The Middle East Studies Association has struggled painfully with its public image because of the passionate political convictions held by many of its members. The organization is now voting on whether to remove the modifier "non-political" from the "Nature and Objectives" section of its bylaws. The unspoken issue, of course, is Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For a significant number of MESA members, it has become an article of faith that Israel is a settler-colonialist state, one that dispossessed an indigenous Arab population to establish a Jewish homeland and that now resists by all means possible any chance for Palestinians to realize their political ambitions.
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