New York, NY (January 29, 2014)—The National Association of Scholars (NAS) released a statement today calling on the higher education community to stand against the movement to boycott Israeli institutions.
The statement, “Singling Out Israel: Why We Oppose the Boycott,” contrasts with the recent declarations in support of boycotts by academic associations such as the Asian Studies Association, the American Studies Association (ASA), and the Native American Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA). These associations have also urged American colleges and universities to marginalize Israel by divesting from Israeli companies and creating sanctions against the state.
Such threats are antithetical to the mission of higher education, the NAS argues.
“Colleges and universities should be above politics,” the statement says. “They should be devoted to good argument, sound evidence, eloquence in defense of basic principles, consistency, and integrity.”
Dr. Peter Wood, president of the NAS, said, “Boycotts undermine academic freedom. They turn colleges and universities into political machines that can force the outcomes they want.”
Dr. Wood continued, “The academy ought to cultivate the ability to persuade, not to strong-arm. While individuals in academe are entitled to make arguments for their views, that entitlement does not extend to an institution acting as a political instrument. We will always have political differences in our country and on our campuses, but those are questions that must be dealt with in reasoned debate, not in boycott.”
The National Association of Scholars commended the more than 200 colleges and universities that have rejected the boycott so far.
The NAS statement is available at: http://www.nas.org/articles/singling_out_israel_why_we_oppose_the_boycott.
For more information about the National Association of Scholars, visit www.nas.org.
Peter Wood, President, National Association of Scholars