AHA News: Resolutions on Israel and Academic Freedom Fail at AHAHistorians in the News
tags: Israel, AHA, academia freedom
Members of the Alliance for Academic Freedom (AAF) were instrumental in defeating two proposed resolutions at the business meeting of the American Historical Association (AHA) on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020; they were sponsored by a group called "Historians for Peace and Democracy." Though these resolutions on alleged infringements of academic freedom by Israel (posted here) fell short of a boycott, they were part of the wider campaign to promote the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) agenda.
The background was summarized in Commentary by Jonathan Marks, a professor of politics at Ursinus College, as follows:
In 2014, a group of scholar-activists, Historians Against the War (HAW), endorsed the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. The following year, HAW rolled out two resolutions on Israeli’s alleged crimes against academic freedom. . . .
Because they submitted the resolutions late, HAW needed a two-thirds vote to be considered at AHA’s annual business meeting. They barely cleared one-quarter.
In 2016, the organization mashed the two resolutions into one and, having submitted it in a timely manner, needed to win only a majority of votes. They lost, just clearing 30 percent.
In 2017, they tried a different strategy, petitioning the AHA Council ... to “investigate the charges that academic freedom is widely violated in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” The Council declined to get into detective work.
Today, HAW has a new name, Historians for Peace and Democracy (HPAD). . . . [T]wo anti-Israel resolutions HPAD sponsored for consideration at this year’s business meeting . . . . lost again, by a vote of 80-41 on one and, as the voting crowd thinned, 61-36 on the other. . . .
An Algemeiner.com news report cited Prof. David Greenberg of Rutgers, an AAF founder, decrying the repeated efforts of pro-BDS activists to bring up resolutions that castigate Israel, attempting to politicize the organization dedicated to the professional standards of historical scholarship:
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