Statement on MLA Rejection of Boycott Resolution and Legal Threat

Palestine Legal staff attorney Radhika Sainath made the following statement in response to the Modern Language Association (MLA) Delegate Assembly’s rejection (113-79) of a resolution endorsing the academic boycott of Israel on January 7, 2017.

“It’s concerning that meritless legal threats targeting protected associational speech may have scared scholars from taking a principled stance in support of their colleagues in Palestine. Let’s be clear though: the boycott resolution fell squarely within the educational purposes for which the MLA was established. The MLA was well within its rights and powers to issue this resolution.

Not one lawsuit or civil rights complaint targeting advocates for BDS has succeeded in this country. Still, the specter of protracted legal battles – even where meritless – have driven some to refrain from openly supporting Palestinian rights. At a time when we should be encouraging people to seek new paths to peace and justice -- especially in light of the incoming Trump administration’s comments against the establishment of a Palestinian state – Israel advocacy groups are resorting to legal bullying to deter people from challenging the status quo .”