ADL Urges Postponement of Academic Conference Citing Concerns over Participants and Content
Update: As of February 9, the conference has been postponed.
New York, NY, February 8, 2006 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today urged the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) to postpone its conference on academic boycotts, scheduled to begin February 13 in Bellagio, Italy, in response to concerns about the active support of several participants for an academic boycott against Israel and the circulation of an anti-Semitic paper by a Holocaust denier.
"We were troubled to learn that eight of the 21 participants in this conference support the use of boycotts against the state of Israel," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "We support academic freedom, but one needs to proceed with caution when the views being included are far outside of the mainstream, or when the message involves anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, or questions Israel's right to exist."
ADL applauded the three foundations supporting the conference – The Ford Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation – for clearly expressing reservations about the conference and disagreeing with the AAUP's decision to proceed. The foundations raised concerns after it emerged that one of the papers circulated as background material for the conference was from a notorious Holocaust denial journal, "The Barnes Review."
Among those invited to participate in the AAUP conference are eight individuals who strongly supported the April 2005 decision by the British Association of University Teachers (AUT) – later rescinded – to boycott two Israeli universities. At the time, the AAUP strongly condemned the AUT and issued a statement against the use of academic boycotts. Since then, the AAUP has continued to clearly denounce the use of academic boycotts.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.