Here’s my take on the American Studies Association (ASA)’s “Academic Boycott of Israel”: It’s a depressing development, although for many reasons, it doesn’t surprise me. It disheartens, dismays, and (further) disillusions me. But it’s not a surprise.
For highly intelligent and eloquent responses to this development, I point you to the following:
Finally, and also not exactly an op-ed, but rather an opinion quoted in a reported article:
Emily Budick is a former member of the ASA and the Ann and Joseph Edelman chair in American studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The boycott likely won’t have much of a practical effect for her, she said – she’d let her membership in ASA lapse in favor of joining American studies organizations in Europe, closer to home – but in an interview she said she found the move by her former disciplinary association to be “painful” and “wrongheaded.”
“It’s just very painful, because what you’re dealing with is educated people who have some bizarre notion that this is the major site of moral turpitude in the world, and even that is so misguided; it’s so distorted,” said Budick, who’s also chair of Hebrew University’s English department. “But also to attack other academics, most of whom are probably dispositionally closer to them than not and who are also involved in teaching Arabs, Palestinians, Jews, Ethiopians: we teach everyone….Half of my American literature course last year was [made up of] Arab students. Not all of them were Palestinians. Some of them were Israeli Arabs, but some of them were Palestinians.”
“I don’t see what the practical implications are,” she said of the ASA boycott. “It seems to me a rather cowardly way of taking a moral stand, quite frankly.”
I really couldn’t have said it better myself.