Senator Klein, Assemblyman Hikind Denounce American Studies Association Boycott of Israel; Announce New Legislation Aimed at Cutting Off Taxpayer Dollars to Colleges and Universities that Support Boycott

In the wake of the American Studies Association's (ASA) targeted and singular boycott of Israeli universities, State Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) and Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) announced plans to introduce legislation that would cut-off state aid to public and private universities who participate in organizations that boycott countries like Israel. The legislation gives colleges and universities 30 days to withdraw their support from organizations like the ASA or else lose state funding and bonding privileges.  

State Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Dov Hikind said: “The ASA's boycott of Israel is not only a direct violation of New York State’s Human Rights Act, it's a slap in the face to Jews and supporters of Israel everywhere. Make no mistake: the ASA's boycott is targeted discrimination against Israel that betrays the values of academic freedom that we hold dear. We cannot encourage our colleges and universities to engage in this type of discrimination against Israel. New Yorkers expect us to reject discrimination in every form, and cutting off the state spigot is the best way of doing that. ”

Under the legislation, schools would also be required to immediately suspend the use of any state resources in support of organizations like the ASA. The legislation would also prohibit employees of New York State's public universities from participating in conferences or activities sponsored by groups that participate in discriminatory boycotts like the ASA's. Under the legislation, schools could still join and support academic organization that boycott academic institutions located in countries listed under federal law as state sponsors of terrorism.

Senator Klein and Assemblyman Hikind will also be sending letters today to the chancellors of CUNY and SUNY urging them to immediately withdraw any support for the ASA. 

The lawmakers will introduce their legislation at the state of the 2014 legislation session in January.