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The Modern Language Association is the latest academic group attempting to pass a resolution condemning Israel for things that it doesn’t like. This is being done because the organization has an interest in pretending that it is good, righteous, and filled with God’s noblest creatures, and it feels that the best way to pursue this particular interest is to take a publicly anti-Zionist stance. Readers will, of course, wonder why the MLA doesn’t try to demonstrate its uprightness by adopting resolutions condemning the actions of the governments of China, Russia, Iran, and various other nation-states where repression and inhumanity are woven into the fabric of public policy. Don’t hold your breath.
The Modern Language Association has utterly bizarre voting rules that allow for the adoption of resolutions with the approval of a mere 10 percent of the association’s active population. When the resolution was put to a vote, however, it only garnered 6.5 percent approval, with 4.4 percent voting against it. As anti-Zionist showings go, this one is rather pathetic. You would think that it would be easy to find enough people within academia to speak out against Israeli policies with a vehemence not found in the condemnations of any other country (assuming that an effort is even made to condemn anyone else. But the MLA couldn’t even find 10 percent. Wow.
So, this was a pretty cataclysmic defeat for supporters of the resolution, right? Well, amazingly enough (or not, given this particular group’s lack of attachment to reality), that’s not how they see it:
“I think it’s a moral victory and maybe a practical one,” said Bruce Robbins, a Columbia literature professor and an author of the resolution. “I think of this as a successful exercise in getting people informed.”
Pyrrhus chuckles. As do the rest of us.