The Modern Language Association House Delegates voted on two anti-Israel Resolutions today. (The Resolutions are at the bottom of this post.)

The main resolution, asking for the State Department to contest Israeli denials of entry visas to traveling academics: “Be it resolved that the MLA urges the US Dept of State to contest Israel’s denials of entry to the West Bank by US academics….” The language was amended at the last minute to take out the word “arbitrarily” and to delete reference to Gaza.

A House of Delegates vote is NOT a binding resolution that commits the organization to action. A resolution, if it passes the House of Delegates, then goes to the Executive Committee, which can reject the resolution for a variety of reasons, including that the resolution would jeopardize tax-exempt status). I would be surprised if the Executive Committee rejected it, since the operative language is so weak.

We will have a post later from someone who was in the room. For now, I will post some of the Tweets from those in the room. Notice that there was significant pushback, and that the supporters of the resolution basically said take our word for it, when challenged as to the proof. That apparently was enough.

The actual operative language of the resolution is not particularly damaging, and was watered down. But the “wherefore” clauses were highly anti-Israel and pretty-much propaganda. Those “wherefore” clauses will be the main victory for the anti-Israel group.

The second resolution was an “Emergency” Resolution asking the MLA to denounce supposed attacks on the supporters of the American Studies Association boycott resolution. That Emergency Motion, which actually was explicitly pro-boycott, was rejected. 

(Added) It needed 75% to be considered, and it fell short so it never went to a vote on the merits.  This is big blow to the boycotters, as they have been playing victim with regard to criticism, and surely would have liked the MLA to come to their aid. However, Inside Higher Ed reports that the second resolution still will be “referred” to the Executive Committee, so it will be interesting to see if the Executive Committee approves a resolution never even considered by the House of Delegates.

Note also that barely half of the total delegates were present for the vote. There was barely a quorum.

The net-net of this day was that a barely critical resolution passed narrowly, a highly critical resolution was rejected.

Considering how many months (years) the BDS academics spent preparing, and how little time the opposition had, this is something of a victory.

(Tweets mostly in reverse Chron.)

Modern Language Association Proposed Anti-Israel Resolutions

MLA Original Resolution

(Original Modern Language Assoc. anti-Israel Proposed Resolution)

MLA Original Resolution as Modified at Delegate Conference

(Modern Language Assoc. anti-Israel Proposed Resolution as Modified at Delegate Meeting)

MLA Emergency Resolution

(Original Modern Language Assoc. “Emergency” Proposed Resolution)

NOTE: The title of this post was changed shortly after publication.

(Featured Image credit – Noam Neusner)(with permission)


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