Dear members of the UCB Academic Senate


We would like to express our deep concern about and strong opposition to the proposed bill under
consideration by the UC Berkeley ASUC that rejects the academic boycott of Israeli academic
institutions and denounces the “International Day of Action on College Campuses for Palestine.”
As supporters of the academic boycott, we affirm the academic freedom of professional academic
associations to take a public stance on matters of public and global concern, and in support of
human rights for all, including Palestinians in West Asia/the Middle East.

The endorsement by the Association of Asian American Studies of the boycott is a response to
the call for boycott from Palestinian civil society, including academics, as a collective form of
international opposition to Israel's numerous human rights violations. The boycott is an
expression of our solidarity with Palestinian scholars and students who suffer from the violent
degradation and deprivation of their academic freedom, and also human freedoms.

Modeled on the global boycott and divestment movement that opposed apartheid in South Africa,
the BDS movement is an antiracist, nonviolent movement that is a direct response to the call from
those who suffer from a regime of illegal occupation, militarization, displacement, dispossession,
surveillance, racial discrimination, and restrictions on movement and livelihood. All of these are
made possible by unconditional U.S. political, economic, and military support of the Israeli state,
an exceptional alliance with a state that received more U.S. aid than any other nation in the world.
We note that this aid is being given despite the massive crisis in public higher education in the
U.S. today, so our funding of Israeli human rights violations is at the expense of U.S. students
in public universities, including at UC Berkeley.

We also strongly support the right of scholars and students in all fields to endorse the boycott,
without interference, intimidation, and harassment. The Asian American Studies Association,
American Studies Association, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, the
Critical Ethnic Studies Association, and the African Literature Association, among others, have
already endorsed the academic boycott. We want to note that many scholars in these associations
support the boycott as an extension of their commitments to ending occupation, warfare, settler
colonialism, imperialism, and racism. Supporting the boycott is a logical and indeed necessarily
element of our ethics as ethnic studies scholars. We are also disturbed that this bill is
being proposed in the wake of the most recent Israeli war on Gaza, in which over 2000
Palestinians were killed, including approximately 500 children, and in which schools
and universities have been bombed and lives destroyed. The call to support BDS from Gazan and
Palestinian civil society is more urgent than ever.

The proposed bill, including in its very title, wrongly characterizes the academic boycott as
stifling open exchange of knowledge and academic freedom. In fact, the academic boycott
movement has opened up debate and the exchange of ideas in the face of well-funded, national
campaigns that have defamed and blacklisted scholars of conscience who dare to criticize the
Israeli state. The proposed bill would reinforce the disciplining and intimidation of those
who have individually and collectively expressed support of Palestinian freedom by adopting
academic boycott resolutions. Thus, it is the proposed bill that would stifle academic freedom.

Furthermore, the academic boycott guidelines make a careful distinction between Israeli
academic institutions and individual Israeli academics (see: ).
The boycott in no way impinges upon the freedom of individual U.S., or Israeli, scholars to
engage in intellectual exchange and scholarly collaboration, if this does not entail
official sponsorship by Israeli academic institutions that are public institutions complicit with
the illegal occupation and violations of human rights laws. Several reports have by now
documented the collusion of Israeli universities with the state’s military and intelligence
apparatuses and the repression and surveillance of, as well as racist assaults on, Palestinian
students at Israeli universities (see: Furthermore,
Israeli academics who support BDS are also subject to campaigns of demonization
and harassment. The academic boycott is thus a movement that enlarges the academic freedom of
all, including Israeli and Jewish scholars.

The AAAS resolution is based on the premise that academic freedom is indivisible. To cite the
statement from the Asian American Studies Association: “Specifically, the Resolution to Support
the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions . . . aims to enhance academic freedom for all
scholars and would broaden the application of the principles of academic freedom and social
justice in which the AAAS upholds. The AAAS is opposed to all forms of discrimination,
including anti-Semitism, and remains committed to human rights and social justice.” (For the full
text of the resolution and AAAS statements, see:

We urge you to oppose this bill that seeks to counter antiracist solidarity and academic freedom,
and to join the movement to refuse complicity with racism and occupation.

Lucy Burns, Associate Professor, Asian American Studies, UCLA (member of the
American Studies Association and Asian American Studies Association)
Rajini Srikanth, Professor, English, University of Massachusetts Boston
Sunaina Maira, Professor, Asian American Studies, University of California Davis
David Palumbo-Liu, the Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor, Professor, Comparative Literature,
Stanford University
Susette Min, Associate Professor, Asian American Studies, University of California Davis
Anna Guevarra, Associate Professor and Director, Asian American Studies, Affiliated
Faculty, Gender and Women's Studies and Sociology and Honors College Faculty
Fellow, University Illinois at Chicago
Cathy Schlund-Vials, Associate Professor, English, University of Connecticut
Candace Fujikane, Associate Professor, English, University of Hawai’i Manoa. Ph.D.,
English, UC Berkeley, 1996
Jason Magabo Perez, Graduate Student, Ethnic Studies and Communication, University of
California, San Diego
Grace Hong, Associate Professor, Gender Studies and Asian American Studies, UCLA
Laura Kang, Associate Professor of Gender & Sexuality Studies, University of California,
Tracy Buenavista, Associate Professor, Asian American Studies, California State
University Northridge
Helen Heran Jun, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Departments of English and African American
Studies, University of Illinois, Chicago
Jonathan Y. Okamura, Professor, Ethnic Studies, University of Hawai'i
Junaid Rana, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, University of Illinois at
Aneil Rallin, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Writing Studies, Soka University of
Eve Oishi, Claremont Graduate University
Sarita Echavez See, University of California Riverside
Gina Velasco, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Women's and Gender Studies, Keene State College
Vijay Prashad, George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History, Professor,
International Studies. Columnist, Frontline (Chennai, India)
Dr. Jasbir K. Puar, Associate Professor, Graduate Program Director, Women's and Gender
Studies, Rutgers University
Martin F. Manalansan IV, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Asian American Studies,
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Bhaskar Sarkar, Associate Professor, Vice Chair, Film and Media Studies, UC Santa Barbara
Jigna Desai, Professor and Chair, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, Asian American
Studies, University of Minnesota -- Twin Cities
Dorothy Wang, Associate Professor, American Studies Program, Williams College (U.C.
Berkeley Ph.D. in English, 1998)
Thuy Linh Tu, Associate Professor, Social and Cultural Analysis, NYU
David Eng, Professor, English, University of Pennsylvania, PhD, Berkeley (Comparative
Literature, 1995)
Rachel Lee, Associate Professor of English and Gender studies, UCLA
Keith Camacho, Associate Professor, Asian American Studies, UCLA
Ian Barnard, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Composition, Chapman University,
and Professor Emeritus of English, California State University, Northridge
Mark Chiang, Associate Professor, Asian American Studies and English, University of
Illinois at Chicago
Joyce Lu, Assistant Professor, Pomona College
Gary Y. Okihiro, Columbia University
Nikhil Singh, Associate Professor, New York University
Daniel Y. Kim, Associate Professor, Brown University
Christine Bacareza Balance, Assistant Professor, Asian American Studies, UC Irvine.
B.A. Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley (1999)
Grace Chang, Associate Professor, Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara
Karen J. Leong, Arizona State University
Nadine Suleiman Naber, Associate Professor, Gender & Women's Studies and Asian
American Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago
Karen Su, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
Josen Masangkay Diaz, Postdoctoral Fellow
Nerissa Balce, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, State University of New York
at Stony Brook
Christine Hong, Assistant Professor, Literature, UC Santa Cruz
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