Catholic University of America President John Garvey has issued a strong statement against the Academic Studies Association's decision to boycott Israel, saying he hopes that the boycott fails.
Garvey was the 100th university leader to denounce the boycott, reports The Daily Caller,
calling the boycott "lamentable."
"The Association has appointed itself as a kind of inept volunteer fire department, aiming to put out the Israeli-Palestinian conflagration by throwing gasoline on the fire," said Garvey in a statement issued from the Washington, D.C. university on Tuesday
. "It has decided to pour gas not on the source of the fire but on bystanders, some of whom are trying to extinguish the flames. No good can come of punishing academic institutions for the shortcomings, real and perceived, of their nations’ leaders and policies."
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Instead, said Garvey, organizations should be working on dialogue with foreign universities, especially the ones they disagree with.
"The academy – universities, faculties, and satellite institutions – is a place where research, open discussion, and creative thought can lead to reforms and new approaches to longstanding problems," said Garvey. "I hope the ASA’s call for a boycott produces just the opposite of its intended result – a proliferation of U.S. linkages with Israeli universities and other universities in the Middle East.
The ASA voted to boycott Israel's universities, reports Algemeiner.com, after saying they "function as a central part of a system that has denied Palestinians their basic rights."
The group also denies that the boycott restricts academic freedom. Instead, it insists the boycott extends it since the goal "is to contribute to the larger movement for social justice in Israel/Palestine that seeks to expand, not further restrict, the rights to education and free inquiry."
The ASA's boycott was approved on the recommendation of 60 percent of its voting members in December. In addition to 100 public, private, and religious institutions condemning the boycott, the Association of American Universities and the Association of American University Professors also opposes the boycott.
Critics say academic freedom at the Israeli universities is good, and there are several other countries with human rights records violations, such as Iran, China, and Russia that are not under a boycott.
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