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December 24, 2013 6:37 pm

One-Sided BDS Roundtable Scheduled for Modern Language Association Confab

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A BDS Israel protest in London. Photo: wiki commons. As part of its 129th annual convention from Jan. 9-12 in Chicago, the Modern Language Association (MLA) is holding a roundtable discussion titled “Academic Boycotts: A Conversation about Israel and Palestine.” The discussion—to feature supporters but no opponents of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement—is a possible precursor to an MLA academic boycott of Israel that would mirror recent boycotts by the American Studies Association (ASA) and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association.

The MLA session’s speakers will include BDS movement co-founder Omar Barghouti; University of Texas professor Barbara Jane Harlow, who has stated her support for the ASA boycott of Israel, University of Southern California professor of English David Lloyd , a well-known BDS activist; and Wesleyan University professor Richard Ohmann, who signed a 2009 letter that described Israeli treatment of Palestinians as “one of the most massive, ethnocidal atrocities of modern times.” University of Texas professor Samer M. Ali, who publicly defended the ASA boycott, organized the roundtable.

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“Once the roundtable, whose audience will no doubt be packed with boycott supporters, has come off, a boycott resolution will be proposed [by the MLA] for next year, justified in part by the strength of support evident at the roundtable. Many members will be caught by surprise, just as members of the ASA were, because few academics pay attention to what their professional associations are doing,” Jonathan Marks wrote for Commentary magazine.

Ali told The Chronicle of Higher Education that the roundtable assumes that Israel violates the rights of Palestinians, and that the debate will center on what to do about it.

“If people want to come and debate occupation, I think it will be a waste of their time, because that’s not what the roundtable is about,” Ali said.

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  • ilan

    the thing is the boycot Israel for occupying the Land of so called Palestinians but the association for native studies from whom the so called Americans took the land? did it came from space? no U.S.A was build on Indian land and the genocide have dune to the Indian tribes. so would you return the indian land back to the Indians?

  • Kris Kristian

    Richaard Ohmann.
    You write such rubbish
    where did you get you education?
    From the Palestinians?
    How dare you accvuse Israel of “one of the most massive
    ethnocidal atrocities odf modern times.

    Could you please elaborate on the statement?
    You made the most disgusting statement without foundation, except the lies which you, in your stupid little brain (if you have a brain) invented
    Do you really believe anything Omar Barguti says?
    His cousin is in an Israeli jail with 5 life sentences for the murder of Israelis.
    I hope he rots and dies in jail. He and all the Palestinian terrorists hould have been executed, as would have happened in USA and any Muslim countyry.

  • R

    Let them talk. Talk is cheap. They all start with the same phrase-“well,I-i-i think. “Besides…WHO CARES WHAT THEY THINK??? Nobody gives a damn what these people think. Israel will do whatever the hell they have to do to protect themselves.

    WHY DONT’CHA ASK WHAT THE AYRABS THINK??? Mebbe it’ becuz Ayrabs don’t think: they jus’ shoot,


  • Steve Marks

    Complete rubbish

  • Jay

    The forgot to invite Julius Streicher.

    • Fritz Kohlhaas

      BDS would invite Streicher but he was hanged as war criminal.