(JNS.org) At the Modern Language Association (MLA) convention in Chicago on Saturday, Jan. 11, the MLA delegate committee passed Resolution 2014-1, which condemned Israel for alleged denials of entry for U.S. academics into the West Bank, in a 60-53 vote. Seventy-five percent of MLA convention delegates were needed to approve the resolution before it could be debated and voted on, but only 41 percent approved it. The issue may, however, be referred to the Executive Committee for consideration.
Resolution 2014-1 originally condemned Israel for “arbitrary denials of entry to Gaza and the West Bank by U.S. academics who have been invited to teach, confer, or do research at Palestinian universities.” But the words “Gaza” and “arbitrary” were removed prior to voting.
“Knowing that MLA members do not support their agenda of demonizing Israel and undermining a two-state solution to the conflict, this narrow resolution was watered down to focus solely on Israel’s alleged ‘arbitrary’ denials of entry to U.S. academics to the West Bank. These allegations were refuted in a document provided to the Delegate Assembly by the MLA Members for Scholars’ Rights,” said Israel Action Network (IAN) Managing Director Geri Palast in a statement.
The resolution now moves to the MLA Executive Committee for a vote. If passed there, it will go to a vote among MLA members.
“There is no understanding or explanation for Israel’s defense, and opponents of the Resolution are given only one minute to unwind a tangled web of misinformation, unsubstantiated anecdotes which are presented with no context,” Peggy Shapiro, Chicago community coordinator for the pro-Israel education group StandWithUs and a member of the MLA, told the delegates at the voting session.