Palestine Legal issued the following statement in response to a lawsuit announced today against the American Studies Association (ASA) for adopting an academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions:
“The ASA’s academic boycott resolution is aimed at challenging U.S. support for a system that denies academic freedom to Palestinian students and scholars. As such, the resolution falls squarely within the educational purposes for which ASA was established. Plaintiffs’ theory that the “ultra vires” doctrine – a corporate law theory – could limit the ASA’s First Amendment right to endorse the academic boycott is meritless and will likely be thrown out by the court.
Israel advocacy groups have previously threatened to sue the ASA, alleging discrimination and antisemitism, unless the organization cancel its academic boycott resolution. Today’s lawsuit abandons these theories. As Palestine Legal and CCR documented in our report, meritless legal threats are a tactic used to chill speech supporting Palestinian rights. Such threats are being used to intimidate advocates for Palestinian rights, and deflect the conversation away from Israeli human rights violations.”