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The Modern Language Association is at it again: at this year’s annual MLA meeting in Philadelphia, academic boycotts of Israel are on the agenda. Thus continues the Settler Colonial attempt by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) to hijack American faculty organizations. The 24,000 member organization, comprised of faculty in the fields English and other non-classical foreign languages, will be debating (again) whether to boycott their colleagues in Israel, and would extend to the Academy of the Hebrew Language.
There were complaints that the MLA leadership was not evenhanded in distributing materials to the membership, to the prejudice of pro-Israel members. Also, an online chat forum was disclosed in which gross anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic statements were made by MLA members. The results of the vote were just posted, and it failed to pass because less than 10% of the 30,000+ members voted. Any resolution must be ratified by a majority vote in which the number of those voting for ratification equals at least ten percent of the association’s membership, which was 2,390 votes this year. There were 1,560 votes in favor of ratification and 1,063 votes against ratification. This is, in many ways, even more devastating than a simple loss. It shows that the anti-Israel agenda of some radical academics simply isn't of much interest to the broader academic community. The lack of interest by the overall membership is most telling of all. Prof. Cary Nelson of the University of Illinois issued the following statement on behalf of MLA Members for Scholars' Rights, a group opposing the resolution:
Resolution 2014-1Whereas Israel has denied academics of Palestinian ethnicity entry into the West Bank; Whereas these restrictions violate international conventions on an occupying power’s obligation to protect the right to education; Whereas the United States Department of State acknowledges on its Web site that Israel restricts the movements of American citizens of Palestinian descent; Whereas the denials have disrupted instruction, research, and planning at Palestinian universities; Whereas the denials have restricted the academic freedom of scholars and teachers who are United States citizens; Be it resolved that the MLA urge the United States Department of State to contest Israel’s denials of entry to the West Bank by United States academics who have been invited to teach, confer, or do research at Palestinian universities.
The days of the hateful BDS ideology going unchallenged on campuses and in academic organizations are over....
Strong presence countering BDS propaganda helped water down main anti-Israel resolution and defeat "emergency" resolution....
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