The members of the American Studies Association have overwhelmingly voted to endorse the ASA’s participation in a Palestinian call for an academic boycott of Israel. Following the recommendation of a pro-boycott resolution by the National Council, ASA members voted 66.05 per cent in favour, with 30.5 per cent voting no and 3.43 per cent abstaining. Total ballots cast were 1,252 voters.
Even before the results were known, the vote was described by The New York Times as a “milestone” in the academic boycott campaign, itself part of the wider BDS movement that has been making progress since Palestinian civil society first issued the call in 2005.
Support for BDS in the ASA has provoked the anger of pro-Israel advocates, and in the run up to today’s announcement, there were various attempts made to influence members’ decision against the boycott – albeit with a sense of resignation about the likely outcome.
However, there were also many public supporters of the BDS campaign and academic boycott in particular, including Judith Butler, Omar Barghouti, Steven Salaita, Alex Lubin, and David Lloyd. The official announcement from the ASA also includes a number of endorsements of the boycott by members.