Back on December 16th, the American Studies Association voted to endorse an “academic boycott” of Israel. Now the Association of American universities has responded:
The Executive Committee of the Association of American Universities strongly opposes a boycott of
Israeli academic institutions. Three U.S. scholarly organizations have now expressed support for such
a boycott. Any such boycott of academic institutions directly violates academic freedom, which is a
fundamental principle of AAU universities and of American higher education in general.
Academic freedom is the freedom of university faculty responsibly to produce and disseminate
knowledge through research, teaching, and service, without undue constraint. It is a principle that
should not be abridged by political considerations. American colleges and universities, as well as like
institutions elsewhere, must stand as the first line of defense against attacks on academic freedom.
Efforts to address political issues, or to address restrictions on academic freedom, should not
themselves infringe upon academic freedom. Restrictions imposed on the ability of scholars of any
particular country to work with their fellow academics in other countries, participate in meetings and
organizations, or otherwise carry out their scholarly activities violate academic freedom. The boycott
of Israeli academic institutions therefore clearly violates the academic freedom not only of Israeli
scholars but also of American scholars who might be pressured to comply with it. We urge American
scholars and scholars around the world who believe in academic freedom to oppose this and other such