Jerusalem — Members of the Modern Language Association failed to pass a resolution critical of Israel for denying academics entry to the West Bank.
At least 10 percent of the full MLA membership of 23,900 was required to vote in the six-week-long voting cycle that ended June 1 for ratification of the resolution in order to make it official.
There were 1,560 votes in favor of ratification of the resolution and 1,063 votes against ratification, meaning that the vote fell short of ratification by 830 votes, the MLA announced on Wednesday.
The full membership was voting on a resolution passed in January by the MLA’s delegate assembly. The 60-53 vote approved a measure calling on the U.S. State Department to “contest Israel’s denials of entry to the West Bank by U. S. academics who have been invited to teach, confer, or do research at Palestinian universities.”
Discussion of the election on the resolution was fraught with anti-Israel slurs.
The Israel Action Network applauded the MLA’s membership for refusing to ratify the resolution, which the organization called “baseless and discriminatory.” Geri Palast, managing director of the Israel Action Network, praised “the academic community for coming together to uphold principles of academic freedom and fairness, and for setting the record straight on this complex issue. Israel does not violate academic freedom, but rather, implements reasonable security measures expected of any country.”
“Reason and truth have triumphed over the hatred and hypocrisy at the core of the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement against Israel,” said American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris in a statement. “The MLA’s repudiation of the BDS effort is yet another failure of those who have maliciously tried to use the American campus to delegitimize the State of Israel.”
In December, the membership of the American Studies Association endorsed its national council’s call for a boycott of Israeli universities. Two-thirds of the 1,252 members who voted approved the boycott. At the time of the vote, there were 3,853 eligible voters, meaning a third of the membership participated.