Oppose the BDS Movement
Oppose the BDS Movement
We write in strong opposition to the American Studies Association’s (ASA) recent decision to boycott Israeli universities and academic institutions. PSU President Wim Wievel, along with 250 other university presidents, has also publicly denounced the ASA’s decision to support the boycott of Israeli institutions. And they are not alone. The American Council on Education, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, Association of American Universities (which represent 62 top institutions in the U.S. and Canada), and the American Association of University Professors (with over 48,000 members) have all expressed strong opposition to the boycott.
President Wim Wievel argues that “as academics, we are committed to the free and open exchange of ideas and knowledge. Thus, in principle, organizational attempts to stifle such exchange are antithetical to our beliefs.” He also says that “In the case of Israel, while reasonable people can certainly debate the merits of any number of specific policies and programs, the totality of the practices and beliefs of the country does not even come close to meriting a boycott.”
As students, alumni, faculty, staff of PSU and members of the Greater Portland community, we declare our support for the continued relationship between the Democratic state of Israel and Portland State University. In this open letter we affirm our complete rejection of the ASA resolution and our continued resolve to oppose the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement on our campus.
The ASA claims that the boycott “is in solidarity with scholars and students deprived of their academic freedom and it aspires to enlarge that freedom for all, including Palestinians.” We believe that this boycott accomplishes nothing of the sort. Efforts to address political issues, or to address restrictions on academic freedom, should not themselves violate academic freedom. Restrictions imposed on the ability of scholars of any particular country to work with their fellow academics in other countries, infringes upon academic freedom.
The BDS Movement advocates for the use of a divisive set of tools that aim to single out and demonize Israel as the sole contributor to a complex conflict. And like all democracies, Israel is not perfect. But to single out Israel, while ignoring the repression of academic freedom in non-democratic countries, suggests thinly-veiled bigotry and prejudice against the Jewish State. Real peace, where Israelis and Palestinians can live side-by-side in their respective states, in security, will only come about through a mutually negotiated agreement between both parties.
We the undersigned applaud the efforts of the 250 university presidents, 134 House of Representative Members and the above listed organizations for standing with Israel and for real peace. We renounce the ASA’s call to boycott Israeli institutions and reaffirm our commitment to strengthen the American-Israeli academic relationship.