The National Council of the American Studies Association condemns the brutal violence inflicted on Palestinians by Israeli state and settler forces in the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, the West Bank, and across historic Palestine. We understand this violence as continuous with a decades-long process of Israeli settler colonialism and racial apartheid. We call upon the United States to nullify its recently approved $735M weapons sale to Israel, enforce the 4th Geneva Convention, and bring about the immediate end to the blockade of Gaza, military occupation of the West Bank, ongoing ethnic cleansing in Sheikh Jarrah and East Jerusalem, and attacks, arrests, and lynchings of Palestinian citizens of Israel.
In 2013, the ASA National Council voted unanimously to support a boycott of Israeli academic institutions in response to the call for academic boycott from Palestinian scholars and activists.* It was a catalytic event in the history of the organization, building on principled traditions of anti-colonial, anti-imperial, internationalist, antiracist, and abolitionist forms of scholarship, pedagogy, and praxis. The intellectual insurgencies fired by that spark continue to grow. Since that historic resolution, movements resisting antiblack policing, militarized borders, and theft of indigenous lands and resources in Turtle Island have deepened transnational solidarities with the Palestinian struggle. Scholarship theorizing these solidarities has expanded in American Studies and Palestine has become an ever more important node of this critical scholarship.
And yet, echoes of the recent past in our urgent present are deafening. At the time, the National Council argued that endorsement of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions was warranted given U.S. military and other support for Israel, Israel’s violations of international law and UN resolutions, the documented impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian scholars and students, the extent to which Israeli institutions of higher education are a party to state policies that violate human rights, and the continued dispersal of Palestinian refugees denied the right to even visit their ancestral homes.
Conditions in Palestine have not improved in the interval, and in fact have only deteriorated. In recent months, Israel’s limitations on availability of COVID-19 vaccines have left Palestinians under occupation especially vulnerable to medical apartheid during the pandemic. In recent weeks, we have seen the escalation of Israeli attempts to seize land and homes from Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, Israeli military and police assaults on Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa mosque during the sacred month of Ramadan and the holy night of Laylat al-Qadr, the racist targeting of Palestinian citizens of Israel, and repression of student protests in Israeli universities. We have seen a continuous barrage of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, one of the most densely populated regions in the world, striking critical infrastructure, schools, hospitals, media offices, book stores, residential towers, and refugee camps.
As we write, Palestinians are rising up across historic Palestine and in diaspora to defend their rights to land, life, freedom, dignity and justice. In what has become known as the “Unity Uprising” Palestinians, across their geographic dispersions, are revolting together. Palestine solidarity marches have fanned out across the globe, linking arms and linking struggles, claiming space and lifting voices to demand a free Palestine.
As we write, expressions of solidarity are blossoming among many of our colleagues across a host of academic institutions and associations.
As we write, Scholars for Palestinian Freedom collect signatures not only to affirm the Palestinian struggle as an indigenous liberation movement confronting a settler colonial state, but also call on us to affirm the rights and dignity of the Palestinian people and foundational principles of academic integrity.
And as we write, Palestinians embark on a historic General Strike across Gaza, the West Bank, inside 1948 Israel, and across the diaspora.
We urge our members to enact solidarity that builds on the ASA’s academic boycott resolution by refusing complicity with Israeli academic institutions and rejecting participation in Israeli-sponsored or funded programs, including Study Abroad programs in Israel.
Peace is more than the absence of conflict; it is the presence of justice. We invite any affiliated departments, programs, research units, and organizations affiliated with ASA to endorse this statement. Please send an email to ASA President Dylan Rodriguez (dylanrodriguezASA@gmail.com) if you wish to do so. Your endorsement will be included in the public version of this statement that is posted on the ASA website.
For additional teaching and learning resources see:
The National Council of the American Studies Association
*In accordance with ASA policies and procedures, the 2013 National Council passed this resolution with the additional support of the ASA membership, which voted in favor of endorsement.
The following organizations have endorsed this statement:
Arab American Studies Association
CUNY for Palestine--a university-wide coalition that includes members of the ASA
New York University American Studies Program
University of California Davis Department of Asian American Studies
University of California San Diego Ethnic Studies Department
University of California Santa Cruz Program in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES)
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Crime and Justice Studies Department's Committee Against Racism
Community announcements and events are services that are offered by the ASA to support the organizing efforts of critical constituency groups. They do not reflect the decisions or actions of the association’s governance bodies, the National Council or Executive Committee. Questions should be directed to the committee, caucus, or chapter that has authored and posted this notice.