USABI congratulates The Modern Language Association (MLA) on its step forward in supporting Palestinian rights. The MLA, North America”s largest association of humanities scholars, just announced results of a resolution calling on the US Department of State to contest Israel”s denials of entry to the Palestinian West Bank to US academics who have been invited to conduct research, teach, or do consultation work at Palestinian universities.
Those who voted overwhelmingly supported the resolution: 1,560 of the 2,623 votes cast were in favor of Resolution 2014-1. Because a recent MLA constitutional amendment requires that any resolution be endorsed by no less than 10 percent of the Association”s members (approximately 2,500 for this year) the resolution did not pass. Nonetheless, this marks a truly significant victory, not least because of the efforts to defeat the resolution by organizations like Stand With Us and the ad-hoc lobby group MLA Members for Scholars” Rights, which launched a membership-wide campaign against the resolution.
Not only the outcome of this vote, but also the significant number of Palestinian scholars that the MLA will host at next year”s conference, suggests that the tide in North America continues to turn against Israel”s denial of human rights to Palestinians.