The Middle East Studies Association on Wednesday officially passed a resolution endorsing the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement as a means of effectively holding Israel accountable for alleged human rights violations, in what can be described as a watershed moment for the BDS movement.
Over the course of a 50-day vote, 768 of MESA's members voted in favor of the resolution compared to 167 who voted against. MESA's Board of Directors will work in consultation with its Committee on Academic Freedom to enforce it in a manner consistent with MESA's bylaws as well as relevant U.S. federal, state and local laws.
The resolution will not target individual students or scholars, and affords individual MESA members the choice of whether to participate in an academic boycott. It does, however, call for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions for their "complicity in Israel's violations of human rights and international law through their provision of direct assistance to the military and intelligence establishments."
"Our members have cast a clear vote to answer the call for solidarity from Palestinian scholars and students experiencing violations of their right to education and other human rights," said MESA President Eve Troutt Powell. "MESA's Board will work to honor the will of its members and ensure that the call for an academic boycott is upheld without undermining our commitment to the free exchange of ideas and scholarship."