Recent bills have been introduced in the New York and Maryland State legislatures, as well as in the United States Congress, have called for measures to punish academic groups that support boycotts of Israel by threatening the funding of institutions with which they are associated. A similar bill is expected to be introduced in the Illinois Legislature. Additional bills denouncing such boycotts but not calling for specific measures have been introduced in Florida and Pennsylvania
New: Statement by Professors Judith Butler, Rashid Khalidi, and over 150 other scholars denouncing censorship and intimidation of Israel critics
Read the latest Action Alert from the Ad Hoc Group In Support of Academic Freedom and the First Amendment here.
The Jewish Daily Forward provides a current overview of the binding bills here.
Act now to ask key Maryland legislators to oppose this legislation.
Press release from Keep Speech Free in the Free State, a coalition of civil liberties groups
"Maryland bills would stifle academic freedom," Batlimore Sun Op-ed by GWU professor
"Don't punish free speech," Baltimore Sun Letter to the Editor
Academic freedom and Israel by Carole Burnet
Don't silence criticism of Israel by Anne Seldan Annab
Criticism of Israel has merit by Janice Kelly
Clamping down on speech by Doris Rausch
Boycott bill would chill free speech on Israel by James Strick
Don't inhibit campus debates by Cathy Schneider
On Tuesday, January 28th, the NY State Senate passed a bill targeting the American Studies Association (ASA) because it recently passed a resolution supporting an academic boycott of Israel. If this becomes law, it would prohibit public universities and colleges from using any taxpayer money on groups that support boycotts of Israel, including membership dues to academic associations that support such boycotts. This law could lay the groundwork for other attempts to silence debate and opposition on other controversial issues. A similar bill is moving through the process in the NY State Assembly.
In a scathing editorial, the New York Times wrote that the bill would "trample on academic freedoms" and "impose a political test on faculty members seeking university support for research meetings and travel".
The legislation has been removed from the agenda and re-introduced. The new Assembly bill is A08392. We will continue to oppose this legislation in any form.
Ad Hoc Group in Support of Academic Freedom and the First Amendment
Ad Hoc Group in Support of Academic Freedom and the First Amendment (on revised bill)
CCR and NLG-NYC letter to Assembly Members
Columbia University faculty boycott letter (with signatures)
Statement by Columbia University President Lee Bollinger
AAUP’s statement on the NY and Maryland Anti-Boycott bills
Second AAUP statement
ASA press release
National Coalition Against Censorship
New York Times Editorial, February 4, 2014
New York Assembly Tweaking Bill on Israel Boycott (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) February 6, 2014
Anti-boycott bills pose a serious threat to free speech and academic freedom (Columbia Spectator) February 28, 2014
The Pennsylvania legislature is now considering HR 627 (introduced by Rep. Mike Turzai) and SR 279 (introduced by State Senator Anthony H. Williams), condemning academic boycotts of Israel as "anti-Semitism" and calling upon all Pennsylvania colleges and univerities not to participate in them. The bill does not include specific punitive measures.
Act now to sign an open letter stating your opposition to this legislation.