We in the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) congratulate the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) for their historic and principled decision to support the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The resolution that was passed at the national conference of AAAS makes clear the commitment of the AAAS “to the preservation and support of academic freedom and of the right to education for students and scholars in the U.S. and globally” and “the protected rights of students and scholars everywhere to engage in research and public speaking about Israel-Palestine.”
This resolution makes the AAAS the first national, professional academic organization in the U.S. to honor the call of Palestinian civil society to boycott “Israeli academic institutions [which] are deeply complicit in Israel’s violations of international law and human rights and in its denial of the right to education and academic freedom to Palestinians, in addition to their basic rights as guaranteed by international law.”
It is inspiring that scholars in the AAAS have taken this step to express the anti-colonial, anti-racist, and anti-war principles that are core to Asian American and ethnic studies, noting that “the Association for Asian American Studies seeks to advance a critique of U.S. empire, opposing US military occupation in the Arab world and U.S. support for occupation and racist practices by the Israeli state.” This is also an important act of solidarity, given that “Arab (West Asian) and Muslim American communities, students, and scholars have been subjected to profiling, surveillance, and civil rights violations that have circumscribed their freedom of political expression, particularly in relation to the issue of human rights in Palestine-Israel.”
We hope that this resolution will inspire other US academic associations and scholars everywhere to follow the path of AAAS and endorse the academic boycott. The resolution supports the academic freedom of scholars and students in Palestine, as well as in the US, and challenges the exceptional silencing of critical discussion of Palestine in the US academy. As the movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) grows globally, it is apparent that the AAAS is courageous, pioneering, and on the right side of history, willing to take actions to realize a world free of colonialism, apartheid, occupation, and war.