The presidents of Israel's eight research universities are calling on an American organization to refrain from moving forward with plans to boycott Israeli academics.

In a letter released Tuesday, the group says the American Anthropological Association's resolution to boycott Israel is "absurd" and aims to "incite and introduce hatred and racism" into Israeli academia.

The association supported the motion last month at its annual meeting, and it will soon come up for a vote among all its 12,000 members. If it passes, the association will be the largest organization to adopt an academic boycott of Israel.

The initiative is backed by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which aims to protest Israeli policies toward the Palestinians but which Israeli universities accuse of spreading lies and slander about the country.