Illinois congressmen co-sponsor bill opposing academic boycott of Israel
In December, the American Studies Association (ASA) became the second major educational organization to adopt an academic boycott of Israel. In response, Illinois U-S Congressmen Peter Roskam and Dan Lipinski have co-sponsored a measure that would block federal funding for any U.S. universities that take part in the boycott of Israeli academic institutions or scholars. In a press release announcing the legislation, Congressman Roskam said, “This bipartisan legislation seeks to preserve academic freedom and combat bigotry by shielding Israel from unjust boycotts. It is ludicrous for critics to go after our democratic friend and ally Israel when they should be focusing on the evils perpetrated by repressive, authoritarian regimes like Iran and North Korea.” Roskam also called the boycotts quote “hateful campaigns, which contradict academic freedom and are designed to delegitimize the Jewish State of Israel.”
Donald Downs, a professor of political science, law, and journalism at UW-Madison and the president of the independent and non-partisan faculty group, the Committee for Academic Freedom and Rights, joins us to discuss the proposed legislation.
(Photo: Flickr/Pnina E.)