Members of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) seeking to boycott the Jewish state as part of the discriminative BDS movement failed on Tuesday, as a boycott resolution was narrowly shot down by the organization.
The resolution banning collaborations with all Israeli universities and research institutions was defeated by 2,423 votes against as opposed to 2,384 votes in favor, indicating a thin margin of 39 votes.
AAA members had voted by email about the resolution over the course of six weeks. Despite the failure, AAA organizers of the boycott campaign vowed on their website Tuesday to continue pressing for BDS.
"This is a dramatic shift stemming from the intensive publicity work and ground work with members of the association," said Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) in response to the vote.
"I welcome the Israeli and American anthropologists who worked against the decision, and the academic pro-Israeli organizations in the US that led the ground work," added Erdan.
According to Erdan, the AAA vote against BDS joins a series of achievements in the struggle against the boycott movement, including the advancement of legislature in numerous states around the world against the boycott organizations, closing the bank accounts of BDS organizations and more.
"In recent months many quiet activities are taking place in the field that led to a series of achievements, activities that weaken the delegitimization organizations that try to harm the state," said Erdan.
In an ironic twist, a report last month by the grassroots Zionist group Im Tirtzu revealed that leading Israeli academics were instrumental in the AAA boycott efforts – and in doing so encouraged a boycott of the very institutions where they are employed.
Im Tirtzu director Matan Peleg also welcomed the BDS defeat, calling it "a correct decision which it's a shame only came now after a long road of tribulations. It is very unfortunate that Israeli academics took part in encouraging the process that sought for a boycott, but fortunately their lowly actions got a cold shoulder by healthy reason."