Shameful Stand of the Heads of the American Association of University Professors

The heads of a big professors union (the AAUP) joined with their bosses in condemning the decision of the rank and file of the American Studies Association to call for an academic boycott of Israeli colleges and universities.

This may be rude, but one has to ask if the AAUP is an owner of State of Israel Bonds. It's true of many U.S. unions. The unions profit off of Israeli success in using stolen land and exploited Palestinian (and increasingly privatized) Jewish labor.

Like a score of university president the AAUP top officers wave the flag of "academic freedom". Of course this means the academic freedom of the institutions of the ruling group, the Israeli Jews. What about the "academic freedom" and just the simple right to education for the Palestinians? Did the AAUP complain in the late '80's when the Israelis shut down every educational institution in the West Bank and Gaza and put people in jail for informally gathering in homes and teaching children to read? Did the AAUP complain when the Islamic University in Gaza was bombed in 2008 or the American International School in Gaza was blown up in 2009? Did it rush to the aid of the University Teachers Association-Palestine, in Gaza when its offices were bombed in January 2009? Does the AAUP object when Israeli soldiers at West Bank checkpoints arbitrarily refuse academics and students passage on their way to classes?

Here's an Open Letter that AAUP officers Rudy Fichtenbaum and Henry Reichmansent sent out while ASA members were balloting on the question in early December. Note all the piety about the "free exchange of ideas" as if somehow the attempt of the ASA to cause the Israeli university heads a brief moment of conscience was an attack on "ideas". Did the AAUP worry about "ideas" in the 1990's when the U.S. and U.N. forbade export to Iraq of medical textbooks with the latest medical knowledge? Of course they never made a peep.

Not all professors unions are so cowardly. In 2006 the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) approved an academic boycott of Israeli higher education institutions. Hoping individual AAUP professors and officers will write angry statements to their officers. We'd be happy to publish them here.

Here's contact information for the AAUP.