Middle East Studies Association Moves Toward Endorsing BDS Academic Boycott Against Israel

Here we go again. Anti-Israel Propagandists with Ph.D’s once again are hijacking an academic organization as part of their war to destroy Israel.

The only major U.S. academic group to endorse the Boycott, Divestments, and Sanctions (BDS) boycott so far is the American Studies Association in December 2013. Legal Insurrection led the way in mounting a reaction to that endorsement, leading to over 250 university presidents condemning the vote. ASA became, in the words of the NY Times, a pariah.

While ASA has not reversed course, the widespread backlash led to BDS defeats at other major academic groups, including the American Historical Association (2020 – for the 4th time), American Anthropological Association (2016), and Modern Language Association (2017). At MLA the backlash was so strong, the group passed an anti-BDS Resolution several months later.

In each of these efforts, there were years of planning to corrupt the academic mission of the organization, with activists methodically taking over committees and executive boards, and getting supporters to join as members so they can vote. They then manipulate and control the timing the resolution is introduced at a business meeting, and pack the meeting with their supporters.

That is what just happened at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA). MESA is the largest and most influential US Middle Eastern Studies group. It has nearly 2,700 individual members and 54 institutional members, including major public universities, such as Florida State University and the University of Arkansas. MESA has dozens of Partner organizations, including the Association for Israel Studies. The virulently anti-Israel “Human Rights Watch” is one of MESA’s Academic Freedom Partners, which is not surprising considering how openly biased HRW is against Israel.

On December 2, 2021, the business meeting at the annual meeting passed a resolution endorsing the BDS boycott against Israel. The resolution now goes to a full membership vote in mid-to-late January 2022. Given how radicalized and politicized MESA has become, there is a very good chance at passage. This is not just an Israeli fight, because if MESA embraces BDS, it will directly affect U.S. campuses, institutions, and students.

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