The courageous effort on the part of the Historians Against the War to support, through an American Historical Association adopted resolution, academic freedom in the Occupied Territories was defeated January 9, 2016: 51 in favour, 111 against. Howard Zinn had the microphone ripped from him in 1969 by “distinguished” Asian scholar and A.H.A. president John K. Fairbanks, during the Vietnam War, when he tried to achieve a similar objective to advance international human rights and justice:
The American Historical Association, in recognition of the atrocities committed at home and abroad, which are directly attributable to the Southeast Asian war, hereby calls for an immediate withdrawal of all the United States troops and material aid.
H.A.W. stands on the shoulders of Howard Zinn in its pursuit of justice and international freedoms. Critical thinking is not merely for our students; it is for us as well, and our right to pursue through any venue in the United States.
Organisations need to realise we live in a community of scholars. It is not enough to emphasise “scholarship” for ourselves and ignore the many challenges to higher-educational freedoms in the Middle East and elsewhere. Note the H.A.W. resolution did not address the B.D.S. movement, which is increasingly galvanising national-disciplinary organisations; it addressed the right to learn, to engage international scholarly visits, and the right for students and their professors to move freely between Gaza and the West Bank to pursue higher-educational needs.
I wonder if more organisations that profess to be protectors of academic freedom will begin to address the absence of such freedoms in other countries and occupied lands.
Howard Zinn would frequently quote Miguel de Unamuno: “Sometimes to be silent is to lie.”