NSJP Statement of Thanks and Solidarity with the American Studies Association

NSJP Statement of Thanks and Solidarity with the American Studies Association

On Monday morning, the National Council of the American Studies Association announced that its membership had voted – by a thundering two-thirds majority – to support the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

As members of the student movement, we thank the members of the ASA for this important contribution to the struggle, and for their bravery and integrity. We stand united with them in this decision, and in support of the principles and vision it represents.

We know that pressure on the ASA at this moment is overwhelming. And through our own efforts, we are all too familiar with organized initiatives that aim to misrepresent and silence the movement for justice in Palestine. Thanks to the ASA’s resolution, we are ever more strengthened in our resistance to these efforts.

We know that many are eager to accuse the professors who endorsed this boycott of violating academic freedom and the right to free inquiry. We categorically reject such accusations. We know that the Palestinian call for academic boycott has been made with care and caution by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, and that it differs from the academic boycott against the brutal racial capitalism of South Africa – the apartheid system.

PACBI calls for the institutional boycott of Israeli universities. Not the boycott of individuals. For that reason it does not infringe on the rights of individual Israeli scholars. Rather, it recognizes that rights are interlocking. Indeed, Israeli scholars have every right to research as they wish. What they may not do is officially represent their universities, or use their legitimate intellectual pursuits to veil the widely acknowledged complicity of the entire Israeli educational system in the regime of settler-colonialism that crushes the Palestinian people.

We hear the clear voices of our fellow students and teachers in Palestine and in the refugee camps of its neighbors. Their demand is not for charity. Nor does it exceptionalize Israel. Rather, the demand is that we take responsibility for what is occurring in Palestine into our own hands – that we refuse links with the universities that are part-and-parcel of the repressive apparatus, for it is those universities which develop counter-insurgency techniques, weapons, separation walls, and false narratives, all of the machinery the state deploys in its ongoing violence against Palestinians.

Far from stifling academic freedom, the ASA’s action shows that scholars in the United States can have honest and nuanced conversations about Israeli control of Palestinians, Palestinian liberation, and the role of the United States and its learning institutions in shaping consensus on both. We are increasingly confident in our knowledge that Palestine is no longer an issue the American academy is afraid to confront.

The ASA’s resolution is particularly significant for our collective understanding of the past and present of the United States within its borders and throughout the world. It is a refreshing echo of our revolutionary vision, for our movement cannot be divorced from the global capitalist conditions that affect all our lives. As students facing economic and intellectual attacks on our universities, our support for the Palestinian struggle is simultaneously a demand for justice at home – for our education, and for historical justice, not amnesia.

And we are proud of our professors for refusing to ignore the crimes of Israel. We are honored by their refusal to cover their ears, instead allowing the demands of Palestinians resisting occupation and colonialism to reach their minds and hearts. We salute them for adopting the more difficult and just path. Most of all, we are proud to stand alongside them in declaring that what is occurring in Palestine with our tax dollars will not continue with our idle complicity.

We know that supporters of Israeli racism are unnerved, and that they are lashing out at those who have gone out of their way to insist that a politically neutral academic freedom is a myth; that the right to inquire is nested amidst other freedoms – and that what Israel denies Palestinians is the right to have rights.

The members of the ASA have done something remarkable this week. They have opened a space for discussing and resisting Israeli crimes that did not exist before. There are those desperate to close that space. We urge our comrades, mentors, and teachers to remain steadfast amidst the pressure they face, for we are behind and among you. In the spirit of Audre Lorde: “without community, there is no liberation.” If all of us stand together, we are unmovable.

Thank you for your courage.

Ad Hoc Steering Committee, Students for Justice in Palestine – National

Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee
Health Awareness Club – City University of New York, Brooklyn College
Louisville Students for Justice in Palestine – University of Kentucky
Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán – University of California, San Diego
Michigan Women of Color Collective (M-WOCC) – University of Michigan
Right 2 Education Campaign – Birzeit University
Stanford University Students for Palestinian Equal Rights
Students Against Israeli Apartheid – George Mason University
Students Allied for Freedom and Equality- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Students for Justice in Palestine – American University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Antioch University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Binghamton University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Boston College
Students for Justice in Palestine – Bowdoin College
Students for Justice in Palestine – Brooklyn College
Students for Justice in Palestine – Brown University
Students for Justice in Palestine – California State University, Fullerton
Students for Justice in Palestine – City University of New York, School of Law
Students for Justice in Palestine – City University of New York, Staten Island
Students for Justice in Palestine – Cornell University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Depaul University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Drew University, New Jersey
Students for Justice in Palestine – Evergreen State College
Students for Justice in Palestine – Florida Atlantic University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Florida International University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Fort Wayne, Florida
Students for Justice in Palestine – George Washington University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Ithaca College
Students for Justice in Palestine – John Hopkins University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Loyola Marymount University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Loyola University, Chicago
Students for Justice in Palestine – Northwestern University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Rutgers, Newark
Students for Justice in Palestine – San Diego State University
Students for Justice in Palestine – University of California – Berkeley
Students for Justice in Palestine – University of California, Irvine
Students for Justice in Palestine – University of California, Los Angeles
Students for Justice in Palestine – University of California, Riverside
Students for Justice in Palestine – University of Florida
Students for Justice in Palestine – University of Maryland
Students for Justice in Palestine – University of New Mexico
Students for Justice in Palestine – University of Southern California
Students for Justice in Palestine – University of Toledo, Ohio
Students for Justice in Palestine – Yale University
Stanford Students for Palestinian Equal Rights – Stanford University

To sign on as a student group, please fill out this form – http://bit.ly/1cJnYCR

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