Press Releases | Freedom of Expression

ACTA Cheers the Modern Language Association’s Decisive Vote Opposing BDS

June 15, 2017 by ACTA

WASHINGTON, DC—The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) today offered strong praise for members of the Modern Language Association (MLA), who overwhelmingly voted to refrain from an academic and cultural boycott of Israel. The full membership of the MLA voted to end a long-running campaign to adopt the boycott, instead passing a resolution to refrain from endorsing the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. ACTA President Dr. Michael B. Poliakoff said of the decision:

“The BDS movement represents a threat to intellectual exchange, free expression, and academic freedom at America’s colleges and universities. The vote demonstrates a serious commitment to free inquiry and serves as an example to other disciplinary associations that may be grappling with similar questions. By casting aside boycott in favor of open discourse, the MLA preserves the freedom of all its members, regardless of where they side on questions related to the Middle East. It is heartening to see that scholars of modern literature and language have reaffirmed their commitment to academic freedom and inclusion.”

This decision is in keeping with the recommendations of ACTA’s recently released report, Campus Free Speech, Academic Freedom, and the Problem of the BDS Movement, which studied the negative effects of the BDS movement on academic freedom and free expression and advises university leaders to oppose it.


ACTA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to academic freedom, academic excellence, and accountability in higher education. We receive no government funding and are supported through the generosity of individuals and foundations. For more information, visit, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, and subscribe to our newsletter.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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