The National Council of the American Studies Association is deliberating a proposed resolution to endorse a boycott of Israeli universities, and a decision is expected before Thanksgiving, according to the executive director of the association, John F. Stephens. The council had a long meeting on Sunday morning, at which many thought there would be a decision, but the meeting is still technically considered to be in session.
. . . In an interview, Sunaina Maira, one of the organizers of the resolution and a professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California at Davis, described what she observed while teaching at the Al-Quds Bard Honors College, in the West Bank, including systems of checkpoints and travel permits that extended Palestinian students' commutes to campus, and Israeli military incursions on the Al-Quds campus (the latter being an issue that the Middle East Studies Association recently wrote a letter about). "Seeing what Palestinian scholars and students go through on a daily basis just to get to school, as they navigate these checkpoints…. the many conditions that obstruct their access to education, I think that's what moved many of us to think about this resolution as a very small way that there could be a kind of civil society response here," said Maira, who's a member of the ASA's National Council.
. . . In an opinion piece published on the website of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, a pro-Israel organization, Roberta Seid, a historian and lecturer at the University of California at Irvine, opposed the resolution both because she said it violates principles of academic freedom and because "it is based on false or disputed accusations against Israel" (which she subsequently details).
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