A message from Dr. Scott regarding the ASA's boycott.
As you have no doubt read, the American Studies Association, an academic membership group consisting of institutions and individuals, has called for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions as a form of support for Palestinian scholars. I do not support such a boycott because, while individuals do and should have freedom of speech, organizations must ensure the rights of the minority of members when they express speech. Also, to limit a boycott to Israeli institutions ignores nations whose policies toward refugees and other captive populations are also controversial.
Instead, academics and academic institutions should encourage the free interchange of thought and opinion and, if necessary, organize fact-finding efforts as well as inventory and publish violations of academic freedom and other restrictions and threats to institutions and individuals.
Academic freedom is about the expression and debate of ideas, not the punishment of those we think should defy their government’s policy.
Robert A. Scott, President
Garden City, NY 11530
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