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American Studies Association boycott of Israel: Conservatives say it’s weakening

Related Link "Academia’s Islands of Authoritarianism" by Seth Mandel

Last year, when the American Studies Association announced its boycott of Israeli institutions of higher learning, the development was seen as a great step forward for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Now: not so much. As often occurs when extremist academics encounter the real world, the ASA has been forced to effectively neuter its boycott policy—thanks, in large part, to the excellent work of Volokh Conspiracy’s Eugene Kontrovich.

This year marks the organization’s first since adoption of its boycott. In a bit of bad luck for the ASA, the group’s annual conference is in California, a state whose sweeping civil rights law forbids (among other things) public accommodations from discriminating on the basis of national origin. A conservative legal organization protested to the Westin Hotel, which hosts the conference. And Kontrovich took it from there.

In his first post, on Friday, Kontrovich noted that “the ASA’s argument that it does not bar Israelis, but only Israelis who attend as representatives of their academic institutions, will not likely help them much, as the normal way for academics to attend academic conferences is as representatives of their institutions. In any case, this argument amounts to saying the ACA is not discriminating as much as they could have, which is not an advisable defense in discrimination cases.” ...

Read entire article at Minding The Campus