Statement on ASA Boycott of Israel’s Universities, by Dr. Alan Kadish

Date: January 02, 2014
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The American Studies Association’s (ASA) boycott seeks to censor professors and researchers from prestigious universities in an Orwellian display of political bullying that demeans the academic integrity of ASA’s members. I am dismayed that men and women engaged in education and scholarship claim they are serving the public good by obstructing academic interaction with a country that has demonstrated one of the highest per capita rates for publishing scientific papers and filing patents. Moreover, Israel’s scientists and innovators have created many of the technological and lifesaving medical advances we enjoy today.

The Jewish intellectual tradition has long recognized the necessity of promoting free and open discourse between diverse populations with different world views. Can we envision Maimonides without having access to Arab scholarship or Greek philosophy? Can we imagine the texts of Sa’adya Gaon, Ibn Ezra, or Isaac Abrabanel without the impact of their secular contemporaries?

Allowing universities to fall prey to political battles demeans our collective mission of promoting a free exchange of ideas, providing access to quality education to all people, and furthering the cause of human knowledge and collective exploration.