The decision last week by a US organization of scholars to boycott Israeli academic institutions has ignited debate on college campuses around New England and beyond about academic freedom, the role of politics in scholarly life, and US support for Israel.
The American Studies Association said its boycott was to protest Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and what it described as the involvement of Israeli universities in supporting government policy.
Since the association announced the boycott Dec. 16, prominent academic leaders — including Boston University president Robert A. Brown, Harvard president Drew Faust, Yale president Peter Salovey, and Faust’s predecessor, Lawrence H. Summers — have condemned the move as a violation of academic freedom.
The American Studies program at Brandeis University is withdrawing from the national American Studies Association in protest, and Brandeis President Fred Lawrence on Tuesday issued a statement urging other universities to “follow our lead and disassociate from the ASA.”
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