Members of the Middle East Studies Association voted last week to advance a resolution supporting the academic boycott of Israeli institutions to the full membership for a vote in early 2022, the association announced.
A number of American academic organizations in the humanities and social science fields have considered boycott resolutions in the past decade, with mixed results. Supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement say they are responding to the infringements by the Israeli government on the academic freedom of Palestinians, while opponents generally oppose singling out Israel for boycotts or object to academic boycotts more generally on academic freedom grounds.
“Since Palestinian civil society first called on the international community to engage in boycotts, divestment, and sanctions in order to pressure Israel to end its military occupation and other rights violations, our members have been engaged in thoughtful discussions about what it means to participate in academic boycotts, and other ways of showing solidarity with fellow scholars whose lives and livelihoods are under attack,” MESA president Dina Rizk Khoury said in a statement. “Today’s vote clears a path for our full membership to collectively determine how we can do our part to support the academic freedom and education rights of Palestinian scholars and students, not to mention Israeli scholars facing attacks from their own government for criticizing its policies.”