WASHINGTON — More than 50 Jewish academics joined an initiative rejecting academic boycotts of Israel as well as legislative attempts to inhibit such boycotts.

“Academic boycotts and blacklists are discriminatory per se and undercut the purpose of the academy: the pursuit of knowledge,” said the statement posted Monday by “The Third Narrative,” an initiative of Ameinu, a liberal Zionist group.

“Likewise, we are against legislative and other efforts by domestic or foreign interests that seek to diminish the academic freedom of those scholars who might propose, endorse, or promote academic boycotts, even if we strongly disagree with these tactics,” the statement said.

Most of the signatories are Jewish and include prominent pro-Israel critics of current Israeli government policies, particularly settlement expansion.

Among them are Eric Alterman, a journalism professor at Brooklyn College and a Nation columnist; Susanna Heschel, a professor of Jewish studies at Dartmouth; Peter Beinart, an associate professor of journalism at City University of New York as well as an author; Todd Gitlin, the chairman of the program in communications at Columbia University; and Michael Walzer, a noted philosopher.

At the end of last year dozens of American universities publicly rejected calls for an academic boycott of Israel. The move came after the American Studies Association, that has over 5,000 members from academia, decided that it will support the boycott.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.