On Friday, June 23, 2017, MLA Members for Justice in Palestine posted a statement protesting the MLA’s ratification of Resolution 2017-1. The anti-BDS resolution, which calls on the association to refrain from the boycott of Israeli academic institutions, was ratified as it barely reached the 10% threshold of member votes (1,954 out of 18,279 members voted in favor of the resolution) required by MLA bylaws. While the vote suggests threshold of mobilization of pro-Israeli constituencies within academia, and constitutes an upsetting setback for the academic boycott movement within the MLA, the ratification of resolution has little political significance generally, as criticism of Israel’s policies increase and support for Palestinians gathers renewed legitimacy among students and academics across the US.
Furthermore, Resolution 2017-1 is not binding on the membership and ultimately does not in any way prevent MLA members, MLA forums or allied organizations from advocating endorsement of the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. MLA Members for Justice in Palestine encourages faculty and students to protest vehemently the ratification of the resolution, which is a stain on the reputation the association. To this end, we invite those who recognize the retrograde character of Resolution 2017-1 to sign the public statement of protest, which will be sent to the MLA Executive leadership.
Adding your name to this collective statement is only one simple way to express your opposition to Resolution 2017-1. Many members are outraged by the ratification of a resolution that privileges “the work of individual Israeli scholars” over Palestinian human rights, and is completely out of step with progressive trends in US politics today. These current and former MLA members have proposed other forms of protest, from organizing a Palestinian literature and culture forum to refusing to renew MLA membership.
Below is a partial list of protest actions that have been suggested:
- Do not renew your MLA membership in 2018 and send a letter to the MLA leadership members and governance protesting the ratification of resolution 2017-1
- Contact your forum executive committees and ask them to write a statement against the ratification of resolution 2017-1;
- Post protest statements on the MLA Commons;
- Propose a motion to rescind Resolution 2017-1;
- Organize panels for future MLA conventions in support of the academic and cultural boycott of Israel;
- Present papers at future MLA conventions that address Palestinian solidarity and cultural topics;
- Establish a Palestinian literature and culture forum within the MLA;
- Work on campus with Students for Justice in Palestine on Divestment campaigns;
- Include in your bio for all publications and panel presentations a statement in support of the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
- Follow MLA Members for Justice in Palestine on Facebook.
If you did not vote to ratify Resolution 2017-1, take action now and show your opposition. Reclaim the MLA from the narrow-minded members who seek to return the association to its elitist and racist origins.
Please send us updates on actions that you take to protest. firstname.lastname@example.org