Last week the American Studies Association, a scholarly and interdisciplinary group focusing on the study of U.S culture and history has voted for a boycott of Israeli Institutions as an objection to Israeli policies towards Palestine. The group's opposition sprang from the condemnation of human rights violations of Palestinians, among them academic freedom.
This initiative provoked the outrage of a number of academic personalities, including Drew Faust, the President of Harvard University and an American historian. Leaders from top schools all over the US, Harvard, Yale, BU, Cornell, Princeton have criticized this boycott as unfair in that it singles out Israel when other countries are known for their repressive regimes (China and Russia, for instance). In addition, several universities have decided to leave the association.
The snowball effect triggered by this feeling of injustice is rapidly gaining more institutions as Indiana University President, Michael A. McRobbie, Purdue President Mitch Daniels, University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman and many more just decided to join the rally.
This growing divide among the academic world reflects the complexities and tensions of global politics.