Brandeis Center Doubles Down on Harassment Campaign Against ASA


The Brandeis Center is seeking to fix the failed theory of their original lawsuit against the American Studies Association (ASA) by asking the court for permission to add new theories and new defendants. Doubling down on the harassment campaign, the Brandeis Center is also on a McCarthyist media blitz accusing ASA scholars of a covert campaign to take over the ASA.

This lawsuit is a desperate attempt to bury the single most important fact: the ASA membership voted by an overwhelming democratic majority – 66 percent – after months of open debate, to support a boycott in support of Palestinian equality.

The ASA opposed the Brandeis Center’s motion for leave to file a new complaint last week noting:

“Throughout, [Plaintiffs] have sought to bolster a public relations campaign aimed at discouraging other individuals and organizations from considering such resolutions. . . . the [new] Motion seems to be an effort to ‘ratchet up’ the pressure on third parties who might consider a boycott against Israeli academic institutions.”

“This is a harassment campaign at the highest levels,” said Radhika Sainath, a staff attorney at Palestine Legal. “Professors targeted by the Brandeis Center have been subjected to death threats, rape threats and other misogynistic and racist hate mail.”

The ASA’s brief added that “this forum is being used as a platform from which Plaintiffs and their supporters can mine for data with which to harass anyone whose views differ from the Plaintiffs’ and their supporters.”

Last March, the court dismissed Brandeis Center’s ultra vires claim that the ASA operated beyond its corporate charter by passing an academic boycott resolution, in addition to dismissing all of their derivative claims for breach of fiduciary duty. 

The court ruled that the ASA resolution was “enacted for academic purposes” as it “was aimed both at encouraging academic freedom for Palestinians and strengthening relations between American institutions and Palestinians,” but allowed the case to proceed to discovery – a preliminary stage in the litigation process – on the breach of contract, corporate waste and D.C. Nonprofit Corporation Act claims.