Academic Engagement Network congratulates MLA rejection of BDS

'This is a telling victory in the struggle against the BDS movement and its efforts to politicize academic associations.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

BDS graffiti sign
BDS graffiti sign
Photo: Miriam Alster / Flash 90

The Academic Engagement Network (AEN), an organization of American college and university faculty opposing the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, while standing for academic freedom and freedom of expression and specifically supporting "robust conversation about Israel on campuses," has sent a letter to its members on the MLA rejection of BDS.

On Thursday, the prestigious 25,000 member Modern Language Association (MLA) whose stylesheet has been the basic tool for university student writing for decades, voted by an over 2:1 ratio to reject BDS. MLA is a leading advocate for the study and teaching of languages and literatures and also serves as a clearinghouse for professional resources for teachers and scholars.

The following is the letter received by AEN members:

Dear Members,

Yesterday, members of the Modern Language Association (MLA) voted 1,954 to 885 to “refrain from endorsing the boycott” of Israeli academic institutions.

The language of the resolution reads: "Whereas endorsing the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel contradicts the MLA’s purpose to promote teaching and research on language and literature; Whereas the boycott’s prohibition of the evaluation of work of individual Israeli scholars conflicts with Resolution 2002-1, which condemns boycotts against scholars; and Whereas endorsing the boycott could curtail debates with representatives of Israeli universities, such as faculty members, department chairs, and deans, thereby blocking possible dialogue and general scholarly exchange; Be it resolved that the MLA refrains from endorsing the boycott."

AEN would like to recognize and applaud the work of AEN members, SPME members and others in MLA Members for Scholars Rights who have helped lead the way in making the MLA infertile ground for resolutions about academically boycotting Israel. This is a telling victory in the struggle against the BDS movement and its efforts to politicize academic associations.

In that vein, members expressed the hope that the MLA's agenda would cease to be hijacked by BDS supporters, allowing the organization to work for the issues that really affect US students, such as student debt and the decreasing number of humanities departments.