Defending the Right to Boycott Israel

Click this link to VOTE NO on Resolution 2017-1.

Voting on MLA Resolutions: April 19-June 1.

Click this link to sign the petition against MLA Resolution 2017-1.


In a 2014 op ed for the New York Times, Omar Barghouti, one of the Palestinian leaders of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, noted that “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu effectively declared B.D.S. a strategic threat. Calling it the ‘delegitimization’ movement, he assigned the overall responsibility for fighting it to his Strategic Affairs Ministry. But B.D.S. doesn’t pose an existential threat to Israel; it poses a serious challenge to Israel’s system of oppression of the Palestinian people, which is the root cause of its growing worldwide isolation.” Since 2014, the boycott Israel movement has continued to grow and so has Israel’s and its US allies’ efforts to crush international solidarity with Palestinians. As reported in Haaretz, Israel’s assaults on the boycott movement range from the imposition of a 2016 travel ban on Barghouti (and more recently his arrest in 2017) to the passage of a 2017 law “barring those who support boycotts against Israel or West Bank settlements from entering the country” (see cnn.com report).

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MLA Voting Now Open: No on Resolution 2017-1!

Click this link to VOTE NO on Resolution 2017-1.

Voting on MLA Resolutions: April 19-June 1.

Click this link to sign the petition against MLA Resolution 2017-1.

The academy cannot be separate from the political, economic, and ideological turmoil of our time: #States of Insecurity calls on academia to uphold its role as a place of critical and historical reflection, inquiry, and intervention.

— MLA President Diana Taylor

Excerpt from A Statement of Past Presidents of the MLA

As former presidents of the Association, we wish to comment on Resolution 2017-1. We think that it misrepresents the MLA’s mission, defining the Association’s role in an erroneous, narrow way that directly contradicts past and present practice. We also think that this resolution unduly restricts the membership’s ability to act in the future.

Past presidents of the MLA
Mary Ann Caws
Margaret Ferguson
Roland Greene
Marianne Hirsch
Linda Hutcheon
Sylvia Molloy
Catherine Porter
Mary Louise Pratt
Sidonie Smith
Domna Stanton

#Vote No on Resolution 2017-1/Protect Free Speech.

Sign Petition Against MLA Resolution 2017-1!

#Vote No on Resolution 2017-1/Protect Free Speech

Click this link to VOTE NO on Resolution 2017-1. 

Voting on MLA Resolutions: April 19-June 1

Click this link to sign the petition against MLA Resolution 2017-1.

We, the undersigned, strongly oppose MLA Resolution 2017-1 , which seeks to enshrine within the association a repressive anti-boycott position. Adoption of this resolution will have a chilling effect on free speech, will serve to repress human rights advocacy on behalf of Palestinians, and will result in the resignation of many MLA members.  . . .


 

10 Past Presidents of the MLA Oppose Resolution 2017-1: “Boycotts are protected speech under U.S. freedom of expression laws”

The following statement was posted on April 12, 2017 on the MLA Delegate Assembly Resolution 2017-1 comments site. A similar letter was sent to the Executive Council of the MLA protesting the ill-considered resolution, which seeks to repress the free speech of MLA members who endorse boycotts.

#Vote No on Resolution 2017-1/Protect Free Speech

Click this link to VOTE NO on Resolution 2017-1. 

Voting on MLA Resolutions: April 19-June 1

To Our Fellow MLA Members

From:Mary Ann Caws
Margaret Ferguson
Roland Greene
Marianne Hirsch
Linda Hutcheon
Sylvia Molloy
Catherine Porter
Mary Louise Pratt
Sidonie Smith
Domna Stanton
Past presidents of the MLA

As former presidents of the Association, we wish to comment on Resolution 2017-1. We think that it misrepresents the MLA’s mission, defining the Association’s role in an erroneous, narrow way that directly contradicts past and present practice. We also think that this resolution unduly restricts the membership’s ability to act in the future.

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Lawfare against Academic Boycott and MLA Resolution 2017-1

Setting the Context: The 2017 MLA Delegate Assembly Meeting

At its January 7, 2017 meeting, the MLA Delegate Assembly voted against a resolution (2017-2) to endorse the boycott of Israeli academic institutions and in favor of an anti-boycott resolution (2017-1). The discussion of the two resolutions during the Delegate Assembly meeting was marked by a number of exceptional procedures that worked in favor of the anti-boycott position. But setting aside the procedural issues, the leadership (former MLA President Anthony Appiah and some Executive Council members) made public statements in advance of the vote that aimed at delegitimating the pro-boycott resolution. And on the very day of the vote, as the Delegates prepared to debate the pro-boycott resolution, a member of the MLA Executive Council made a motion to revise the resolution, stating that an endorsement of boycott in no way was binding on the association; the motivation behind this motion was grounded in a concern that the MLA might open itself to a lawsuit should the Delegate Assembly vote in favor of a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions.  The motion to revise the pro-boycott resolution was defeated, but  it raised the threat of the lawsuit, which the Brandeis Center  for Human Rights Under Law had made in a letter to the MLA.

#Vote No on Resolution 2017-1/Protect Free Speech

Voting on MLA Resolutions: April 19-June 1

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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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