Success ! Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against American Studies Association Over Israel Boycott

| Palestine Legal |

Yesterday, the D.C. Superior Court ended a 9-year harassment campaign against the American Studies Association (ASA) and several of its members over its historic 2013 academic boycott resolution. 

“This victory comes as Israel is intensifying its attacks on Palestinian civilians and underscores the importance of boycotts and other campaigns for Palestinian rights,” said senior staff attorney Radhika Sainath. “We’re pleased the court recognized that this is an archetypical SLAPP suit brought by an anti-Palestinian organization that openly brags about using this tactic to chill speech supporting Palestinian rights.”

Palestine Legal filed an amicus brief urging the D.C. Court of Appeals at an earlier stage of the case to dismiss the lawsuit because it was filed to scare professors from supporting the academic boycott of Israel. 

Our brief details how in December 2013 the ASA votedby a large margin to “honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.” Soon after their resolution was passed, the Mossad-linkedShurat HaDin Israeli Law Center threatened to sue the ASA, and other pro-Israel groupsthreatened to challenge the ASA’s tax-exempt status. Ultimately, the pro-Israel Brandeis Center sued the ASA and academics in federal court and, after that suit was dismissed, initiated the case in D.C. Superior Court that was dismissed on Wednesday.

Defendants Lisa Duggan, Curtis Marez, Neferti Tadiar, Sunaina Maira, Chandan Reddy, John Stephens, and the American Studies Association were represented by Whiteford, Taylor & Preston L.L.P., defendant Steven Salaita by the Center for Constitutional Rights and defendants J. Kehaulani Kauanui and Jasbir Puar were represented by Mark Allen Kleiman and Richard Renner. 

Palestine Legal provided legal and advocacy support to the ASA in the run-up to the vote and in the aftermath of the resolution’s success, as Israel advocacy organizations launched vigorous campaigns to punish the ASA and deter other academic organizations from passing similar resolutions protesting Israeli policies. 

For more information, read the Center for Constitutional Rights’ press release and case page.