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January 12, 2014 4:38 pm

MLA Moderator Supported Academic Boycott of Israel

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JNS.orgUniversity of California, Davis professor Margaret Ferguson, a moderator of the delegate assembly at the Modern Language Association (MLA) convention in Chicago, has endorsed the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel.

Peggy Ferguson, Chicago community coordinator for the pro-Israel education group StandWithUs and a member of the MLA, said Ferguson “kept changing the MLA rules to suit her agenda” at the convention.

MLA’s delegate committee on Saturday 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. The delegate assembly declined to consider an “Emergency Resolution in Support of the American Studies Association,” proposed by an MLA caucus on Friday. The American Studies Association recently endorsed an academic boycott of Israel.

Seventy-five percent of MLA convention delegates needed to approve the resolution on the American Studies Association before it could be debated and voted on, but only 41 percent actually did. But the issue may 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.

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