Statement on the American Studies Association’s Endorsement of a Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

The recent resolution of the American Studies Association endorsing a boycott of Israeli universities undermines the academic freedom that is essential to the mission of the Academy.

In 2007, when confronted with an earlier proposed boycott of Israeli universities, I stated the following:

I believe that scholars and researchers must be allowed to engage in their work without threat–regardless of the policies of their governments. This freedom is absolutely essential to the mission and fundamental values of the Academy. The most fruitful way for the Academy to promote human rights is not to diminish the dialogue between scholars and societies–but to promote free expression and exchange.

This statement still captures my deep conviction that the logic of the Academy is one of engagement.

I recognize these are matters on which colleagues can disagree. While the position of our University remains opposed to any boycott, we will certainly defend the rights of those who disagree.

As an academic institution, it is Georgetown’s responsibility to deepen engagement and foster dialogue between scholars and societies to enhance the entire global academic community.