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Incoming American Studies Association president supports Israel boycott

The incoming president of the American Studies Association, which has led a controversial boycott against Israeli academics over the country’s conflict with Palestinians, says she supports the protest as two New York politicians introduce a bill to pull state funding from any public college that supports it.

The Algemeiner reported that Lisa Duggan, a social and cultural analysis professor at New York University, told the New York Post she is “fully supportive” of the boycott, which was launched last month by the 5,000-member association.

“We are not boycotting individuals, but only institutions … (to protest) the discriminatory treatment of Palestinians by Israeli academic institutions that aid and support the illegal occupation,” Duggan wrote in an email.

In a post on its website, NYU featured Duggan’s election on a web page highlighting “faculty awards and accomplishments,” calling the ASA “the nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history.”

Meanwhile, state Senate co-leader Jeffrey Klein, D-Bronx, and Assemblyman Dov Hikind, D-Brooklyn, introduced legislation this week to pull state funding from any New York college that boycotts Israel, the New York Daily News reported.

The boycott is “targeted discrimination against Israel that betrays the values of academic freedom that we hold dear” and could be in violation of the state human rights law, the two Democrats said.

John Beckham, an NYU spokesman, said the university, while opposing the boycott, does not agree with Klein and Hikind’s bill, believing it’s a potential attack on academic freedom, the Daily News reported.