SWC Calls on U.S. Universities to Sever Ties with Middle East Studies Association for Endorsing Academic Boycott of Israel

March 28, 2022

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has denounced the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) for overwhelmingly endorsing the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.  

The MESA resolution, approved on March 22  by a 768 to 167 vote, accuses Israeli universities of participating in “systemic violations” against Palestinians. 

“We denounce in the strongest terms MESA’s outrageous and morally reprehensible endorsement of the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and anti-peace BDS movement,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, SWC’s Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action. 

“We call on all American universities to sever ties with MESA and ensure that their faculty do not use their positions to justify and promote anti-Israel activities.” 

“The hypocrisy and sheer lunacy of MESA’s vote is self-evident ,as it will surely extend to the fields of cancer, bio-medical and technological research - all fields which Israeli universities, faculties, and students—including Arab students—excel in,” said Cooper.  “It will  also have a debilitating effect on Jewish and pro-Israel students already struggling against  BDS anti-peace activists who try to prevent pro-Israel speakers, events and other activities on campuses.”  

“In voting to support boycotting and blacklisting Israeli universities and scholars, MESA makes it clear to the world it can no longer be considered a credible academic association,” said Rabbi Eric J. Greenberg, SWC Director of United Nations Relations and Strategic Partnership.  “They are violating their own principles of academic freedom.”   

For further information contact the Center’s Communications department at pressinquiries@wiesenthal.com, join the Center on Facebook, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent directly to your Twitter feed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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