A bill has been introduced in the US House of Representatives that would cut federal funding to American academic institutions that boycott Israel.
The bipartisan legislation was introduced by Representatives Peter Roskam (R-Illinois) and Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois) in early February and is US lawmakers’ first effort at federal level against higher learning institutions that choose to boycott Israel, Al Jazeera reported on Wednesday.
A similar bill was also introduced by lawmakers in the state of New York and passed the state’s Senate earlier this year but stalled in the New York Assembly when three committees did not discuss or vote on the legislation.
US lawmakers’ efforts against boycotters of Israel intensified after the American Studies Association, which is the largest and oldest association involved in interdisciplinary studies of American culture and history, overwhelmingly voted in December to ban Israeli universities from collaborating with their campuses.
The ASA said the reason behind its decision was that the Israeli institutions were “a party” to policies “that violate human rights” as Israel’s “violation of international law and UN resolutions” continues and the “impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian scholars and students” is well-documented.
The ASA’s boycott of Israeli institutions is part of a larger international effort called Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions.
US lawmakers say the US Constitution gives American academic institutions the right to boycott Israel but if they choose to do so, the US government should deny funding to them.