New York, NY, January 16, 2014
CONTACT: Gideon Aronoff
Ameinu, the largest grassroots progressive Zionist organization in North America, responds with great concern to the January 11 decision of the Delegate Assembly of the Modern Languages Association (MLA) endorsing a resolution condemning Israel for alleged violations of the freedom of movement of American Academics.
“The MLA decision, based on a misrepresentation of the facts on the ground and a politically biased singling out Israel on matters of academic freedom, is but the latest example of a highly disturbing trend to delegitimize and isolate Israel,” declared Kenneth Bob, Ameinu’s president. The MLA vote was taken after a panel discussion that included only supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. “The make-up of the MLA panel is further evidence that the organization was not interested in reaching a decision based on facts and unbiased inquiry, or in fairly defending the core principles of academic freedom,” Bob added.
“Ameinu applauds the MLA scholars who opposed the resolution, which only passed by a vote of 60 to 54, and who defeated an emergency resolution condemning alleged attacks and intimidation against the American Studies Association (ASA) for its December 2013 boycott resolution. The MLA Executive Council and full membership must reject the Delegate Assembly resolution and to heed the call of over 183 institutions of higher learning that have opposed the ASA boycott. This is the way to promote a vision of true academic freedom,” Bob said.
“Our progressive values and commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict leads us to strongly oppose academic boycotts and the actions of the MLA, ADA and other BDS proponents,” stressed Gideon Aronoff, Ameinu’s chief executive officer. “These gestures may make some scholars feel good about themselves, but do nothing to bring peace and justice to Palestine and Israel.”
“The struggle against academic boycotts is a core component of Ameinu’s The Third Narrative initiative (www.thirdnarrative.org) where we are seeking to help progressives fulfill the crucially important goal of criticizing the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and the settlements without contributing to campaigns to delegitimize Israel’s existence. For the sake of the future of both Israel and the Palestinians, and the fundamental values of academic freedom, Ameinu calls on all progressives to redouble their efforts to support the ongoing peace process,” Aronoff said.