J Street Strongly Opposes ASA Boycott

December 16, 2013

J Street strongly opposes the American Studies Association’s decision today to boycott Israeli colleges and universities.

We recognize the legitimate and urgent concerns about peace, justice and human rights that drive some of the calls from campuses and academic bodies to boycott Israeli institutions and products. We believe that a two-state solution is the best way to address these concerns and that this conflict can only be resolved through engagement and diplomacy, not alienation and isolation.

Boycotts not only exacerbate the divide between Israelis and Palestinians, but create new and deep divisions among those who could be allies working together for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Unilaterally placing blame on one party, as the ASA boycott does, is an overly simplistic and unhelpful approach to an incredibly complicated and dynamic political situation. And it is one that is not befitting of an academic community.

In the best tradition of the university, the way to counter views with which one disagrees is not to boycott them, but to subject them to the scrutiny of vibrant and open debate. An inclusive and civil conversation on campuses and in academic bodies about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict best serves the cause of ending it.