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American Historical Association votes down anti-Israel resolution

Academic Hall on the campus of University of Missouri - Columbia, where Mike Middleton will take over as president
Michael B. Thomas (Getty/AFP/File)
Resolution accusing Israel of limiting Palestinian academic freedom rejected by a vote of 111 to 50

The American Historical Association (AHA) voted down an anti-Israel resolution at its annual conference held in Atlanta, Georgia this weekend.

This is the second year in a row that the gathering of the oldest and largest organization of historians in America has rejected such a measure, as first reported by The Times of Israel.

The resolution, which had 126 signatories and accused Israel of limiting Palestinian academic freedom, was rejected by a vote of 111 to 50, AHA executive director James Grossman confirmed, according to The Times of Israel.

Titled "Protecting the Right to Education in the Occupied Palestinian Territories," the resolution included statements such as "Israel’s restrictions on the movement of faculty, staff and visitors in the West Bank impede instruction at Palestinian institutions of higher learning," as well as "in summer 2014, Israel bombarded fourteen institutions of higher learning in Gaza, partially or completely destroying nine, and its military routinely invades campuses in Jerusalem and the West Bank and frequently impedes entry."

"The AHA commits itself to monitoring Israeli actions restricting the right to education in the Occupied Palestinian Territories," the resolution ended. 

It was submitted by Historians Against the War, a group that has publicly endorsed the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

According to The Times of Israel, the resolution was overwhelmingly defeated after 45 minutes of debate.

According to Jeffrey Herf, a history professor at the University of Maryland College Park, the AHA members were “not convinced of the truth of the resolution and didn’t think it was appropriate for the organization," the Times of Israel reported. 

“They understood that this was part of a political campaign and an attempt to use the American Historical Association for political purposes, and they rejected that,” he told The Times of Israel. “The members of the AHA have very high standards. They were not going to vote for a resolution like this that was making factual assertions that they couldn’t verify themselves.”

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