U.S. lawmakers launch resolution condemning boycott of Israeli universities

(JNS.org) A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a new measure in the U.S. House of Representatives condemning resolutions or policies promoting boycotts of Israeli academic institutions and scholars by American universities or scholarly associations.  

U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) introduced legislation condemning boycott of Israeli universities. Credit: U.S. House of Representatives. 

The resolution was introduced by U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla) and was co-sponsored by Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Kevin Boyle (D-Pa.), Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), and Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.).

“The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement on college campuses has unfairly singled out Israel, our closest friend and ally in the extremely volatile Middle East,” Curbelo said in a statement.

Rep. Curbelo added that “academic boycotts eliminate the possibility of open exchanges of ideas” and that “American institutions must be able to engage in academic exchange with Israeli institution.”

In addition to condemning restrictions on academic links between American and Israeli universities, the resolution also praises “university presidents and institutions that have opposed academic boycott and have shown dedication to the free and open exchange of ideas."

“It’s time we take a stand and say we will not sit quietly and condone our higher education system boycotting our trusted friend and ally, Israel,” said Rep. Boyle.

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) praised the bipartisan legislation and called on the House of Representatives to quickly adopt it.

"Efforts to uniquely isolate Israeli institutions and scholars undermine academic freedom and, moreover, does not advance the cause of peace," said Richard Foltin, AJC's director of national and legislative affairs.

Posted on June 17, 2015 .