American Historical Association rejects anti-Israel resolutions

At the annual business meeting of the American Historical Association, radical anti-Israel activists offered two resolutions that condemned the Jewish state for denying Palestinians academic freedom.

For a variety of reasons that William Jacobson points out, the resolutions lost by a surprising margin:

At the American Historical Association annual meeting in New York City, an anti-Israel group called Historians Against the War sought to present two anti-Israel resolutions (here and here).

Neither resolution called for a boycott of Israel, because they knew that would not pass (the AHA apparently is not controlled by anti-Israel radical activists, unlike the American Studies Association).

So in a strategy we have seen at the Modern Language Association, a resolution condemning alleged Israeli offenses against Palestinian academic freedom was offered. (It failed at MLA, btw.) This is the stepping stone approach — first get a resolution condemning, then later come back with a boycott resolution.

The resolutions were factually inaccurate and engaged in unsubstantiated hyperbole.

But the resolution sponsors missed the November 1 deadline for the resolutions to be considered at the business meeting. Only an affirmative vote at the business meeting could send the resolutions to a full membership vote.

So the anti-Israel activists sought to have the business meeting rules suspended. That would require at least a 100 person quorum and a two-thirds vote.

Based on the Twitter feed, it appears that the motion to suspend the rules met spirited opposition on a variety of grounds, including the lack of good grounds for missing the deadline, the importance of providing adequate time to fact check the resolution, and the merits of the ultimate resolution.

The vote at the business meeting was taken just minutes ago.

The motion failed, with 144 voting No, 54 voting Yes, and 3 voting Present. So the Resolutions will not even be debated, much less sent to the membership.

Sanity prevailed someplace in academia. A good start to the New Year.

William is right to celebrate this victory, but was the reason the resolutions failed because historians opposed the notion of wrongly blaming Israel for something it didn't do, or was the opposition based on more technical matters, such as the failure of the group to submit the resolutions prior to the November 1 deadline?  I'd hate to think the radicals would be more successful next year if they organize themselves a little better.

More to the point, here is a sample of articles in the AHA newsletter appearing during the conference:

What is the Responsibility of Historians Regarding the Israel/Palestine Conflict?

It's Time for Historians to Explode the Myth of Israeli Exceptionalism

A Boycott of Israel Has Nothing to Do with Anti-Semitism (Video)

Historians Should Pressure Congress to Limit Aid to Israel (Video)

I think the AHA has some work to do when it comes to preventing bias against Israel.

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