Dear Professor Marez,

This is my second letter to you expressing my extreme disappointment with the American Studies Association’s decision to boycott Israel. You may recall that, in my first letter, I quoted you from the Monday, December 15 online edition of the New York Times as saying that, “one has to start somewhere”, as the ASA so recklessly singled out Israel for human rights violations. You and your colleagues chose to ignore a seemingly countless number of candidates in the same region as Israel, including Eritrea and Sudan (North and South); governments in such obvious disrepair that thousands of its citizens have fled to Israel for physical safety and political asylum. Professor Marez, no doubt you’ve seen international media coverage of Israel’s African asylum seeker issue that has overwhelmingly portrayed Israel as the inhospitable host, yet has completely ignored the fact that over 60,000 displaced African people have remarkably chosen (and continue to choose) Israel for shelter.

As Director of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel (IBSI), I have a particular obligation to point out the bitter irony that the ASA has been duped into using the language of “boycott”, recalling the successful attempt to bring worldwide condemnation on then apartheid South Africa. (As you know, Mr. Omar Barghouti, one of the chief architects of BDS, is pursuing his doctorate at Tel Aviv University in the very nation he is attempting to dismantle). Given Mr. Barghouti’s fondness for Black history, maybe he can help direct the ASA’s next BDS campaign against the regimes of Isaias Afewerki (Eritrea) or Omar al-Bashir (North Sudan). Or, since Mr. Barghouti is such a proud Palestinian, maybe he can direct the ASA’s attention to Gaza, where 13,000 teens have just graduated from Hamas’ suicide training camps. Surely the ASA would willingly expose the bastardization of the education of these 10-12 graders.

Professor Marez, I recognize it has only been a month since the ASA’s fateful decision to publicly chide Israel. You may still be deeply pondering which country is next. I continue to await your selection. I’m certain the oppressed who need your voice are in great anticipation.

Sincerely,
Dumisani Washington
IBSI – Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel