The American Studies Association said its members voted to endorse the Association’s participation in a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
The ASA said 66.05% voted in favor, 30.5% voted against and 3.43% abstained. While the ASA said the vote signified the largest turnout in its association history, at only about 25% of its 5,000 members, it would mean that only 16% actually voted in favor of the resolution.
Others vilified the decision and said that it had abrogated the ASA’s U.S. 501(c)(3) tax exemption charter, which does not allow non-profits to take political positions. William A. Jacobson, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Securities Law Clinic at Cornell Law School, and the author of the LegalInsurrection.com blog said he, with the help of tax lawyer expert Alan P. Dye, Esq., Partner at Webster, Chamberlain & Bean, LLP, would challenge the ASA’s status because of the vote.
In a statement, the ASA said, “The resolution is in solidarity with scholars and students deprived of their academic freedom and it aspires to enlarge that freedom for all, including Palestinians. The ASA’s endorsement of the academic boycott emerges from the context of US military and other support for Israel; Israel’s violation of international law and UN resolutions; the documented impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian scholars and students; the extent to which Israeli institutions of higher education are a party to state policies that violate human rights; and finally, the support of such a resolution by a majority of ASA members.”