NEW YORK (JTA) — New York University’s Department of Social and Cultural Analysis voted to boycott NYU’s own satellite campus in Tel Aviv.
The vote by department members pledging “non-cooperation” took place on Thursday. In a statement, the department said it is boycotting the campus because of Israel’s policy of barring entry to people who support the movement to boycott Israel. The statement also said Israel frequently bars entry to people of Palestinian descent.
“We pledge non-cooperation with the Tel Aviv program until (a) the Israeli state ends its restrictions on entry based on ancestry and political speech and (b) the Israeli state adopts policies granting visas for exchanges to Palestinian universities on a fully equal basis as it does to Israeli universities,” the resolution said.
In 2017, Israel passed a law allowing the state to bar entry to supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS). Palestinians have long complained of onerous treatment at Israel’s border. Israel says it retains the right to bar entry to those who wish to harm the country, and that its border procedures are done out of security concerns.
The resolution will have little immediate effect, as the department does not have a program at NYU’s Tel Aviv campus, which opened in 2009. But the department will not sponsor faculty members teaching at the campus. It has urged students not to attend the campus.
NYU also has a satellite campus in the United Arab Emirates, a country rated as “not free” by the Freedom House organization, which evaluates international civil liberties. The department’s resolution acknowledged that it is not boycotting that campus even though “the UAE regularly restricts entry for reasons of ‘national security,’ and … academic freedom is routinely violated at NYU-Abu Dhabi.”
But it claimed that the “Israeli state has singled itself out through its recent amendments to the Law of Entry, and through its consistent denial of access to those of Palestinian descent.”
The department includes Africana, American, Gender & Sexuality, Latino and Metropolitan studies.
In response to a previous Israel boycott last year, a statement from NYU’s administration said, “The University has a clear, long-standing policy opposing an academic boycott of Israel.” It said “no NYU student has been prevented from going to Israel.”
In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, the university’s president responded to criticism over a student award given to NYU’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. Andrew Hamilton wrote that “NYU’s leadership has publicly repudiated calls for boycotts of Israel, dismissed calls to close our Israel site, criticized and rejected efforts to ostracize pro-Israel groups, and stood with other universities and elected officials to denounce anti-Semitism.”
Realize Israel, a pro-Israel student group, criticized the department’s boycott resolution, saying in a statement that it feels the department “prioritized its bias against Israel over academic opportunities for students. It is deeply disappointing that NYU continues to foster an environment that singles out and targets Jewish students based on their support for the State of Israel.”
The school’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine posted on Facebook that it was “thrilled” by the resolution.