Posted by: r.m. | December 16, 2013

YES to Solidarity! NO to Apartheid! YES TO BDS!

The vote is in! 2 to 1 – the membership has spoken!

The members of the American Studies Association have endorsed the Association’s participation in a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. In an election that attracted 1252 voters, the largest number of participants in the organization’s history, 66.05% of voters endorsed the resolution, while 30.5% of voters voted no and 3.43% abstained. The election was a response to the ASA National Council’s announcement on December 4 that it supported the academic boycott and, in an unprecedented action to ensure a democratic process, asked its membership for their approval.


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.”

And the ASA – the “oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history” in the United States – is following up this vote with action.

“…we are making plans to add a regular DuPont Circle-based staffer who will organize a joint task force with the members of the Departments, Programs and Centers Committee to provide support for programs under review or experiencing other challenges.”

Scholars supported the vote by citing the genocide of First Nation communities (aka – Native Americans), Jim Crow, Vietnam War protests, and the teachings of Edward Said as precedents for this historic decision.  Read their statements here

On December 12, the ASA National Council had unanimously endorsed the academic boycott of Israel. Today, December 16, the membership of the ASA – in a 2-to-1 vote – endorsed that statement.

This victory is the result of years of organized action.

This victory is the visualization of solidarity. This is what hope looks like. This is what solidarity looks like. This is what sustained action – in the face of limitations – looks like. This is what resisting despair looks like. 

This victory is one beautiful step towards the eradication of apartheid. It is one beautiful way to honor Mandela – and all the fighters for equality, and all those who resist apartheid and discrimination and oppression.

The word “YES” has never been so beautiful.

Yes to Hope. Yes to Solidarity. Yes to Ending Apartheid. Yes to Freedom and Equality.


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