Boycott Study Abroad in Israel | Research to Assist Your Campaign

The US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel is working with organizations, faculty and students to Boycott Study Abroad in Israel on campuses and communities across the country and around the world. The research overview below provides background information, analysis, specific problematic programs and resources to learn more and help you organize at your school, college or university. Visit the campaign page for more resources and to take the pledge! You can also download our activist toolkit for organizers.

Research Overview                                                               

For most American universities and colleges, Study Abroad programs are a revenue-saving component of their operations. Typically, it is cheaper to house and educate students overseas than at home, while equivalent or premium fees are charged for tuition and board. In addition, these options are attractive to students, and, in some cases, the locations offer geographical and cultural opportunities that are not available at home.

In the case of Study Abroad in Israel (SAI), there are political reasons for the proliferation of these programs. Over the last decade, a concerted effort has made, as part of hasbara (the pro-Israel propaganda initiative) by Israeli authorities and allied Zionist organizations to attract and recruit high-profile American varsity names. Beginning in 2010, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in partnership with Masa and the Jewish Agency, set out to target elite U.S. universities as part of this effort. Delegations of senior officials were invited to Israel, and funding was extended to help these officials explore the establishment of programs. In a sense, these programs are part of Israel’s strategy of “edu-washing” the Occupation and its apartheid regime i.e. using higher education to cover up Israel’s systematic abuses of human rights as well as its violation of the right to education of Palestinians.

Israeli elites, and leaders of allied international Zionist organizations, are well aware that American campuses are a battleground, and that they risk losing the support of a generation of educated youth, and especially young Jews, for the Israeli state. Study Abroad programs in Israel are seen as a complement to Birthright Israel trips for Jewish youth and the Israel Experience in the business of winning hearts and minds. Indeed, they are often marketed to Jewish students as the next step after the short, initial trip offered through Birthright Israel.

Regardless of the motivations behind the establishment of these programs, entry to Israel is increasingly restricted, and many population groups risk being rejected and subjected to interrogation and detention, whether because of student’s ethnic or religious background, or their political orientation. In every instance, these restrictions and the accompanying harassment, including for those targeted by Israel’s travel ban on BDS supporters, are outright violations of the principles of nondiscrimination upheld in every American institution of higher education as well as the principle of freedom of political expression.

In addition, most of these SAI programs are offered in affiliation with an Israeli university, and so they are embedded in Israeli academic institutions and rely, however indirectly, on Israeli state funding. They are complicit with the well-documented research and pedagogical role that these universities play in enabling the occupation, Israel’s apartheid policies, and settlement-building on and theft of Palestinian land, as well as propagating Zionist mythologies and racist narratives about Palestine and Palestinians and censoring Palestinian students. In some cases, these SAI programs also are complicit in state-centered national security, counterterrorism, and policing projects and part of the collaboration between the U.S. and Israel in programs targeting Arabs, Muslims, and communities of color.

Here is a selective list of U.S. colleges and universities that offer Study Abroad programs in Israel. If your college is on the list, then it is out of compliance with campus rules against discrimination, in addition to violating the academic boycott of Israeli institutions. Make a plan to research your school’s program(s) and use the Toolkit resources to challenge its existence.

N.B. Many more campuses (not on this list) offer students access to, or help in enrolling in, existing programs at Israeli universities that welcome international students. If credit earned at these programs is accepted at your school then it is also be in violation.

Boston UniversityTel Aviv,  Haifa

Cornell UniversityBen Gurion, Haifa, Hebrew, Technion, Tel Aviv

American UniversityArava, Hebrew, Tel Aviv, Haifa

New York UniversityTel Aviv

Georgetown University–Tel Aviv

Arizona State UniversityHaifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem

Case Western Reserve University—Technion

University of MiamiJerusalem  

Barnard CollegeBen Gurion, Haifa, Tel Aviv

Harvard UniversityHebrew University

University of Texas–Haifa, Tel Aviv

George Mason UniversityJerusalem, Tel Aviv, Tiberias

Emory University, Tel Aviv

University of ChicagoJerusalem

Dickinson College Ben Gurion

University of CaliforniaHebrew, Technion   

California State University–Haifa  

University of BaltimoreHaifa

University of PennsylvaniaBen Gurion

Syracuse UniversityHerzliya

Long Island University PostBen Gurion

University of MarylandTel Aviv, Haifa

Rutgers UniversityHebrew, Haifa

University of Massachusetts–Haifa

Boston UniversityHaifa

Princeton UniversityHaifa, Tel Aviv

Washington UniversityHerzliya

Virginia Commonwealth UniversityHebrew

University of Wisconsin-Madison Hebrew

University of PittsburghJerusalem, Tel Aviv

Brandeis UniversityHaifa, Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion

University of WyomingJerusalem, Tel Aviv

University of Kansas–Tel Aviv,Jerusalem

University of Virginia–Tel Aviv, Jerusalem

Yale UniversityHaifa

Tulane UniversityTel Aviv

University of Michigan--Tel Aviv, Jerusalem

CUNY–Ben Gurion, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem

SUNY– Haifa, Hebrew, Tel Aviv, Technion

Central Washington University-Eilat

University of MarylandTel Aviv

Wesleyan University-Ben Gurion, Hebrew, Haifa


US State Department Travel Advisory

PACBI– Guidelines for the International Academic Boycott of Israel

USACBI –We Will not Study in Israel Until Palestinians Can Return

USACBI/JVP Academic Advisory Council FAQ on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions

USACBI Pamphlet for Students on Academic Boycott of Israel

Report: Palestinian Universities Under Occupation. EPACBI, July 2015

NYU Student Senate Resolution on NYU Tel Aviv Study Abroad

Restrictions on foreign scholars teaching at Birzeit University

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation-Divestment Guide


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