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.
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