Sign Petition Against MLA Resolution 2017-1!

Voting on MLA Resolution 2017-1 is from April 19 to June 1.

Only current MLA members can vote on the resolution.

Voting will be online via the MLA website.

Vote No on Resolution 2017-1!

Petition

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.

MLA Resolution 2017-1

  • affirms Israeli exceptionalism by prohibiting boycotts related to Israel while inconsistently allowing boycotts of other countries or even U.S. states, like North Carolina.
  • takes a position specifically against human rights advocacy in support of Palestinians, essentially denying equal treatment based on nationality.
  • blocks pre-emptively international solidarity with Palestinians by vilifying the academic boycott movement.
  • aligns the MLA with a legal trend in the U.S. to penalize the advocacy of Palestinian human rights.
  • creates a hostile environment for many MLA members, limiting free speech of those belonging to historically underrepresented groups in the academy.

In the current U.S. climate of increasing Islamophobia, growing threats to the safety of people of color, governmental hostility toward immigrants and refugees from Arab countries, intensified militarization of the borders, and limits on free speech on college campuses, the MLA will become the only U.S. academic association to align itself with these trends by curtailing the political rights of its members and adopting a resolution that explicitly endorses Israeli exceptionalism in matters of free speech. We call on MLA members to affirm their right to speak out and to organize collectively against all forms of injustice both domestically and internationally.

(See below for more information on the major arguments against Resolution 2017-1.)

Support free speech and human rights advocacy in the MLA!

The published list of signatures will be updated regularly. Adding signatures takes time because names and affiliations are verified. It could take up to 48 hours to add your signature. If you have questions, please send emails to: mlaboycott2017@gmail.com

Signed by (Affiliation indicated for identification purposes only) 


Robert Warrior, U of Kansas
Alex Lubin, U of New Mexico
Cynthia Franklin, U of Hawaii
Timothy J. Reiss, NYU
Fred Moten, UC Riverside
Ania Loomba, U Penn
Ebony Coletu, Pennsylvania State U
Cynthia Wu, SUNY at Buffalo
Christopher Breu, Illinois State
Valerie Forman, NYU
Colin Dayan, Vanderbilt
Lisa Duggan, NYU
Darwin Tsen, Pennsylvania State U
Pranav Jani, The Ohio State U
Bruce Robbins, Columbia
Lenora Hanson, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ian Balfour, York University
Salah D Hassan, Michigan State U
Kamran Rastegar, Tufts University
Matt Hooley, Clemson University
Paul Lyons, U of Hawaii
John Rieder, U of Hawaii
S. Shankar, U of Hawaii
Laura Lyons, U of Hawaii
Jesse Knutson, U of Hawaii
Valerie Wayne, U of Hawaii
Candace Fujikane, U of Hawaii
Rebecca Comay, U of Toronto
Lisa Lowe, Tufts University
Rob Nixon, Princeton
Christina Sharpe, Tufts University
Sean Teuton, University of Arkansas
Mishuana Goeman, UCLA
Julie Rak, U of Alberta
Amanda Armstrong, U of Michigan
Purnima Bose, Indiana U
Robyn Wiegman, Duke U
Eva Cherniavsky, U. of Washington
Janice Williamson, U of Alberta
Sheila Contreras, Michigan State U
Amritjit Singh, Ohio U
Stathis Gourgouris, Columbia U
Adam Miyashiro, Stockton U
Kimberly Drake, Scripps College
Satya Mohanty, Cornell
Sandra Soto, U of Arizona
David Lloyd, UC Riverside
Monique Allewaert, UW-Madison
Lara Cohen, Swarthmore College
Suvir Kaul, U Penn
Kenneth Seigneurie, Simon Fraser University
Sianne Ngai, Stanford
Koritha Mitchell, The Ohio State U
David Palumbo-Liu, Stanford
Benjamin Balthaser, Indiana University South Bend
Madeleine Reddon, University of British Columbia
Margaret Hanzimanolis, De Anza College
Derek Attridge, York University
Christopher Taylor, University of Chicago
Bill Mullen, Purdue University
Roderick Ferguson, University of Illinois-Chicago
Christina Malcolmson, Bates College
Sarah Schulman, City University of New York, College of Staten Island
David Downing, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Margaret Ferguson, University of California-Davis
Timothy Brennan, University of Minnesota
Bret Benjamin, University at Albany, SUNY
Mrinalini Chakravorty, University of Virginia
Michael Cucher, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Río Piedras
Bishnupriya Ghosh, UC Santa Barbara
Junyoung Verónica Kim, University of Pittsburgh
Barry Fruchter
Ziad Elmarsafy, King’s College London
WJT Mitchell, U of Chicago
David Simpson, UC Davis
Jordy Rosenberg, U Mass
Snehal Shingavi, U Texas-Austin
Richard Burt, U of Florida
Peter Fitting, U Toronto
Andrew Rubin, Independent Scholar
Brian Lennon, Penn State
Juliana Spahr, Mills
Aneil Rallin, Soka University
Yannik Thiem, Villanova
Isabelle Hesse, U of Sidney
Michelle Hartman, McGill
Sophia McClennen, Penn State
Thomas Davis, The Ohio State U
Robin Sowards, Chatham U
Vanessa Vaile, Unaffiliated
Stephen Sheehi, William and Mary
Anthony Alessandrini, Kingsborough Community College & CUNY Graduate Center
Yogita Goyal, UCLA
Moustafa Bayoumi, CUNY
Hai Mehreen, Smith
Jenny Sharpe, UCLA
Greta LaFleur, Yale University
Amit Baishya, University of Oklahoma
John Maerhofer, CUNY
Neepa Majumdar, University of Pittsburgh
Nancy Welch, U of Vermont
Rajini Srikanth, U Mass
Samer Ali, U Michigan
Mary Ann Cain, Indiana U Purdue U
Robert Lewis, IPFW
Ira Dworkin, Texas A&M University
Ian Barnard, Chapman U
Sangeeta Ray, U Maryland
Madhurima Chakraborty, Columbia College Chicago
Tahia Abdel Nasser, American University in Cairo
Yomaira Figueroa, Michigan State U
Susan Harris , University of Notre Dame
Sharon Luk, University of Oregon
Simon During, University of Queensland
Rima Kapitan, Kapitan Law Office
Eric Lott, CUNY Graduate Center
Milica Stojanovic, Artist
Claire Chambers, University of York
Christine Barr, Lone Star College
Lauren Goodlad, UIUC
Sarah Kastner, Queen’s University
Elizabeth Goetz, CUNY Graduate Center
Gayatri Spivak, Columbia University
Eric Cheyfitz, Cornell
Beth Sutton-Ramspeck, The Ohio State U
Timothy King
John Zukcosky, U of Toronto
Daniel Boyarin, UC Berkeley
Jooneed Jeeroburkhan, Kabir Cultural Centre, Montreal
Christopher Winks, Queens College/CUNY
Jacques Lezra, UC Riverside
Mark Rifkin, U of North Carolina at Greensboro
Dorothy Wang, Williams
Sean Kennedy, CUNY Grad Center
James Livingston, Rutgers
Duncan Faherty, Queens College
Kirk Cheyfitz
Cheryl Naruse, U of Dayton
Tanya Agathocleous, Hunter College, CUNY
Daniel Hengel, CUNY Graduate Center
Michael Rothberg, UCLA
Yu-Fang Cho, Miami University
Ramy Abdeljabbar
Satya Mohanty, Cornell
Shawna Ryan, UH Manoa
Eng-Beng Lim, Dartmouth
Lauren Muller, City College of San Francisco
Tracy Riley, New Jersey City University
Martin Ponce, The Ohio State University
Wail Hassan, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Khayyam Qidwai, Central New Mexico Community College
Daniel Peterman, Central New Mexico Community College
Paula Moya, Stanford U
Danielle Seid, U of Oregon
Caitlin Scholl, UC Berkeley
Christopher Nealon, Johns Hopkins U
Christopher Foster, Jackson State U
Maye Dadland, CUNY Grad Center
Richard Ohmann, Wesleyan (retired)
Zahid Chaudhary, Princeton University
Jonathan Haynes, LIU Brooklyn
Britt Rusert, UMass Amherst
Rosaura Sanchez, University of California, San Diego
Kevin Modestino, Howard University
Kyla Schuller, Rutgers
Anna-Claire Simpson, UMass Amherst
Abraham Geil, University of Amsterdam
Christopher Micklethwait, St. Edward’s University
Arman Azimi, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Hassan Melehy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Jean O’Brien, University of Minnesota
Rachel Jennings, San Antonio College
Kelly Stuart, Columbia University
Leila Ben-Nasr, Ohio State University
Baran Germen, University of Oregon
Zachary Hicks, University of Oregon
David Kazanjian, University of Pennsylvania/Institute for Advanced Study
Sarah Brophy, McMaster University
Annette D’Armata, University of St. Thomas
Glenn Hendler, Fordham University
Sara Meza Romero
Cóilín Parsons, Georgetown University
Gianna Mosser, Northwestern University Press
Andrea Lawlor, Mt. Holyoke
George Levine, Rutgers
Kelly Mcdonough, U Texas-Austin
Bruce Levine, U of Illinois
Peter Logan, Temple U
Shelley Streeby, UC San Diego
Adalaine Holton, Stockton U
Nancy Bentley, U Penn
Ghada Mourad, UC Irvine
Donna Lazarus
Helen Deutsch, UCLA
Vernadette Gonzalez, U of Hawaii
Ivonne Del Valle, UC Berkeley
Lauren Berlant, U Chicago
Maria Faini, UC Berkeley
Pei Jean Chen, Academia Sinica
Hsuan Hsu, UC Davis
Grace Hong, UCLA
Ayelet Ben-Yishai, U of Haifa
Derrick Higgenbotham, U of Hawaii
Virginia Gilmour
Carl Gelderloos, Binghamton University
Thomas Laughlin, U Toronto
David Eng, U of Penn
Mark Sicoli, U of Virginia
Marcy Dinius, DePaul U
Katherine Sugg, Central Connecticut State U
William Craig Howes, U of Hawaii
Beezer de Martelly, UC Berkeley
Sarah Dowling, U Washington at Bothell
Gretchen Head, Yale-NUS
Neelofer Qadir, U Mass Amherst
Dan Ehrenfeld, U Mass Amherst
Jonathan Jenner
Janet Sorensen, UC Berkeley
Susan Dwyer
Anna Feuerstein, U of Hawaii
Jennifer Rhee, Virginia Commonwealth U
Carlin Mackie
Joseph Slaughter, Columbia University
Jodi Melamed, Marquette U
Katie Kane, U of Montana
Samantha Pinto, Georgetown
Sarah Allen, U of Hawaii
Thomas Foster, U of Washington
Kathryn Shanley, U of Montana
Davd L. Moore, U of Montana
Margaret Henry, Portland State
Jennifer Wenzel Columbia University
Anna Bernard, King’s College London
Nimanthi Rajasingham, Colgate University
Amritjit Singh, Ohio University
Catherine Zimmer, Pace University
Ricardo Bracho, “Third & Fourth World autonomy”
Sadia Abbas, Rutgers University
Trish Salah, Queen’s University
Laura Kipnis, Northwestern University
Louise Penner, U of Mass Boston
Hosam Aboul-Ela, U of Houston
Amy Kaplan, U of Pennsylvania
Barbara Foley, Rutgers University-Newark
Andrew Yale, U of Chicago
Leo Parascondola, William Paterson University
Ed Wiltse, Nazareth College
Susan O’Malley, CUNY
Grover Furr, Montclair State University
Barry Fruchter, Nassau Community College SUNY
Patricia Keeton, Ramapo College of NJ
John Crawford University of New Mexico (retired)
Cory Browning, U of Oregon
Nora Taji, CPFQ
Hani Bawardi, U of Michigan-Dearborn
Christopher Stone, (CUNY) Hunter College
Ferial Ghazoul, American University in Cairo
Mona Baker, University of Manchester, UK
Al Refaat, Islamic University of Gaza
Anna Maria D’Amore, Autonomous University of Zacatecas, Mexico
Dilek Dizdar, Mainz University
Andrew Ross, NYU
Haidar Eid, Al-Aqsa U
Elvira Souto
Ahmed Gamal, University of Dammam
Marcial Gonzalez, UC Berkeley
Irmin Allner, Texas A&M (retired)
Lucie Mercier, CRMEP
Laura Green, Northeastern U
Daniel Whitesell, UCLA
Cristina Bacchilega, U of Hawaii
Malini Schueller, U of Florida
Patricia Brodsky, Emerita, U of Missouri-Kansas City
Giovanna Covi, U of Trento, Italy
Rebecca Gould, U of Bristol
Carl Martin, U of Norwich
Nergis Erturk, Penn State
Mich Nyawalo, Shawnee State U
Betty Rosen, UC Berkeley
Andrew Parker, Rutgers
Adam Toth Penn State
George Potter, Valparaiso U
Terrence Potter, Georgetown
Sarah Kastner, Queen’s U
Monika Mehta, Binghamton University
Najat Rahman, Université de Montréal
Margaret Aziza Pappano, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON
TJ Demos, UC Santa Cruz
Graham MacPhee, West Chester U
Joel Reinstein
Victoria Hesford, SUNY
Sarita See, UC Riverside
Steven Marsh, U of Illinois at Chicago
John Zuern, U of Hawaii
Ghada Mourad, University of California, Irvine
Peter Odell Campbell, University of Pittsburgh
Michael Berube, Penn State


Major Arguments Against Resolution 2017-1

1) The MLA currently does not support an academic boycott of Israel and is not voting on a pro-boycott resolution.

By preemptively foreclosing debate on the right to boycott within the MLA, Resolution 2017-1 goes beyond the status quo in the MLA, which does not endorse the academic boycott of Israel. In ratifying such a resolution, the MLA will be the only academic association to adopt a  resolution in defense of Israeli exceptionalism and will thus delegitimate human rights on support of Palestinians.

2) Resolution 2017-1 asks the MLA membership to align itself with a legal trend in the U.S. to penalize the advocacy of Palestinian human rights.

U.S. Congress is considering passing H.R.1697 – Israel Anti-Boycott Act. Similar controversial laws are being passed by US state legislatures. And in Israel, the Knesset has passed anti-boycott laws (the 2011 Prevention of Damage to the State of Israel through Boycotts bill and a 2017 bill barring entry into Israel of foreigners and Palestinians from the Occupied Territories who support the boycott). These laws restrict political opposition organized by Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians within the Occupied Territories, silence Israeli critics of government policy, and block entry into Israel of pro-boycott visitors.  As with these anti-boycott laws, Resolution 2017-1 protects Israel from criticism and stifles a growing Palestinian human rights advocacy movement grounded in boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).

3) Resolution 2017-1 rests on a specious ultra vires claim that academic boycott “contradicts the MLA’s purpose to promote teaching and research on language and literature.”

On March 31st, 2017, a district court in Washington D.C. rejected similar ultra vires arguments in a lawsuit against the American Studies Association. The court found that the ASA boycott resolution (2013) was “not contrary to the ASA’s express purposes,” stating that the resolution was “reasonably in furtherance of the ASA’s purpose of advancing education and the promotion of the study of American culture through encouraging research, teaching, and strengthening relations among persons and institutions in the United States and abroad.”  Similarly, one of the purposes of the MLA is support for international education, including Palestinian students and scholars whose human rights are systematically violated by Israel. Furthermore, many MLA members already endorse the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The ratification of Resolution 2017-1 will stigmatize the activism of students and scholars who express support for Palestinian rights to education by advocating the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

4) If ratified by the membership, Resolution 2017-1 will position the MLA to the right of the Supreme Court’s position on political boycotts as a protected form of speech, in a way  harmful to the association and discriminatory towards members.

Ratification of Resolution 2017-1 will certainly alienate many members who will leave the organization or call for a boycott of MLA. Should this resolution pass, many scholars and students – particularly those on the job market – would pay dues to an organization that limits their rights to express solidarity with Palestinians and legitimates anti-boycott academic blacklists created by AMCHA Initiative and Canary Mission.