In the early 2000s, we used to say “Barbara Lee speaks for me,” referencing the fearless California Congresswoman who defied the Bush administration’s rush to war. Today, I say President Brodhead does NOT speak for me when he condemns the American Studies Association for its decision to boycott Israeli academic institutions. Along with many Israeli, Palestinian, U.S. and European academics, I support the boycott as a non-violent tactic in larger struggles against the on-going and expanding Israeli occupation of Palestine. As we celebrate the life and achievements of Nelson Mandela, we would do well to remember that all the same specious arguments against this boycott were deployed in support of the apartheid regime in South Africa and shown to be wrong with the passage of time.

Diane M. Nelson

Professor, Cultural Anthropology