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Program Archive
Viewing convention Program information from 2014

Session Details

48. Academic Boycotts: A Conversation about Israel and Palestine

Monday, 9 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Sheraton IV–V, Sheraton Chicago

A special session

Presiding: Samer M. Ali, Univ. of Texas, Austin

Speakers: Omar Barghouti, Independent Scholar; Barbara Jane Harlow, Univ. of Texas, Austin; David C. Lloyd, Univ. of California, Riverside; Richard M. Ohmann, Wesleyan Univ.

Responding: Samer M. Ali

Session Description:

This roundtable addresses the political movement Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel, seen by its defenders as a viable means to end the Palestinian occupation. Many academics face questions about how to respond to this boycott or how to evaluate academic boycotts more generally. This roundtable is intended to promote discussion of strategy, ethics, and academic work in larger world contexts through the lens of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


  • The Profession – General

Author Comment
Subject: Isael-Palestine
The New York Times yesterday, Dec. 17, reported that the MLA "will debate a resolution calling for the State Department to criticize Israel for barring American professors from going to Gaza and the West Bank when invited by Palestinian universities." This seems preposterous. I would like to know the source of this information about Israel. Even as a practical matter, I do not understand how the Isaeli government could enforce such as Israeli initiative if indeed it actually was initiated.

Please reply.
Subject: Governance
Since your question is about a resolution to be discussed at the Delegate Assembly meeting, I forwarded it to our governance coordinator, who will be in touch.

Rosemary G. Feal
Executive Director
Subject: governance
Please report the answer to the query about the source of the so-called rule in a public way. It is indeed a preposterous idea, and it must be confirmed as real before any discussion can take place.
Subject: Governance
The text of the resolution that the Delegate Assembly will consider and supporting materials provided by the proposers of record can be found at
Subject: academic boycott Israel Palestine
This session is an embarassment to the MLA and a stain on its reputation. It had nothing do with a real conversation or true debate on the entire issue of academic boycotts.It was unbalanced, and the proposal never should have gotten through the program committee.
We have enough problems in presenting the values of the humanities and literary study to the public, to our colleagues and the students. The negative Press the MLA received all over the world for this session was injurious to our profession, but alas, deserved.