The Louis D. Brandeis Center is engaged in lawfare against members of the American Studies Association, against the association itself, and against the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (http://www.usacbi.org/). This lawfare takes the form of a frivolous and racist lawsuit. As experts at Palestine Legal have explained: “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” (https://palestinelegal.org/news/2016/4/20/palestine-legal-statement-on-lawsuit-against-asa).
This lawsuit, as the brief filed by the ASA notes, “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.”
In March 2017, the court dismissed most of the Brandeis Center’s charges against the ASA. The court found 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.” And yet, the Brandeis Center has persisted in its harassment. The Center filed a motion this November 2017, naming further members of the ASA who, we note, are predominantly queer, indigenous/Palestinian, and women of color, despite the fact that those working towards the resolution also included white (and specifically white Jewish) ASA members, and although an overwhelming majority of the ASA membership voted in favor of the resolution.
The motion’s charges distort a democratic political process. The ASA voted by a 2-1 margin of the membership in favor of boycott after a year of open, public debate within the Association. The Lawsuit attempts to describe this vote as a secret conspiracy of deception, one in which elected ASA leaders “infiltrated” the organization and engaged in “an illegal, hostile takeover” of the ASA. Such charges ignore the several years of public and open grassroots organizing by established caucuses within the ASA; the panels, town hall and open meetings set up to educate the membership and debate the resolution; and finally an unprecedented and overwhelmingly positive vote by the entire membership when passing a resolution requires only the support of the National Council. Indeed, the “secret” process that the plaintiffs are “unearthing” through harassing methods and lawfare is available in the open and detailed account given in the recently published book Boycott! (https://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520294899). Detailed public accounts of the ASA campaign have also been published in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/17/education/scholars-group-endorses-an-academic-boycott-of-israel.html), the Chronicle of Higher Education (https://www.chronicle.com/article/Scholars-Debate-Significance/143645), and the Association’s own flagship journal, American Quarterly (https://muse.jhu.edu/article/605053).
In the wake of the resolution, the ASA membership has increased, and the BDS movement itself is steadily gaining popular and academic support. Since the ASA vote, the National Women’s Studies Association, the National Association of Chicano/a Studies, and the Critical Ethnic Studies Association have all voted to boycott Israeli universities.
With its lawsuit, the Brandeis Center continues its sustained and increasingly desperate campaign to criminalize any criticism of Israel, or any Palestine solidarity work. Their unscrupulous actions that support practices of settler colonialism, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing in Palestine, and white supremacy, McCarthyism, Islamophobia, and racism in the US find their counterpart in the actions of Donald Trump and the “alt right.”
Please take a stand to resist such forces! Please sign below to express solidarity with those being targeted, censured, and held singly responsible for a democratic process and vote. And, in doing so, show your support as well for the ASA and for the right to engage in BDS organizing free of harassment, lawfare, and racist and colonial campaigns of intimidation!
(Please check for spelling and punctuation, as what you type is how it will appear.)
*Organizational EndorsersUS Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of IsraelLabor for PalestineJews for Palestinian Right of ReturnJewish Voice for PeaceCommittee for Open Discussion of Zionism US Campaign for Palestinian RightsAssociation des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine (AURDIP) France Faculty for Palestine (Toronto, Canada)
*SignatoriesCynthia Franklin Department of English, University of Hawai'i ASA MemberDavid Palumbo-Liu Stanford University ASA MemberBill V. Mullen American Studies, Purdue University ASA MemberHeike Schotten University of Massachusetts Boston ASA MemberTerri Ginsberg Film Program, The American University in CairoRima Najjar Al-Quds University (retired)Adam Miyashiro Literature, Stockton UniversityDavid Klein Department of Mathematics, California State University NorthridgeHerman De Ley (BACBI) Philosophy & Moral Science, Ghent Univ., BelgiumCraig Willse Cultural Studies, George Mason University ASA MemberBertell Ollman Dept. of Politics, NYUDavid Lloyd English, University of California at Riverside ASA MemberTithi Bhattacharya Department of History, Purdue University Jean O’Brien University of Minnesota ASA MemberR. Karl New York university, History Bret Benjamin University at Albany, SUNY Adam Waterman Department of English, American University of Beirut ASA MemberShelley Streeby UCSD ASA MemberLiron Mor Comparative Literature, UC Irvine Jane Glaubman English, Cornell ASA MemberRajini Srikanth English, University of Massachusetts Boston ASA MemberEric Covey American Studies, Miami University ASA MemberVictoria Delaney Binghamton University ABD Candace Fujikane English Department, University of Hawaiʻi ASA MemberHester Eisenstein Sociology, Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY Kay Gabriel Princeton University Nada Elia David McNally Political Science, York University Pranav Jani Department of English, The Ohio State University S. Shankar English, U of Hawaii`i at Manoa Margot Weiss American Studies & Anthropology, Wesleyan University Matthew Garrett English & American Studies, Wesleyan University Kerwin Kaye Sociology Department, Wesleyan University ASA MemberRabab Abdulhadi Arab & Muslim Ethnicities & Diasporas Studies, San Francisco State University ASA MemberSabina Wildman UC Santa Cruz Shelley Streeby UCSD ASA MemberTimothy J Reiss Department of Comparative Literature, New York University (Emeritus) Patricia Penn Hilden University of California, Berkeley ASA MemberAaron Jaffe The Juilliard School Jeff Jacobs Political Science, Columbia University Julie Rak Dept English/Film Studies, University of Alberta Alex Lubin ASA MemberOfer Neiman Elizabeth Goetz CUNY Graduate Center Laura Lyons University of Hawai'i ASA MemberMaggie Vascassenno Jordy Rosenberg University of Massachusetts ASA MemberAndrew Ross Professor of American Studies, NYU ASA MemberJonathan Rosenhead Operational Research, London School of Economics Kadji Amin Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Emory University ASA MemberChristipher Patterson Humanities and Creative Writing, Hong Kong Baptist ASA MemberJeffrey Melnick American Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston ASA MemberRichard Falk Albert G. Milbank Prof. Emeritus of International Law at Princeton U and Visiting Distinguished Prof. in Global and International Studies at UC, Santa Barbara Caren Kaplan American Studies, UC Davis ASA MemberNatalia Deeb-Sossa Department of Chicana/o Studies, University of California at Davis Noah Guynn French & Italian, University of California, Davis Baki Tezcan History; University of California, Davis Parama Roy Department of English, UC Davis Britt Rusert UMass Amherst ASA MemberScott Kurashige University of Washington Bothell ASA MemberRoy Perez Willamette University ASA MemberMary-Jo Nadeau PhD Sociology (York University,) Kasturi Ray Women and Gender Studies, San Francisco State University Ahmed Abbes Directeur de recherche au CNRS, Paris France Victor Mendoza Women's Studies and English, University of Michigan ASA MemberBarry Trachtenberg Wake Forest University Michel Habib Finance, University of Zurich Alexandra Chasin Lit St, The New School; Brandeis BA ‘84 ASA MemberSarah City University of New York Andrew Meyer Department of Politics, UC Santa Cruz Dr. Edwin E. Daniel Professor Emeritus, Univerity of Alberta E. Natalie Rothman Dept. of History, University of Toronto Gina Crandell Northeastern University Merrill Cole English, Western Illinois University Alan Wald H. Chandler Davis Collegiate Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan ASA MemberJames C Faris Director Emeritus, University of Connecticut Program in Middle Eastern Languages and Area Studies MARIA COTERA UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN ASA MemberEvelyn Alsultany University of Michigan ASA MemberGlenn Hendler English and American Studies, Fordham University ASA MemberMartin Ponce English, Ohio State UniversityR. A. Shoaps Anthropology, University of Alaska Fairbanks Prof Charles E. Butterworth Emeritus Professor, Department of Government & Politics, University of Maryland Susette Min Department of Asian American Studies, UC Davis ASA MemberAmy Kaplan English, University of Pennsylvania ASA Member, ASA Elected Position Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes Department of American Culture, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor ASA Member James Newman former Assistant Professor, University Of Illinois Medical SchoolArturo Giraldez Modern Language and Lit. Dept. University of the Pacific Jeff Fort Department of French, UC DavisCyrus Bina, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics University of Minnesota (Morris Campus) Thomas Hayes Ohio University Lisa Daily New York University ASA Member Kayla Keener Cultural Studies, George Mason University ASA MemberJonathan Graubart Political Science, San Diego State Khoi Nguyen George Mason University ASA MemberBrooke Lober UC Berkeley Gender and Women's Studies ASA MemberAbigail Boggs Sociology, Wesleyan University ASA MemberBasak Durgun George Mason University ASA Member Sophia Azeb New York University ASA MemberDennis Kortheuer History emeritus Cal State U Long Beach Ryan Bowerman Cultural Studies, George Mason University David B. Chandler Mathematics, Widener University Sofya Aptekar Sociology, UMass Boston Elsa Auerbach Professor Emerita, Univ of Massachusetts Boston Howard Winant Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara ASA MemberCaroline West Cultural Studies, George Mason University Malini Schueller English Department, univ of florida ASA MemberAren Aizura Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies, University of Minnesota ASA MemberAndres Fabian Henao Castro Political Science, University of Massachusetts Boston Ofelia Cuevas UC Davis ASA MemberElora Chowdhury Associate Professor, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies UMass Boston Marilyn Frankenstein Retired, UMass/Boston, College of Pubic and Community Service Michael Keefer Professor Emeritus, School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph Martha London University of Massachusetts Boston Dawn Peterson History, Emory ASA MemberJohn KingMichael LetwinStephen Roddy Asian Studies, USF Hassan Fouda Ivan Huber Emeritus, Biology, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ., Madison, NJ Javier Barquin Ruiz Universidad de Malaga Aneil Rallin Associate Professor of Rhetoric, Soka University of America ASA Member Les Levidow Development Policy and Practice, Open University, UK Martin A. Billeter University of Zurich, Switzerland Jennifer Doyle English, UC Riverside ASA Member John Chalcraft Government Department, LSE Lorenzo Feltrin PhD student, University of Warwick Mayssoun SukariehEmeritus Prof. Andrew Paul Gutierrez Ecosystem Science, University of California at Berkeley Yi-Chun Tricia Lin Women's Studies, Southern Connecticut State University Amr Shalakany Department of Law, The American University in Cairo George KatsiaficasVida Samiian Linguistics, California State University, Fresno Sami Hermez Liberal Arts, Northwestern University in Qatar Mara T. Horowitz History Department, Purchase College SUNY Salah Hassan English, Michigan State University ASA MemberPaola Bacchetta U C Berkeley Maurice Stierl, PhD Nicola Pratt Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick Lauren Muller City College of San Francisco ASA MemberJodi Byrd English/Gender & Women's Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ASA MemberMyka Tucker-Abramson English, University of Warwick Tim Mahoney MA Philosophy, CUNY Graduate Center Deema Shehabi RAWI member Kelvin Bland RIBA APJP Philip Metres English Elmaz Abinader VONA/Voices Ebony Coletu English, Pennsylvania State University ASA MemberJavier Arbona American Studies, UC Davis ASA Member Cornelia Flora Sociology, Kansas State University ASA MemberWilliam Davison Joel Reinstein Jamal Nimer University of Chicago Rachel Brown Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Washington University in St. Louis Marilyn Hacker Professor (Emerita) CUNY Graduate Center Penny Rosenwasser Interdisciplinary Studies, City College of San Francisco Jodi Melamed Marquette University, ASA National Council ASA Member, ASA Elected PositionElliott Leib Ivar Ekeland Former President, University of Paris-Dauphine Johanna Bockman Global Affairs, George Mason University Rosalyn Amenta Women's Studies, Southern CT State University Shauna Rigaud PHD Student, George Mason University Régis Pomès University of Toronto Issam alyamani ASA Elected PositionWilfrid Denis University of Saskatchewan (St. Thomas More College) Kathy Wazana MFA, York University Harry Smaller Faculty of Education, York University, Toronto Prabha Khosla Gender Justice Advocate Richard Seaford University of Exeter Colin Dayan Vanderbilt University ASA MemberRakhshanda Saleem UMass Boston Lawrence Davidson West Chester U. Amy Osika Historical Studies New School Timothy Gibson George Mason University James Dickins School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, University of Leeds (United Kingdom) Chandler Davis Mathematics, University of Toronto