Modern Language Association Bans Pro-Israel Views


The self-proclaimed defenders of academic freedom who want to violate academic freedom in the name of academic freedom seem reluctant to allow other points of view to be heard.

Especially when those views don’t endorse censoring those they disagree with.

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.

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.

It simplifies things when you can skip past the debate stage straight to the “How do we attack Israel?” stage. It’s not a debate. It’s a conversation where everyone agrees.

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.

So this is a roundtable by people who support boycotting Israel to discuss their support for boycotting Israel. And it will represent all points of view as long as they involve boycotting Israel.

This is what the anti-Israel idea of academic freedom looks like.

What does the Israeli idea of academic freedom look like? I’ll just give you the first sentence in Omar’s Wikipedia bio.

Omar Barghouti is a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) who is currently studying for a masters degree in philosophy at Tel Aviv University, Israel.

Omar, the main figure in the call for an academic boycott of Israel, is not actually academically boycotting Israel. Not unless you can study in Israel while boycotting it.

Maybe he can discuss that while appearing at the MLA’s roundtable on boycotting Israel.

  • Veracious_one

    “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.
    because peace is Un-Islamic…

  • Habbgun

    Shouldn’t someone be able to boycott courses outside of their established major? Doesn’t the fact there is something offensive about pro-monopoly, tie-ins and a crony government loan system creating a reactionary government-academic alliance justify such a protest? I’m sure it would be heartfelt.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Not to mention the status of adjuncts

  • guest

    I remember the English prof in college said the MLA was very important in setting standards for the English Language. They were it.

    “The Modern Language Association promotes quality reading, writing, … academic writing easier to understand nationwide, this organization recommends a standard format for documenting sources. MLA format also does the important work of … Training for English Teachers”


    At the time this was taken as gospel. There was no problem. Now I see the MLA fiddles with English standards such as the use of commas (I read about 10 years how the MLA changed decades old standards on comma usage. I can’t find the story, but I remember it.) like generals fidget with uniforms for no good reason other than to justify their position. Seriously, when generals fiddle with the orientation of rank insignia on collars twice in 6 months, you have to wonder about their competence.

    These people cannot set good standards for English and they involve themselves in politics. In college i saw these people as authorities. it was a given. Now i see them for the venal people they are.

    • George Clark

      When I was in grad school (English Major) all the talk from anyone was about “Are you going to MLA this year,” meaning the convention. It was all about making connections, had nothing to do with literature, really. They would put out a list of roundtables with topics, and you’d write a paper that could be shoehorned into that discussion, and if you were lucky, you’d read and maybe get a job lined up after you had graduated. “MLA” used to be a sort of cryptic citation code, but good lord now most word processing programs will do it automatically for you now. Even freshmen comp students can handle it.

    • mahood

      Your usage isn’t good enough (“like generals fidget”) to entitle you to complain.

  • WillielomanIII

    Funny thing…Fox News almost never covers the Jew haters all over…I wonder why that is??


      From what I’ve seen on Fox, you are wrong.

  • Omar

    Why doesn’t the MLA protest the Chinese Communist occupation of Tibet and the ongoing cultural and ethnic genocide of the Tibetan people? Tibet, unlike so-called “Palestine” (which was a “nation” created by the Soviet Union through the KGB and Soviet allies like Nasser’s Egypt in order to discredit Israel’s right to exist), was a sovereign country with its own language, its own culture, its own religion, and most importantly, its own ethnicity. Unlike the so-called “Palestinians”, Tibetans do not engage in terrorism. Why doesn’t the MLA protest against the genocide against black African Christians in Sudan at the hands of the racist, sexist, Islamist apartheid regime in that country? The MLA doesn’t condemn either regime for their respective atrocities because the MLA, like many of the so-called “scholarly” organizations in this country, has been taken over by the radical left and their Islamist allies. This just shows how much power the radical left and radical Islam have in academia.

  • johannesarcher

    “The discussion—to feature supporters but no opponents of the Boycott” sounds like leftie tolerance.
    “And it will represent all points of view as long as they involve boycotting Israel.” All points ???
    “It simplifies things when you can skip past the debate stage straight to the “How do we attack Israel?” stage.”-FP. Ah, that makes it easy, wrong, but easy.

  • Rita

    Why does Israel tolerate nasty poisonous intellectual and ethical dwarves like Omar-allahuakbar-lets-rape-and-kill-little-Jewish-children-Barghouti in their midst? Sometimes I think Israel has a death wish. Such tolerance is deadly, and will not get any brownie points.

  • anna

    Yeah. I can’t imagine being in academia now.
    I don’t regret leaving academia (and the country I lived in and the continent) behind.
    I can’t imagine having a life of a prostitute.

  • mahood

    This is moronic. There are something like 700 panels at the MLA Convention. It’s as though you were to condemn Israel because some Israelis were pro-boycott.