Largest society of US historians rejects anti-Israel resolution
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Largest society of US historians rejects anti-Israel resolution

(JTA) — The largest society of historians and history professors in the United States rejected a resolution condemning what it calls Israel’s restriction of Palestinians right to education in the West Bank and Gaza.

The American Historical Association resolution, submitted by the independent group Historians Against the War, was voted down 111-51 on Saturday during the association’s annual convention in Atlanta, Georgia.

According to the resolution, Israel placed “restrictions on the movement of faculty, staff and visitors in the West Bank to impede the regular functioning of instruction and university activities at Palestinian institutions of higher learning” and “routinely refuses to allow students from Gaza to travel in order to pursue higher education abroad, and even at West Bank universities.” Israel also was accused of bombarding 14 institutions of higher learning during the 2014 Gaza war and of “routinely” invading university campuses in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Two similar resolutions were rejected by the group last year, when members voted against a measure to suspend the association’s by-laws after the  anti-Israel resolutions failed to appear on the agenda because they were submitted late.

Van Gosse, an associate professor at Franklin and Marshall College and a member of Historians Against the War, told The New York Times that the vote was  “a complete moral victory.”

“The American Historical Association has just spend a spent a serious amount of time discussing the Israeli government’s violation of Palestinians’ right to education. This debate is not going away,” Gosse said.

Resolutions condemning Israel or endorsing an academic boycott of Israel have been passed by several American academic groups, including the American Anthropological Association, the American Studies Association and the Asian American Studies Association.