Boycott of Israeli universities angers NY zionist lawmakers
Two New York legislators say they will introduce a bill to strip state aid from universities that take part in a recent movement to boycott Israeli academic centers.
State Sen. Jeff Klein, a Bronx Democrat, and Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Brooklyn Democrat who is also a former member of the Jewish Defense League that was classified as a “terrorist group” by the FBI in 2001, say they want to cut off state aid to universities affiliated with the American Studies Association’s movement to boycott Israeli institutions.
Earlier this month, members of the ASA overwhelmingly voted to ban Israeli universities from collaborations with their campuses.
The organization said the reason behind its decision was that the Israeli insitutions were “a party” to policies “that violate human rights” as Israel’s “violation of international law and UN resolutions” continues and the “impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian scholars and students” is well-documented.
“The American Studies Association is carrying on a long and proud tradition of American academics by engaging in an academic boycott much like many professors did during apartheid South Africa,” Michael Shallcross, a member of Students for Justice in Palestine at Temple University in Philadelphia, told Press TV.
However, the move, which is part of a larger international effort to win boycotts of Israeli institutions, angered some US politicians both at state and federal level.
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-New York) has urged the ASA to end the boycott, saying he was surprised by the organization’s decision.
And now, two pro-Israel Democrats in New York’s state legislature, Klein and Hikind, are trying to cut state aid to universities affiliated with the movement.
“[It] is a shameless attempt at censorship by powerful Zionist politicians in New York State by cutting off economic life lines that make higher education possible,” Shallcross said.
The ASA is the largest and oldest association involved in interdisciplinary studies of American culture and history.