Friday 18th April 2014,

Community Issues

Association of #Asian American Studies Defends Its #Boycott of #Israel

posted by Randall


Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) condemned the Association of Asian American Studies for its decision to support a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.  In a letter to AAAS, Meng called the boycott “counterproductive” and “inflammatory.”

In a letter on its website from AAAS President Mary Yu Danico to its membership, she explains why AAAS cannot change its position despite the urging of several AAPI groups.

The letter is republished below.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

At the 2013 conference, AAAS became the first academic association to support “The Resolution to Support the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions.”  After the announcement was made, many of the original signatories, board members, and I received supportive emails and many more hostile-threatening emails from non AAAS members.  As president, I wanted to ensure that our members were not targeted and thus decided to delete the signatories names and the names of our board members from the statement that is now published on the Association for Asian American Studies website. While I continue to get hateful emails, I was saddened to hear that there was a misunderstanding among our AAPI community members about how this resolution surfaced and passed; many falsely believed that I led the resolution.

As president, I do not propose resolutions nor do I push a resolution forward. The process that is outlined in our policy and procedure dictates a process that, I and the executive board, must follow. We did our due diligence and followed our P&P and referred the resolution to the general members to vote on. At the general business meeting the members who were present voted and the resolution passed unanimously.  The resolution was written with 29 signatories and no one on the board took part in the writing or the dissemination of the resolution. This was the will of the membership and my role as president is to ensure that process of followed.

This resolution has sparked dialogue (good and bad) among our community members. AAPI community leader have been contacted by various organizations encouraging them to convince us to reconsider our vote.  This is not possible. Our association must abide by the policy and procedures set forth and the vote remains. However, what has become increasingly clear is the need to have a session regarding “The Resolution to Support the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions.” I hope to engage in conversations with our AAPI community leaders who have ties with both parties involved to organize a session that will yield respectful and healthy dialogue at the 2014 meeting.

I thank you for your continued support of our association.  Together we are making a difference, but we have much to learn and grow from each other. I look forward to exchanges of ideas and thoughtful dialogue.


Mary Yu Danico
President, Association for Asian American Studies

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