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Membership Voting To Ratify Anti-Israel Academic Boycott Starts At Middle East Studies Association

Membership Voting To Ratify Anti-Israel Academic Boycott Starts At Middle East Studies Association

MESA members have from January 31-March 22 to decide whether to ratify a pro-BDS resolution, based on the resolution’s unsubstantiated claims. MESA members’ request for a discussion forum where resolution supporters can offer support for their claims has so far gone unanswered.

Voting opened today to ratify the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) resolution endorsing boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

Excerpt from 1/31/22 MESA email to membership, captioned “Referendum Vote & 2022 MESA Nominating Committee Election”

As we previously reported, MESA passed a pro-BDS resolution at its December 2, 2021, business meeting.

See our prior posts:
Middle East Studies Association Moves Toward Endorsing BDS Academic Boycott Against Israel
Middle East Studies Association Boycotting Israel “Is Basically the Old Anti-Jewish Boycott”
Middle East Studies Association Members In “Legal Jeopardy” If Carry Out Israel Boycott On Campuses
Florida State Drops Middle East Studies Association Membership As Group Moves Towards Israel Boycott
Will George Washington U Let Middle East Studies Ass’n Operate International Anti-Israel Academic Boycott From Its HQ On GWU’s Campus?

On January 20, MESA notified its membership about the vote and informed them the ratification vote would open January 31 and close March 22.

Excerpt from 1/20/22 MESA email to membership, captioned “Thank you for continuing your MESA Membership in 2022!”

In both the January 20 and January 31 emails, MESA listed the BDS vote at the bottom, in smallish print. Having changed its bylaws to allow the association to adopt political advocacy, MESA doesn’t seem eager to publicize its pro-BDS stance. At least, not until after the vote is finished.

The resolution makes unsupported claims that Israel has systematically violated Palestinians’ human rights, attacked Palestinian educational institutions, harassed Palestinian professors, teachers, and students, and harassed Israeli professors and students criticizing Israeli policies. Despite its left-handed acknowledgement that Israeli faculty and students are not in lockstep with governmental policies, the resolution also charges (again, without specifics) that “Israeli universities are imbricated in these systematic violations through their provision of direct assistance to the Israeli military and intelligence establishments…”

MESA sometimes fosters online discussion on the subject of pending votes by creating an online forum where facts and opinions in support or opposition to a resolution may be discussed. To date, MESA hasn’t created any such forum for the BDS resolution.

The Academic Engagement Network (AEN), which issued a statement opposing the BDS resolution back in December, sent a letter to MESA on January 31 suggesting it set up a discussion thread. In particular, AEN argued:

With the referendum on the BDS resolution open for voting today and continuing through March 22, 2022, I encourage you to share with your members AEN’s statement, along with those recently issued by the other organizations noted above, so that they can make an informed decision during the voting period. These statements, issued by academic organizations and professional associations representing thousands of scholars in the US, Israel and worldwide, flag important considerations for your membership which I hope you will agree should be brought to their attention.

In addition to sharing these statements, I also urge you to create an online forum for your membership where proponents and critics of the resolution can engage together on its merits and the potential negative consequences for MESA, including possible legal liabilities and financial costs. Opening an online forum for debate and discussion will allow those MESA members who have concerns and reservations to share them with colleagues. Further, given that the resolution’s text does not include citations to sources or any accompanying FAQ, such a discussion forum is all the more necessary as it will enable the thirty-six MESA members who proposed the resolution to elaborate on its key claims and to provide evidentiary material for them. Lastly, opening a discussion forum to facilitate dialogue will help to ensure that the vote is fair since members would have received information, both pro and con, about it and will have had the opportunity to share their views and perspectives (emphasis added).

Don’t expect MESA to set up the requested discussion forum, let alone submit factual proof for its claims of Israel’s alleged human rights violations. Scapegoating Israel is an evidence-free activity, especially for university professionals about the Middle East.


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the resolution also charges (again, without specifics) that “Israeli universities are imbricated in these systematic violations

Hey, I learned a new word! See, these people are not completely useless!

    OldProf2 in reply to Milhouse. | January 31, 2022 at 8:35 pm

    They’re still very useless, since they used the word by accident.

    They probably mean “implicated,” but made a typo and the spell-checker corrected it to “imbricated.” That shows they never checked their work closely.

    “Imbricated” means “overlapping evenly,” and is generally used to describe biological anatomy, as in fish scales or leaves.

AnAdultInDiapers | February 1, 2022 at 4:53 am

They claim Israeli universities are involved due to providing support to the Israeli Government and military, and that the US Government is involved, due to supporting Israel.

Surely this means their own universities are also involved, due to supporting the US Government and military.

Aren’t they requiring themselves to boycott themselves? I fear they didn’t think this through.

    Hah. Their own universities don’t support the US government or military. They do all they can to oppose and obstruct them, and to support whichever enemies the US is fighting at any given moment.

And how many Nobel prizes have been awarded to Palestinians? None? But Israel is the bad one? Right.

    Milhouse in reply to DSHornet. | February 1, 2022 at 11:00 am

    Do you mean real Nobels, or political ones (Peace and Literature)? If you count the pollitical prizes, there’s Arafat.

    But really, all that shows is that the real Nobels, that are awarded on the basis of actual achievement, are white supremacist and Eurocentric, by valuing so-called “objective” “achievement” over other more equitable values like melanin and victimhood and the like.

    Also, to be fair, the number of Nobels (real ones) is not a measure of right or wrong. Heisenberg had a Nobel. Von Braun could easily have got one. And in some parallel universe where Mengele made significant discoveries, he might have been awarded one too. Would that have made the Nazi cause any better?! So if the accusations the antisemites make against Israel were true (which of course they’re not) then the number of Jewish or Israeli Nobel laureates wouldn’t be a relevant defense.