NY MPs plan to punish colleges for boycotting Israel

NY MPs plan to punish colleges for boycotting Israel
Tue Dec 31, 2013 17:08:23

Two Zionist lawmakers in the US city of New York have threatened to introduce a bill, barring state funds to universities that take part in a recent drive to boycott Israeli academic centers.

Bronx Democratic State Senator Jeff Klein and Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who is also a former member of the radical Jewish Defense League that was classified by the FBI as a “terrorist group” in 2001, say they want to cut off state aid to universities affiliated with the American Studies Association’s effort to boycott Israeli institutions.

Earlier this month, members of the ASA overwhelmingly voted to ban Israeli universities from collaborations with their campuses.

The organization said the reason behind its decision was that the Israeli institutions were “a party” to policies “that violate human rights” as Israel’s “violation of international law and UN resolutions” continues and the “impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian scholars and students” is well-documented.

“The American Studies Association is carrying on a long and proud tradition of American academics by engaging in an academic boycott much like many professors did during apartheid South Africa,” said Michael Shallcross, a member of Students for Justice in Palestine at Temple University in Philadelphia.

However, the move, which is part of a larger international drive to win boycotts against Israeli institutions, angered some US politicians both at state and federal levels.

New York Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel has urged the ASA to end the boycott, expressing “surprise” by the organization’s decision.

And now, two pro-Israel Democrats in New York’s state legislature, Klein and Hikind, are trying to cut state aid to universities affiliated with the movement.

“[It] is a shameless attempt at censorship by powerful Zionist politicians in New York State by cutting off economic life lines that make higher education possible,” Shallcross said.

The ASA is the largest and oldest association involved in interdisciplinary studies of American culture and history.

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