Asian-American Congresswoman Grace Meng has sent a letter to the Association for Asian American Studies protesting its recent endorsement of the ‘Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” (BDS) campaign against the State of Israel.
Meng, who represents New York’s 6th District and is also a member of the Middle East and North Africa subcommittee of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, expressed her concern with the “counterproductive” nature of the BDS movement, citing, among other policies, its demand for the Arab “right of return.”
“It is very well known that neither Israel nor a ‘two-state solution’ could exist with a ‘right of return,'” she wrote.
The AAAS voted to pass the BDS resolution in late April at its annual conference in Seattle. The vote passed unanimously, though only about ten percent of its members took part in it.
Meng told The Algemeiner in an email that she couldn’t sit by idly as the AAAS tried to harm Israel.
“This is an unprecedented action for an academic organization, let alone for an Asian American group, so I chose to voice opposition to it,” she said.
She added she has “always been sympathetic to Zionism,” and that a trip to Israel in 2010 “deepened my understanding of the Jewish state. It also provided context to what I already knew about the unique historical persecution of the Jewish people and the great achievements of the Jewish State.”
In her letter to the AAAS, Meng criticized the organization for the tone of its campaign, calling it “inflammatory.”
“The characterization of Israeli actions as ‘racist’ is inaccurate, inflammatory, and inconsistent with the views of the vast majority of Americans and Asian-Americans. It does not serve the cause of peace; rather, it serves to galvanize those who oppose peace.”
She further added that adoption of the resolution could only harm relations between the Asian and Jewish communities in the U.S, and that “the interests of Americans and Asian-Americans are best served here by dialogue and engagement, not boycotts and divestment.”
She told The Algemeiner: “It is important that Asian Americans – particularly the youth – appreciate the value and justness of Israel, America’s only true, democratic ally in the Middle East.”
At the time of publication, the AAAS could not be reached for comment by The Algemeiner.