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American Historical Association Delivers Anti-Israel Advocates a Major Defeat

The ant-Israel and allegedly, anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement received a big blow Sunday night when the American Historical Association (AHA), America’s largest society of historians, voted 144 to 55 against any further pursuit of resolutions that denounce Israel.

The Resolutions that singled out the Jewish State were proposed by the independent group Historians Against the War. But all agenda items for the three-day annual meeting in New York City that began on January 2, were supposed to be submitted by Nov. 1. The anti-Israel resolutions were submitted on Dec. 22 and did not appear on the meeting agenda.

According to a report by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:

One resolution accused Israel of violating academic freedom, saying Israel “arbitrarily limits the entry of foreign nationals who seek to lecture, teach and attend conferences at Palestinian universities, denying both faculty and students the rich experience enjoyed by their peers at Israeli universities and other universities around the world,”  and calls on the U.S. State Department to “honor the academic freedom of U.S. citizens by contesting Israel’s denials of U.S. academics who have been invited to teach, confer or do research at Palestinian universities.”

Another resolution calls on the AHA to condemn the “acts of violence and intimidation by the State of Israel against Palestinian researchers and their archival collections, acts which can destroy Palestinians’ sense of historical identity as well as the historical record itself ,”  as well as other alleged violations of academic freedom. It also accuses Israel of bombing the Islamic University in Gaza in August.

The Sunday night vote by AHA members was to approve suspension of the by-law on when the resolutions could be submitted in order to allow the Historians Against the War to present the resolutions. The proposal was overwhelmingly defeated 144 to 55.

Director of Research-Education for the Israel education and advocacy group StandWithUs and AHA member Dr. Roberta Seid, told the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity:

StandWithUs applauds the American Historical Association for soundly defeating a motion to consider two resolutions condemning Israel on January 4th.  Though the resolutions did not call for academic boycotts of Israel, they were part of the BDS [boycott, divestment, and sanctions] campaign which uses false accusations to erode Israel’s reputation and pave the way for more draconian anti-Israel resolutions.  We especially applaud the dedicated scholars who fought to uphold scholarly standards and intellectual integrity, and resisted efforts to railroad this legislation through the organization.

According to Inside Higher Education:

Jan Goldstein, outgoing historical association president and a professor of history at the University of Chicago, said that several leadership-sponsored 2016 sessions have already been reserved for discussions of the Israel-Palestine conflict and related concerns about academic freedom. That prompted a few groans from the audience, with two members shouting, “What about Ukraine?” and “What about Russia?,” presumably meaning that there should be sessions on other countries accused of human rights violations.

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