Academic Boycott Loses Round in MLA Vote

YERUSHALAYIM -

The academic boycott against Israel failed to enlist a major ally, as the Modern Language Association voted to reject it on grounds of academic freedom, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.

Delegates to the annual MLA convention in Chicago voted down, by 59-41, a resolution taking the side of the American Studies Association. The resolution would have “condemn[ed] the attacks on the ASA and supports the right of academic organizations and individuals, free from intimidation, to take positions in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against racism.”

It did not specify what intimidation the ASA had suffered as a result of its vote. However, ASA has found itself outcast from the mainstream, as more than 180 American universities have rejected the boycott.

The MLA did, however, pass a resolution calling on the State Department to “contest Israel’s denials of entry to [Yehudah and Shomron] by U.S. academics who have been invited to teach, confer, or do research at Palestinian universities.”

The vote was 60-53, which sends the resolution to the MLA’s executive committee for review next month. If approved there, the full membership votes on it.