Temple, Drexel Join Condemnation of Academic Boycott of Israel

State Sen. Anthony Williams wants the Pennsylvania Legislature to take action.

The Temple News reports: “A statement signed by President Theobald and Provost Hai-Lung Dai opposing a boycott of Israeli academic institutions by the American Studies Association was released by the university Tuesday, Jan 7, joining more than 100 other national universities in denouncing the boycott.”

Here’s a statement from Drexel University President John Fry:

Drexel University is committed to a spirit of free inquiry, and to the clash of ideas which represents true critical engagement. These ideas form the core of academic freedom. The recent action by the American Studies Association to boycott Israeli Universities threatens to undermine this core commitment and the collaborations and intellectual inquiry through which it operates. We oppose it in sprit and in practice and encourage our faculty to range freely in their scholarship and creative work. In particular, our long-standing commitment to working with colleagues and academic institutions in Israel remains important to us as a community of scholars and to those for whom this research may present life-saving solutions. Open discourse, intellectual skepticism, and deep engagement rather than exclusion remain the surest ways to advancing knowledge and understanding.

The Inquirer in December listed other area universities that oppose the boycott:

Leaders at the University of Pennsylvania, Haverford College, Princeton University, Lehigh University, Temple University, and Penn State Harrisburg – the only Pennsylvania State University campus with a graduate program in American studies – are among schools to oppose the boycott approved this month by the American Studies Association.

The Jewish Press reports that State Sen. Anthony Williams wants the Pennsylvania Legislature to get involved:

Pennsylvania state senator Anthony Williams (D-8) is condemning as anti-Semitic the American Studies Association’s recent decision to boycott Israeli academics. Williams introduced a resolution into the Pennsylvania legislature on Tuesday, Jan. 6, in which he calls out the ASA and calls on all colleges and universities in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania to reject antisemitism and refuse to participate in the ASA’s boycott of Israel.

“I’ve been greatly disappointed by recent actions taken by people lauded as ‘scholars,’ and particularly offended by them as someone who fights for equal justice for all. The only glimmers of hope I’ve seen in this debacle are the rigorous and principled retorts and rebukes of the ASA boycott by academic leaders in our area, across Pennsylvania and across the country,” Williams said in a statement released to the public on Jan. 6.