Statement on ASA Boycott

Recently, three scholarly associations voted to enact a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

As I indicated in response to a proposed boycott in 2007, I believe such actions to be misguided and contrary to fundamental academic values.

Boycotts attack the very core of the academy and, in important ways, subvert the academy’s principal reason for being. To exclude universities or scholars because of their nationality or beliefs is to violate the values that make the academy a bastion of free inquiry and one of the best remaining hopes of the world. The free flow of ideas and argumentation, and the open exchange among scholars—encouraging both collaboration and dissent—are essential components of our common quest for understanding and discovery.

These central values are not open for dispute or amendment, and cannot be subject to the political whims of the moment.


—H. Kim Bottomly