The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the National Lawyers Guild – New York City Chapter (NLG-NYC) sent New York Assembly Members a letter on February 20, 2014 urging them to oppose pending legislation that would reduce state funding to colleges and universities that fund membership and activities in organizations supporting boycotts of a list of countries, including Israel. The bill, A.8392A – which was amended after an outpouring of opposition – was drafted in response to the American Studies Association’s recent resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions. The CCR and NLG-NYC letter urges lawmakers to recognize that the bill still violates the First Amendment and threatens academic freedom. The letter stresses that “modifying the amount of State-imposed coercion does not cure the constitutional defect.”
The American Studies Association endorsed a resolution in December 2013 to boycott Israeli academic institutions in protest of the central role that they play in Israel’s denial of Palestinian human rights, in an effort to contribute to the larger movement for social justice in Israel/Palestine. The ASA resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions is available here, and an explanation of the resolution is available here.
See our letter to Assembly Members.
See CCR’s January 30, 2014 letter to Assembly Members.
See CCR’s statement on the bill’s passage in the New York state senate.
For more information on the legality of academic boycott, please see Palestinian Solidarity Legal Support’s frequently asked questions