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IU Withdraws Ed Group Membership Over Israel Boycott

IU President Michael McRobbie says the university is withdrawing its membership in the American Studies Association in opposition to the boycott.

IU President Michael McRobbie

Photo: IU Newsroom

McRobbie released a statement Dec. 23 condemning the American Studies Association decision to boycott Israeli scholars and higher education organizations.

Indiana University is withdrawing its membership in the American Studies Association in opposition to the organization’s proposed boycott of Israeli institutions of higher education.

IU President Michael McRobbie issued a statement Monday saying:

“Boycotts such as these have a profound chilling effect on academic freedom, and universities must be clear and unequivocal in rejecting them. Indiana University values its academic relationships with colleagues and institutions around the world, including many important ones with institutions in Israel, and will not allow political considerations such as those behind this ill-conceived boycott to weaken those relationships or undermine the principle of academic freedom in this way. IU stands firmly against proposals that would attempt to limit or restrict those important institutional relationships or this fundamental principle.”

The American Studies Association, a group of scholars and academic institutions devoted to interdisciplinary American studies, released a statement Dec. 16 saying the group’s members voted to boycott Israel’s higher education institutions.

McRobbie’s statement lends support to the Association of American Universities and the American Association of University Professors, who have also come out in opposition to the boycott.

IU joins Kenyon College, Penn State Harrisburg and Brandeis University in cutting ties with the American Studies Association.

Other universities, including Harvard, Yale, Brown and Princeton, have also come out against the boycott, but have not withdrawn their ASA memberships.

Taylor Killough

Taylor Killough is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has studied anthropology and digital journalism. She has professional experience in education and communications and is excited to be a part of the award-winning team at WFIU/WTIU.

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  • nnmns

    This would seem to indicate IU has fallen into line for the Israeli lobby. The ASA’s action was a significant response to the crimes Israel has committed and continues to commit against its neighbors. Probably it was the best response academics could make and they should be commended. Instead IU, which I believe gets significant money for some Jewish and/or Israeli studies institute, has chosen to ignore Israel’s crimes and attack those who recognize them. I’m sure McRobbie doesn’t represent a lot of the faculty or students, and I doubt he even consulted them. Nonetheless this makes me ashamed of my alma mater.

  • AMartin123

    If you were truly concerned about human rights, you would be speaking out against Sudan…or Syria…or China…or the dozens of true human rights abusers around the world.

    Meanwhile, there is nowhere in the Mideast where Arabs…or women or gays or Christians for that matter..have more human rights than Israel.

  • RA Bikoff

    I applaud President McRobbie’s statement and the university’s decision to withdraw from the American Studies Association (ASA). I look forward to the ASA reversing this outrageous action, part of a trend that has affected academic institutions and associations in Britain and churches in the U.S., as well as the Asian Studies Association. The boycott/ disinvestment movement represents the efforts of academics in Palestine and the Arab/ Moslem world to leverage support for their cause in Europe and the U.S. Their goal is to isolate, ostracize, and delegitimize Israel.

    At this time of year, with its messages of hope and peace, it is heartening to see
    Indiana University take a stand against bigotry and hatred, ignorance
    and naiveté. Anti-Israel political posturing has no place in American Studies. Academics with family and ethnic roots in the Middle East, and those without, should not spread anti-Israel vitriol through America’s universities.

  • Amr

    Where do we see roads for yellow license plates and roads for green license plates other than in glorious apartheid Israel.

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  • Edward

    In this statement as well as other univeristy statements, we see not a word about the abridgement of Palestinian university and scholarly free speech, freedom to travel for study or teaching, freedom to function. Strange. Also, contrary to the picture caption, the ASA is not boycotting Israeli scholars but explicitly excludes individual scholarly activities by Israelis and ASA members from the boycott unless the Israeli is acting as an official representative of a university (as in a ceremony). Let’s get our facts straight.

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