On IU's ASA withdrawl

McRobbie’s actions stem from opposing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which believes that in order to help the Palestinian people in their plight for their own state, they must first tear down the only democracy in the Middle East.
The movement targets Israel, and all those who are in support of this small democracy.

Recently, the BDS movement has made its mission to bring its message to university campuses, most prominently in California. BDS at these universities has transformed the movement’s verbal message of hate into university legislation by campaigning to persuade administrations and the student majority that by boycotting and tearing down one democratic country, they are giving democracy to another group of people.

A greater problem arose when the American Studies Association, which oversees 5,000 universities’ American studies programs, began supporting BDS’ anti-Israel platform by boycotting Israeli academic institutions. Many notable Israeli academic institutions are world renowned leaders in the scientific, agricultural and economic fields. Since the founding of Israel, almost 66 years ago, 12 Israeli citizens have received Nobel Prizes in chemistry, economics, literature and Peace.

Three of Israel’s seven universities are ranked among the Top 100 universities in the world in the past year. Therefore, I can only undoubtedly assume that of those 5,000 universities, many have partnerships with Israeli institutions in one way or another, working in various fields towards academic progress. With the ASA’s support and with their new academic boycott, BDS has ironically hurt not only the ASA, but the universities who are members of the ASA.

Now, regardless of individual opinion, universities that do not voice dissent must abide by this boycott in a manner that truly impairs our freedoms of thought and learning.  

Taking away academic freedoms on university campuses in order to supposedly promote academia worldwide seems quite irresponsible and naive of the ASA.

This boycott is counterintuitive to academia, on our campus, and undoubtedly on all campuses affected by the ASA’s decision. The pro-Israel community and organizations on campus would like to formally thank President McRobbie for taking a stand against hate and divisive political motives that fuel the ASA and BDS’ call for an academic boycott of Israel, by withdrawing IU’s membership from the organization, regardless of the repercussions. 

Universities are places of learning, regardless of political views. We are here to study, freely, which includes partnering with any institution worldwide that would allow us to expand our scheme of thought and our understanding of this small world we now live in. The United States and Israel share a strong bond, and both countries pride themselves in their standards of academic freedom for all. McRobbie’s decision reinforces this notion of academic liberties at our university and for that, regardless of political views, we should be thankful.

­— aboukai@indiana.edu

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