B’nai B’rith International commends the Modern Language Association (MLA) for rejecting a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) initiative that would have targeted Israel for discrimination. The MLA, founded in 1883, promotes the teaching and study of language and literature. At the organization’s annual conference in Philadelphia on Saturday, the MLA’s delegate assembly voted 113 to 79 against a resolution that would have endorsed a boycott against Israel.
On the same day, the delegate assembly passed a separate resolution advocating that the organization “refrain from endorsing the boycott.” The anti-boycott measure passed 101 to 93 and will now be referred to the MLA executive council. In 2014, the MLA failed to pass a BDS academic boycott measure because less than 10 percent of its members voted.
The BDS movement seeks to destabilize Israel’s economy and isolate the Jewish state to the point of dissolution. B’nai B’rith applauds MLA delegates who voted to oppose Israel boycotts for recognizing that American and Israeli scholars have much to learn from one another. We urge all academic associations to denounce the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic BDS movement.