
Make no mistake: Supporting the U.S. boycott campaign is not merely a way of criticizing Israel or expressing solidarity with Palestinians. The campaign calls for boycotting “Palestinian/Arab-Israeli collaborative research projects or events.” In other words, it actively discourages opportunities for cooperation and mutual understanding. And while the campaign does not condone a blacklist of Israeli academics, it does warn that “all academic exchanges with Israeli academics do have the effect of normalizing Israel and its politics of occupation and apartheid.”
It is heartening that eight past presidents of the American Studies Association, along with more than 50 other members, signed a letter calling the resolution “discrimination pure and simple.” But the association’s current president, Curtis Marez, refused repeated requests from opponents of the boycott to communicate their arguments to the membership. Instead, the ASA’s national council posted a 1,200-word manifesto in favor of the resolution on its website.
The ASA’s Facebook administrators made the concession to welcome posts from “all sides” hours after the online magazine InsideHigherEd, widely read among academics, published a blistering piece by Henry Reichman of the American Association of University Professors decrying the “one-sided and disingenuous presentations sadly offered on ASA’s website.” The same day, InsideHigherEd reported on another letter, signed by the eight former association presidents, exposing how the “membership vote [was] being undertaken with only one side of a complex question presented.”
What’s remarkable is that supporters of the boycott thought they needed to rig the game in an organization that has long had a powerful radical left-wing. Over a decade ago, the sociologist Alan Wolfe wrote about the rise of a cohort of American Studies scholars who had “developed a hatred for America so visceral that it [made] one wonder why they [bothered] studying America at all.” There is good reason to think that the resolution would have won without the leadership stacking the deck. By doing so, boycott supporters have thoroughly discredited their victory.
True scholars, unlike activists, are for the most part not joiners. But if we—myself included—do not join together to save our professional associations from anti-Israel activists, we will bear part of the blame for erasing the line between scholarly work and propaganda.”
We point out that anti-Israel, anti-American academic activists have a tremendous influence on what gets taught in K-12. These people may be in the numerical minority, but they have succeeded in controlling the megaphone. As a result, our children are being fed a steady stream of indoctrination and propaganda. Professor Marks is correct, if more people don’t stand up to the radical “blame America and Israel first” crowd, academic freedom, and all of our freedom will be a distant memory.