Language association rejects resolution endorsing academic boycott of Israel


(JTA) — The Delegate Assembly of the Modern Language Association voted down a resolution endorsing an academic boycott of Israel.

The resolution was rejected Saturday by a vote of 113-79 at the MLA’s annual convention in Philadelphia.

Following the vote, convention delegates approved a proposal that calls for the rejection of all academic boycotts, including of Israel, by a vote of 101-93.

The text of the anti-boycott resolution said that endorsing the boycott of Israeli academic institutions “contradicts the MLA’s purpose to promote teaching and research on language and literature” and could “curtail debates with representatives of Israeli universities … thereby blocking possible dialogue and general scholarly exchange.”

The anti-boycott resolution will go to the MLA executive council for review before it moves to the full MLA membership for a vote.

MLA, one of the largest and most prominent language associations in the United States, has about 24,000 members.

The delegate assembly also voted 83-78 to indefinitely postpone consideration of a resolution that condemns attacks on academic freedom in Palestinian universities by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

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