Middle East Studies Association Is Political: Vote “Yes” to Bylaw Revision

The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) is currently conducting a membership vote on important bylaw revision that allow the organization to bring into alignment its legal grounding and its de facto political character. screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-12-07-02-pm

Here is the current language of Article I of the MESA bylaws, which is followed by the  proposed new language, striking non-political and inserting a phrase emphasizing the 501 (c)(3) status of the association:

Current Language

ARTICLE I. NAME, NATURE, and OBJECTIVES
Section 2. Nature and Objectives. THE MIDDLE EAST STUDIES ASSOCIATION is a non-profit, non-political association that fosters the study of the Middle East, promotes high standards of scholarship and teaching, and encourages public understanding of the region and its peoples through programs, publications and services that enhance education, further intellectual exchange, recognize professional distinction, and defend academic freedom.

Proposed New Language

ARTICLE I. NAME, NATURE, and OBJECTIVES
Section 2. Nature and Objectives. THE MIDDLE EAST STUDIES ASSOCIATION is a non-profit, non-political association that fosters the study of the Middle East, promotes high standards of scholarship and teaching, and encourages public understanding of the region and its peoples through programs, publications and services that enhance education, further intellectual exchange, recognize professional distinction, and defend academic freedom in accordance with its status as a 501(c)(3) scientific, educational, literary, and charitable organization.

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Exposing Liberal Hypocrisy: The Importance of the Academic Boycott Movement Now

As Israel, with the support of the Trump administration, increases its assaults on Palestinians–expanding settlement construction and an escalascreen-shot-2017-02-09-at-11-39-54-amtion of attacks on Gaza and the West Bank–the case for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in general, and the academic boycott of Israel in particular has never been more obvious.

Chemi Shalev reported in Haaretz (1/29/2017) that Trump’s anti-immigrant policies and his proposal to build a wall on the US-Mexico border are inspired by Israel and received praise from Netanyahu:

the Israeli prime minister applauded Trump’s decision to set up a wall with Mexico, with the disputable claim, phrased in Trump-style syntax, “I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.” Netanyahu’s intervention on a topic that is in sharp political dispute in the U.S. is questionable enough, but the timing of his decision to identify so strongly with Trump, just after the president issued his executive order on Syrian refugees and Muslim immigrants – a move viewed widely as a declaration of hate against Muslims – is a reckless gamble.

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