Campaign Highlights: Modern Language Assocation

A video of Israeli academics who opposed the boycott resolution put forth at MLA 2017.

Resolution from the 2002 Delegate Assembly

At its meeting on 29 December 2002, the MLA Delegate Assembly approved a resolution condemning boycotts and blacklists “against scholars or students on the basis of nationality, ethnic origins, and religious background.” This resolution ratified the following year by the MLA membership.

An article from Inside Higher Education detailing the 2007 Convention, the first time Israel was specifically targeted for censure by the association. MLA’s Radical Caucus had put forth several anti-Israel resolutions; however, these would eventually be changed into a resolution that acknowledged tensions that exist on college campuses due to the Middle East but did not single out pro-Israel advocates. The change in language came about due to the points put forth by pro-Israel MLA members, who argued against highlighting one group in particular and the need to respect academic freedom.

Text of MLA Resolution 2014-1

Text of the anti-Israel resolution that failed to pass in 2014.

Oppose “MLA Resolution 2014-1”

The fact sheet put together by MLA Members for Scholars’ Rights (MMSR) in response to the anti-Israel resolution that was to be considered by the MLA membership. This document details the mischaracterizations, lack of compelling evidence, and the discriminatory language that can be found in the 2014 resolution.

About the 2014 MLA Debate

From Cary Nelson’s “Introduction” to The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel, this 5-page document explains the controversies that emerged when anti-Israel sentiment was once again brought up at the MLA 2014 Convention. When MLA Members for Scholars’ Rights (MMSR) members sent a fact sheet refuting points in the anti-Israel resolution to MLA members who had willingly published their addresses, they were accused of using outside funds to create a “shadow listserv.” This document also has the text of the 2014 resolution, which failed to pass, and compares the anti-Israel environment than to what was what more nuanced in 2007.

MLA Members for Scholars’ Rights Message

The message that was sent out to MLA members who listed their email address in the MLA directory leading up to the vote on the anti-Israel resolution.

MLA Boycott Resolution and NGO “Documentation”

A PDF of NGO Monitor’s critique of the 2014 anti-Israel resolution, which pays particular attention to the sources cited in said resolution.

The Boycott Question, 2015

This article, written by Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed, provides an overview of the debate that occurred at the 2015 MLA Convention. That year, MMSR members, as well as their anti-Israel opponents, both proposed a resolution (one being against academic boycotts, the other calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, respectively. With these two resolutions on the table, the MLA leadership convinced the two groups to withdraw their resolutions until 2017. Effectively, a moratorium on the subject of boycotts was established for two years, although anti-Israel activity is expected at the next year’s conference.

Other Press

Scott Jaschik, “Taking Israel to Task.” Inside Higher Ed. | View |

Jennifer Howard, “MLA Delegates Narrowly Approve Controversial Resolution on Israel.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. | View |

MLA Online Discussion of 2014 Anti-Israel Resolution. | View |

David Lloyd, “First Hand Account: BDS Supporters Tenacious but Play Fast and Loose with the Facts.” Modern Language Association. | View |