Congressman Peter Roskam

Representing the 6th District of ILLINOIS

Roskam Leads Bipartisan Effort Opposing the Academic Boycott of Israel

Jan 17, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, a bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers condemned the American Studies Association’s (ASA) academic boycott of Israel. 134 Members of Congress, led by Reps. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Doug Collins (R-GA), and Brad Schneider (D-IL), sent a letter to ASA President Curtis Marez opposing ASA’s boycott as bigoted and an affront to academic freedom.

“We come together—Democrats and Republicans alike—to strongly condemn the ASA boycott, which undermines academic freedom and exhibits flagrant prejudice against the Jewish State of Israel,” said the House lawmakers. “This boycott doesn’t advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but only reinforces dangerous stereotypes that limit mutual understanding and cooperation—two things that should be at the very heart of our academic endeavors. We therefore cannot tolerate these ignorant smear campaigns to isolate Israel and deteriorate the historic U.S.-Israel relationship.”

The ASA boycott has been widely condemned by hundreds of universities and scholars, as well as the Association of American Universities, American Association of University Professors, and the American Council on Education.

Text of the letter is below and a PDF of the signed letter can be found here.

January 17, 2014

Mr. Curtis Marez                                                                                

President                                                                                  

American Studies Association                                                             

1120 19th St NW, Suite 301

Washington, DC 20036

Dear Mr. Marez:

We write in strong opposition to the American Studies Association’s (ASA) recent decision to boycott Israeli universities and academic institutions. While ASA has every right to express its views on policies pursued by any nation or government, we believe that the decision to blacklist Israeli academic institutions for Israeli government policies with which ASA disagrees demonstrates a blatant disregard for academic freedom.

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 just the opposite. The university is an institution intended to foster, encourage, and inspire constructive dialogue and original thought. However, this boycott undermines academic freedom by prohibiting educational and cultural exchanges with Israeli universities and academic institutions.

Even more concerning is the singular targeting of Israel for boycott. Like all democracies, Israel is not perfect. But to single out Israel, while leaving relationships with universities in autocratic and repressive countries intact, suggests thinly-veiled bigotry and bias against the Jewish State. This morally dishonest double standard has already been rejected by well over 100 university presidents, with several member universities even withdrawing from the organization in protest.

Some higher education organizations—including the American Association of University Professors, the American Council on Education, and the Association of American Universities—have denounced the boycott as unjust and harmful to the goals of academic freedom. Even Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejects boycotts of Israel, stating: “No, we do not support the boycott of Israel…We have relations with Israel, we have mutual recognition of Israel.”

Academic cooperation can be an important tool to help foster peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but you have chosen the unproductive path of isolation. We hope that the ASA will learn to appreciate the mutually beneficial academic ties between the United States and Israel and work with us to promote peace and academic freedom.

Sincerely,

Peter J. Roskam                                                                     

Theodore E. Deutch

Doug Collins

Bradley S. Schneider

Edward R. Royce

Eliot L. Engel

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Brad Sherman

Fred Upton

Henry A. Waxman

Peter T. King

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

James Lankford

Steve Israel

Pete Sessions

Chris Van Hollen

Leonard Lance

Sander M. Levin

Nita M. Lowey

Gus M. Bilirakis

Jerrold Nadler

Mike Pompeo

Patrick J. Tiberi

Frederica S. Wilson

Cory Gardner

Kevin Yoder

Jim Bridenstine

Kerry L. Bentivolio

Gene Green

Todd Rokita

Mark Pocan

William R. Keating

Aaron Schock

Dina Titus

Tom Marino

Marc A. Veasey

John Fleming

Jackie Walorski

Gerald E. Connolly

Ron DeSantis

Richard Hudson

Alan Grayson

James P. McGovern

Eric Swalwell

Tulsi Gabbard

George Holding

Luke Messer

Randy K. Weber, Sr.

Ted S. Yoho

Michael G. Grimm

Alan S. Lowenthal

Devin Nunes

Julia Brownley

Steve Stivers

Lois Frankel

Mike Quigley

David Schweikert

Pedro R. Pierluisi

Rush Holt

Joseph P. Kennedy III

Adam Kinzinger

Paul Cook

Bill Foster

Allyson Y. Schwartz

Tim Griffin

Jim Costa

Grace Meng

Alan Nunnelee

Derek Kilmer

Jared Polis

Joe Garcia

John B. Larson

Tom Reed

Mark Meadows

Patrick Murphy

Mike Kelly

Carol Shea-Porter

David P. Joyce

Juan Vargas

Gary C. Peters

John K. Delaney

Bill Johnson

Betty McCollum

Daniel Lipinski

Rodney Davis

Corrine Brown

Stephen F. Lynch

Tom Latham

Gregory W. Meeks

Louie Gohmert

Spencer Bachus

Bruce L. Braley

Carolyn B. Maloney

John Campbell

Albio Sires

Matt Salmon

Alcee L. Hastings

Janice D. Schakowsky

Bill Pascrell, Jr.

Steve Chabot

Christopher H. Smith

Doug Lamborn

Michele Bachmann

Steve Pearce

Doris O. Matsui

Trent Franks

Tim Walberg

Jim Gerlach

Mike Coffman

Robert E. Latta

James F. Sensenbrenner, Jr.

John Shimkus

Charles W. Dent

Brian Higgins

Suzan K. DelBene

Ann M. Kuster

Scott H. Peters

Steve Cohen

John A. Yarmuth

David Loebsack

Kathy Castor

James R. Langevin

Jeff Duncan

David N. Cicilline

Patrick Meehan

Randy Hultgren

Al Green

Steve Scalise

Adam B. Schiff

Paul C. Broun

Joseph Crowley

Denny Heck

Todd C. Young

Carolyn McCarthy

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