American academics vote to boycott Israel

Ze'ev Elkin, Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister

Ze'ev Elkin, Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin has hit back at the American Studies Association (ASA) for its decision to boycott Israel.

The Minister described the association as a "radical leftist" group but raised concerns that their boycott could spread to similar organisations.

"We need to prepare for the danger that it will pass to other, more serious academic forums", said Mr Elkin in a radio interview.

The resolution, passed in a unanimous vote by the 5,000-strong ASA group, calls on US universities not to co-operate or collaborate with Israeli academic institutions.

However, the ASA has no means to compel its members to abide by the ruling.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry and Mr Elkin said they have created a new advocacy initiative called "Faces of Israel" to combat similar boycott campaigns in the future.

Ron Dermer, Israel's new ambassador to the US, said on Facebook: "The ASA chooses as its first ever boycott to boycott Israel, the sole democracy in the Middle East, in which academics are free to say what they want, write what they want and research what they want."

Last updated: 10:14am, December 18 2013