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Boycott Calls Against Israel
Push for Israel Boycott at the MLA Convention in Jan 2017 by the "MLA Members for Justice in Palestine"


Editorial Note

The "MLA Members for Justice in Palestine" is a group founded in 2014 that works tirelessly to boycott Israeli universities within the Modern Language Association (MLA). In June 2014 MLA members failed to pass a resolution that condemned Israel, though the preceding debate was strenuous.  Jonathan Marks, a professor of politics at Ursinus College, noted in the Chronicle of Higher Education that, the rhetoric used by sponsors of the MLA vote to boycott Israel was extremely harsh.  For example, Elizabeth Jane Ordonez, professor at the University of Texas and a signatory to the MLA Members for Justice in Palestine petition, actually called opponents "Zionist attack dogs." She wrote: "moves to seek justice and opportunity for Palestinians (or to remove obstacles to achieving those goals) are countered by Zionist attack dogs. When the Zionist lobby railroads its way through Congress, universities, and civil society no request is made for equal time for the other side."  But, the MLA chose not to consider the proposed resolution endorsing the boycott of Israeli universities at their annual conference in January 2015. Instead, the MLA’s delegate assembly organizing committee convinced the sponsors to withdraw the resolution for further discussion until the annual meeting in 2017.

Now the vocal group "MLA Members for Justice in Palestine" has been working hard to assure a boycott vote during the next annual convention on the 5th to 8th of January 2017. To this end they gathered 386 signatures for their petition and embraced a number of authors to showcase Israeli apartheid. For example, they adopted J. M. Coetzee, a famous South African novelist and recipient of the Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society  granted on April 10, 1987 by the late Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek. While Coetzee had used the podium during the ceremony to call on his country to dismantle apartheid and its system of racial segregation, he had no criticism for Israel. In facton another occasion, in 2010, Coetzee found faults with the Palestinians. He wrote, "the leaders whom the Palestinians have produced thus far strike me as midgets. And if by some chance a savior were to emerge, my guess is that he would pretty soon be gunned down."  

Notwithstanding, MLA Members for Justice in Palestine reported that Coetzee, who has participated recently at the Palestine Festival for Literature in Ramallah, compared Israel to apartheid South Africa. He stated that in Jerusalem and the West Bank, "we see a system of enforced segregation based on religion and ethnicity, put in place by an exclusive self-defined group to consolidate a colonial conquest, in particular to maintain and indeed extend its hold on the land and its natural resources. Draw your own conclusions.” 

MLA Members for Justice in Palestine also reported that six of their members have recently visited Palestine's Birzeit University for a discussion on how to succeed in their attempt to boycott Israel in the upcoming annual conference in January 2017. 
There is little doubt that the fight over BDS in the MLA is going to heat up between now and January.   As already noted, MLA, with almost 25,000 members, is a hugely important academic association. The outcome of the BDS would be an important test of the strength of the pro-Palestinian movement in the United States, especially as legislative and legal moves to counter it have been put in place.
IAM would provide further updates on this important issue.


On 18th of June, six-members of the Modern Language Association (MLA) had arrived to Birzeit University. Where a near 3 hours discussion between the MLA members and the Right to Education Campaign was held. The meeting with MLA members (who are also part of MLA for Justice in Palestine) was flourishing, as the R2E volunteers expressed how honorable and happy they were meeting supporters to the Palestinian cause.
During our meeting, the highlight of discussion was about the Israeli Occupation violations towards the Right to Education for Palestinians, including the restrictions of movement opposed by the Occupation(in the West Bank, Gaza strip, and Jerusalem), the arrest of students and academics, the lack of research and materials, the localization of knowledge and the illegal settlements expansion.
The discussion continued to reach the invisible violation that prevent Palestinians to learn or write their own narrative and history. All of that led to what may be possible future option that can be taken to protect the Palestinians basic human rights including the Right to Education, and the perseverance of the Palestinian culture and narrative.
The MLA is a very huge and diverse group, containing over twenty-six thousand members from over one-hundred countries around the world. The members are primarily academic scholars, professors, and graduate students who study or teach language and literature. The Association's goal is to strengthen the study and teaching of language and literature. The six-members visit to Palestine came alongside their attempt to pass the of Academic boycott resolution in their association that will be proposed during next winter.

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 12.07.17 AM

MLA Members for Justice in Palestine

The Modern Language Association and the Movement for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions


    MLA Members for Justice in Palestine is a group within the MLA Commons that was established in 2014 and submitted a Resolution Endorsing the Boycott of Israeli Academic institutions to the Organizing Committee of the Delegate Assembly for consideration at the 2015 Delegate Assembly meeting. The vote on the Resolution was postponed until the 2017 MLA Convention allowing for further debate and discussion of the issue with the aim of educating the membership.
    The organizers and supporters are scholars at all levels within the academy working in a various fields of language and literary studies.
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This resolution appeals to the MLA to honor the Palestinian civil society call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions until Israel respects its obligations towards the Palestinian people under international law and norms of human rights. The resolution is a topic of public debate and discussion at the MLA conferences in 2015 and 2016 and is scheduled for a possible Delegate Assembly vote in 2017.
MLA Resolution to Endorse the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions
Whereas the MLA reaffirmed in 2009 its commitment to academic freedom, stating “When academic freedom is curtailed, higher education is compromised”;
Whereas the US materially supports Israel’s ongoing breaches of international law;
Whereas Israeli universities are complicit in the Occupation and the dispossession of Palestinians;
Be it resolved that the MLA endorses Palestinian civil society’s call for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions;
Be it further resolved that the MLA affirms the right of faculty and students to advocate for this academic boycott, free from retaliation.
(Resolution submitted to the MLA by Rebecca Comay and David Lloyd)

Sign Open Letter

Sign the “Open Letter” calling on the MLA membership to endorse a resolution in support of the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Only the signatures of (former or current) MLA members will be included.
If you support the resolution and are an MLA member who wishes to remain anonymous, leave the name fields blank, but please indicate your university affiliation and include a statement of support in the comment field. Anonymous statements of support will be published along with signatures.
The published list of signatures is updated regularly. Adding signatures takes time because names and affiliations are verified. It could take up to 48 hours to add your signature. If you have questions, please send emails to: mlaboycott2017@gmail.com


Current (2016) and former MLA members who have signed the MLAMJP “Open Letter” calling on the association to pass a resolution endorsing the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Institutional affiliation is indicated for identification purposes only.
  1. Tahia Abdel Nasser
  2. Diya Abdo (Guilford College)
  3. Hosam Aboul-Ela (University of Houston)
  4. Sydney Aboul-Hosn (The Pennsylvania State University)
  5. Abraham Acosta (University of Arizona)
  6. Xhuliana Agolli (CUNY Graduate Center)
  7. Neel Ahuja (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
  8. Anthony Alessandrini (Kingsborough Community College-CUNY)
  9. Lucy Alford (Stanford University)
  10. Ashna Ali (The Graduate Center, CUNY)
  11. Samer Ali (University of Michigan)
  12. Susan Andrade (University of Pittsburgh)
  13. Sze Ang (University of Hong Kong)
  14. Gil Anidjar (Columbia University)
  15. Emily Apter (NYU)
  16. John Archer (NYU)
  17. Aizura Aren (University of Minnesota)
  18. Amanda Armstrong (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
  19. Anjali Arondekar (Univesity of California, Santa Cruz)
  20. Hilarie Ashton (CUNY Grad Center)
  21. Derek Attridge (University of York)
  22. Sophia Azeb (University of Southern California)
  23. Cristina Bacchilega (University of Hawaii-Manoa)
  24. Margot Backus (University of Houston)
  25. Amit R. Baishya (University of Oklahoma)
  26. Houston Baker (Vanderbilt University)
  27. Mona Baker (University of Manchester, UK)
  28. Mani Bakirathi (Swarthmore College)
  29. Ian Balfour (York University)
  30. Brendan Balint (Georgia State University, Perimeter College)
  31. Anustup Basu (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
  32. Moustafa Bayoumi (Brooklyn College, CUNY)
  33. Bret Benjamin (University at Albany, SUNY)
  34. Nancy Bentley (University of Pennsylvania)
  35. Leila Ben-Nasr (Ohio State University)
  36. Lauren Berlant (University of Chicago)
  37. Garry Bertholf (Clemson University)
  38. Carolyn Betensky (University of Rhode Island)
  39. Shringarpure Bhakti
  40. Jody Blanco (University of California, San Diego)
  41. John Blanco (University of California, San Diego)
  42. Benay Blend (retired)
  43. Steven Blevins (University of California, Davis)
  44. Elleke Boehmer (Oxford)
  45. Kenneth Boas (University of Pittsburgh)
  46. Grabir Boobi (Oberlin)
  47. Purnima Bose (Indiana University)
  48. Paul Bové (University of Pittsburgh)
  49. Daniel Boyarin (University of California, Berkeley)
  50. Tim Brennan (University of Minnesota)
  51. Christopher Breu (llinois State University)
  52. S. Pearl Brilmyer (University of Oregon)
  53. Matt Brim (CUNY)
  54. Marie Alohalani Brown (University of Hawaii at Manoa)
  55. Richard Burt (University of Florida)
  56. Jonathan Burton (Whittier College)
  57. Judith Butler (University of California, Berkeley)
  58. Eduardo Cadava (Princeton University)
  59. Alison Case (Williams College)
  60. Juliana Chang (Santa Clara University)
  61. Zahid Chaudhary (Princeton)
  62. Eric Cheyfitz (Cornell University)
  63. Lisa Chow (University of Hawaii at Manoa)
  64. David Clark (McMaster University)
  65. Joshua Clover (University of California, Davis)
  66. Lara Cohen (Swarthmore)
  67. Elliott Cola (Georgetown University)
  68. Andrew Cole (Princeton University)
  69. Nicholas Coles (University of Pittsburgh)
  70. Rebecca Comay (University of Toronto)
  71. Maria Cotera (University of Michigan)
  72. Eric Covey (Miami University)
  73. Stef Craps (Ghent University)
  74. Elyse Crystall (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
  75. Michael Cucher (Colorado College)
  76. Lily Cui
  77. Mini Darshana (University of Southern California)
  78. Thomas S. Davis (The Ohio State University)
  79. Ashley Dawson (CUNY)
  80. Iyko Day (Mount Holyoke College)
  81. Colin Dayan (Vanderbilt University)
  82. Aparajita De (University of the District of Columbia)
  83. Peter de Bolla (Cambridge University)
  84. Mara de Gennaro (New York University)
  85. Ivonne del Valle (UC Berkeley)
  86. Emilio del Valle Escalante (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
  87. Bradley Depew
  88. Jonathan Dettman (The University of Nebraska at Kearney)
  89. Angel Diaz Miranda (Hollins University)
  90. Christopher Douglas (University of Victoria)
  91. Sarah Dowling (University of Washington Bothell)
  92. Emily Drumsta (University of California, Berkeley
  93. Alexander Dunlop (Auburn University, emeritus)
  94. Simon During (University of Queensland)
  95. Erik Dussere (American University)
  96. Ira Dworkin (Texas A&M University)
  97. Colleen Eils (Willamette University)
  98. Nada Elia (Northwest Language Academy)
  99. Hanan Elsayed (Occidental College)
  100. Karen Embry (Portland Community College )
  101. Chris Eng (CUNY)
  102. David Eng (University of Pennsylvania)
  103. Nergis Erturk (Pennsylvania State University)
  104. Deborah Esch (University of Toronto)
  105. Tom Eyers (Duquesne University)
  106. Carol Fadda-Conrey (Syracuse University)
  107. Mary Faraci (Florida Atlantic University)
  108. Marion Fay (Emeritus College of Alameda)
  109. Keith Feldman (UC Berkeley)
  110. Gregory Fenton (McMaster University)
  111. Margaret Ferguson (University of California, Davis)
  112. Roderick Ferguson (University of Illinois, Chicago)
  113. Anna Finn (University of California, Irvine)
  114. Alexa Firat (Temple University)
  115. Peter Fitting (University of Toronto)
  116. Barbara Foley (Rutgers University)
  117. Christopher Foster (James Madison University)
  118. Cynthia Franklin (University of Hawai‘i)
  119. Carla Freccero (University of California, Santa Cruz)
  120. Elaine Freedgood (NYU)
  121. Candace Fujikane (University of Hawai‘i)
  122. Grover Furr (Montclair State University)
  123. Joseba Gabilondo (Michigan State University)
  124. Patrick Gallagher (Kent State University)
  125. Daniela Garofalo (University of Oklahoma)
  126. Carl Gelderloos (Binghamton University)
  127. Denise Gigante (Stanford University)
  128. Bishnupriya Ghosh (University of California, Santa Barbara)
  129. Jane Glaubman (Cornell University)
  130. Christopher GoGwilt (Fordham University)
  131. Tami Gold (Hunter College)
  132. David Theo Goldberg (University of California, Irvine)
  133. Stephanie Gomez Menzies (University of California, San Diego)
  134. Stathis Gourgouris (Columbia University)
  135. Yogita Goyal (UCLA)
  136. Jennifer Greiman (SUNY – Albany)
  137. Richard Grijalva (UC Berk)eley)
  138. Sneja Gunew (University of British Columbia)
  139. Stephen Guy-Bray (University of British Columbia)
  140. Ambreen Hai (Smith College)
  141. Zaki Haidar (Carleton College)
  142. Hala Halim (NYU)
  143. Michael Hames-Garcia (University of Oregon)
  144. Lenora Hanson (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
  145. Margaret Hanzimanolis (City College of San Francisco and De Anza College)
  146. Sayumi Harb (Independent Scholar)
  147. Gillian Harkins (University of Washington)
  148. Barbara Harlow (University of Texas, Austin)
  149. Michelle Hartman (McGill University)
  150. Salah D. Hassan (Michigan State University)
  151. Gretchen Head (Yale-NUS College)
  152. Glenn Hendler (Fordham University)
  153. Marta Hernández Salván (University of California, Riverside)
  154. Neil Hertz (Johns Hopkins University)
  155. Marianne Hirsch (Columbia University)
  156. J Hitchcock (Old Dominion University)
  157. Jennifer Ho (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
  158. Matthew Hooley (Tufts University)
  159. Yu-ting Huang (Amherst College)
  160. Walt Hunter (Clemson University)
  161. Maimuna Islam (The College of Idaho)
  162. Allan Isaac (Rutgers)
  163. Nalini Iyer (Seattle University)
  164. Pranav Jani (Ohio State University)
  165. Amira Jarmakani (Georgia State University)
  166. Katharine Jenckes (University of Michigan)
  167. Manori Neelika Jayawardane (State University of New York, Oswego)
  168. Adriana Johnson (University of California, Irvine)
  169. Walter Johnston (Williams College)
  170. Djelal Kadir (Pennsylvania State University)
  171. Tamara Kamatovic (University of Chicago)
  172. Katie Kane (University of Montana)
  173. Sarah Kastner (Queen’s University)
  174. Suvir Kaul (University of Pennsylvania)
  175. David Kazanjian (University of Pennsylvania)
  176. Sean Kennedy (CUNY)
  177. Shirin Khanmohamadi (San Francisco State University)
  178. Sami Khatib (American University of Beirut)
  179. Yasmine Khayyat (Rutgers University)
  180. Jinah Kim (Cal State Northridge)
  181. Junyoung Verónica Kim (University of Iowa)
  182. Andrew Kincaid (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)
  183. Marcy Knopf-Newman (Independent Scholar, formerly Boise State University)
  184. Wayne Kraft (Eastern Washington University)
  185. Sanjay Krishnan (Boston University)
  186. Kimberly Lau (University of California, Santa Cruz)
  187. Mariam Lam (University of California, Riverside)
  188. Mary Layoun (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
  189. James Lee (University of California, Irvine)
  190. Julia Lee (University of California, Irvine)
  191. Brian Lennon (Pennsylvania State University)
  192. Esther Lezra (University of California, Santa Barbara)
  193. Jacques Lezra (NYU)
  194. Eng-Beng Lim (Dartmouth)
  195. Yi-Chun Tricia Lin (Southern Connecticut State University)
  196. David Lloyd (University of California, Riverside)
  197. Peter Logan (Temple University)
  198. Ania Loomba (University of Pennsylvania)
  199. Alexis Lothian (University of Maryland)
  200. Lisa Lowe (Tufts University)
  201. Wahneema Lubiano (Duke University)
  202. Alex Lubin (University of New Mexico)
  203. Paul Lyons (University of Hawaii)
  204. Shaoling Ma (Yale-NUS College)
  205. Alexander Magearu University of California, Santa Barbara)
  206. Auritro Majumder (University of Houston)
  207. Neepa Majumdar (University of Pittsburgh)
  208. Zakir Majumder (University of California, Merced)
  209. Jap-Nanak Makkar (University of Virginia)
  210. Harriet Malinowitz (Ithaca College)
  211. Cristina Malcolmson (Bates College)
  212. Curtis Marez (University of California, San Diego)
  213. Yolanda Martinez-San Miguel (Rutgers University)
  214. Deepika Marya (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
  215. Ikram Masmoudi (University of Delaware)
  216. Francesca Mastrangelo (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
  217. Karim Mattar (University of Colorado at Boulder)
  218. Anne McClintock (Princeton University)
  219. Kate McCullough (Cornell University)
  220. Meredith McGill (Rutgers)
  221. Sarah McGinley (Wright State University)
  222. Laura McHenry (Carroll College)
  223. Sarah McKibben (University of Notre Dame)
  224. Graham McPhee (West Chester University)
  225. Shon Meckfessel (Highline College)
  226. Monika Mehta (Binghamton University
  227. Jodi Melamed (Marquette University)
  228. Hassan Melehy (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
  229. Louis Mendoza (Arizona State University)
  230. Victor Mendoza (University of Michigan )
  231. Jisha Menon (Stanford University)
  232. Sheela Jane Menon (University of Texas-Austin)
  233. Rima Merriman (Al-Quds University)
  234. Fran Michel (Willamette University)
  235. Calin Mihailescu (University of Western Ontario)
  236. Alyce Miller (Indiana University)
  237. Joseph Miranda
  238. Nicholas Mirzoeff (NYU)
  239. Koritha Mitchell (Ohio State University)
  240. William J. T. Mitchell (University of Chicago)
  241. Adam Miyashiro (Stockton University)
  242. Javier Mocarquer (Providence College)
  243. Liron Mor (University of California, Irvine)
  244. Aamir Mufti (UCLA)
  245. Juan David Muiños García (Universidade Da Coruña)
  246. Bill Mullen (Purdue University)
  247. Stuart J. Murray (Carleton University)
  248. Mara Naaman (Williams College)
  249. Barbara Nagel (Princeton University)
  250. Christopher Nealon (Johns Hopkins University)
  251. Anna Neill (University of Kansas)
  252. Rob Nixon (Princeton University)
  253. Mich Nyawalo ( Shawnee State University)
  254. Kate O’Brien (Le Cordon Bleu College, Seattle)
  255. Hilton Obenzinger (Stanford University)
  256. Marcia Ochoa (UC Santa Cruz)
  257. Laura O’Connor (UC Irvine)
  258. Elizabeth Ordonez (University of Texas)
  259. Yumi Pak (California State University, San Bernardino)
  260. David Palumbo-Liu (Stanford University)
  261. Crystal Parikh (NYU)
  262. Andrew Parker (Rutgers University)
  263. Benjamin Parris (Haverford College)
  264. Binod Paudyal (University of Utah)
  265. Ed Pavlic (University of Georgia)
  266. Anna Louise Penner (University of Massachusetts, Boston)
  267. Sonali Perara (Hunter College, CUNY)
  268. Roy Perez (Willamette University)
  269. Hoang Phan (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
  270. Melissa Phruksachart (CUNY)
  271. Katarzyna Pieprzak (Williams College)
  272. Beatrice Pita (University of California, San Diego)
  273. Alexander Phillips (University of Maryland University College)
  274. Kamala Platt (Meadowlark Center)
  275. Martin Ponce (Ohio State University)
  276. Regan Postma-Montaño (Hope College)
  277. Gautam Premnath (Independent Scholar)
  278. Neelofer Qadir (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
  279. Basem L. Ra’ad (Al-Quds University, Palestine)
  280. R. Radhakrishnan (University of California, Irvine)
  281. Vicente Rafael (University of Washington)
  282. Najat Rahman (Université de Montréal)
  283. Tilottama Rajan (University of Western Ontario)
  284. Nimanthi Rajasingham, Colgate University
  285. Aneil Rallin (Soka University of America)
  286. Kamran Rastegar (Tufts University)
  287. Amit Ray (Rochester Institute of Technology)
  288. Sangeeta Ray (University of Maryland)
  289. Chandan Reddy (University of Washington)
  290. Marc Redfield (Brown University)
  291. Conor Tomás Reed (CUNY)
  292. Josna Rege (Worcester State University)
  293. Timothy J. Reiss (NYU)
  294. Sonnet Retman (University of Washington)
  295. John Rieder (University of Hawai‘i)
  296. Mark Rifkin (University of North Carolina, Greensboro)
  297. Bruce Robbins (Columbia University
  298. Jord/ana Rosenberg (University of Massachusetts)
  299. Marty Roth (Emeritus professor of English, University of Minnesota)
  300. Andrew Rubin (Global Center for Advanced Studies)
  301. Shawna Yang Ryan (University of Hawai‘i, Manoa)
  302. Jeffrey Sacks (University of California, Riverside)
  303. Poulomi Saha (University of California, Berkeley)
  304. Steven Salaita (Independent Scholar)
  305. Mohammad Salama
  306. Gayle Salamon ( Princeton University)
  307. Gabriela Salvidea (Stanford University)
  308. Nicholas Sammond (University of Toronto)
  309. Epifanio San Juan (Polytechnic University of the Philippines)
  310. Melissa E Sanchez (University of Pennsylvania)
  311. Rosaura Sanchez (University of California, San Diego)
  312. Paul Sawyer (Cornell University)
  313. Caitlin Scholl (University of California, Berkeley)
  314. Malini Schueller (University of Florida)
  315. Ken Seigneurie (Simon Fraser University)
  316. Azade Seyhan (Bryn Mawr College)
  317. Joseph Shahadi (New York University)
  318. Anton Shammas (University of Michigan)
  319. Krupa Shandilya (Amherst College)
  320. S. Shankar (University of Hawai’i)
  321. Christina Sharpe (Tufts University)
  322. Jenny Sharpe (UCLA)
  323. Stephen Sheehi (College of William and Mary)
  324. Ella Shohat (NYU)
  325. Bhakti Shringarpure (University of Connecticut)
  326. Richard Shryock (Virginia Tech University)
  327. Anna-Claire Simpson (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
  328. David Simpson (University of California-Davis)
  329. Rashna Singh (Colorado College)
  330. Susan Slyomovics (UCLA)
  331. Nathan Snsaza (University of Richmond)
  332. Samuel Solomon (University of Sussex)
  333. Jacob Soule (Duke University)
  334. Robin Sowards (Chatham University)
  335. Juliana Spahr (Mills College)
  336. Andrea Spain (Mississippi State University)
  337. Tamara Lea Spira (Western Washington University)
  338. Leo Spitzer (Dartmouth College)
  339. Gayatri Spivak (Columbia University)
  340. Rajini Srikanth (University of Massachusetts, Boston)
  341. Danielle St. Hilaire (Duquesne University)
  342. Paul Stasi (SUNY Albany)
  343. Shelley Streeby (University of California, San Diego)
  344. Kenneth Surin (Duke University)
  345. Robert Tally (Texas State University)
  346. Ulku Tekten (CUNY)
  347. Rei Terada (University of California, Irvine)
  348. Annika Thiem (Villanova University)
  349. Greg Thomas (Tufts University)
  350. Ayanna Thompson (George Washington University)
  351. Helen Thompson (Northwestern University)
  352. Barry Trachtenberg (University at Albany, SUNY)
  353. Ben Tran (Vanderbilt University)
  354. Erin Trapp (University of Minnesota)
  355. Giovanni Turner (University of Miami)
  356. Lindsay Turner (University of Virginia)
  357. Michelle Ty, (University of California, Berkeley)
  358. Joya Uraizee (Saint Louis University)
  359. Greg Vargo (New York University)
  360. Fernando Velasquez ( St. Joseph’s College, New York)
  361. Santiago Vidales (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
  362. Ariana Vigil (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)
  363. Philip Wagner (University of Florida)
  364. Priscilla Wald (Duke)
  365. Dorothy Wang (Williams College)
  366. Robert Warrior (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
  367. Janell Watson (Virginia Tech University)
  368. Jini Watson (NYU)
  369. Valerie Wayne (University of Hawaii)
  370. Phillip Wegner (University of Florida)
  371. Alys Weinbaum (University of Washington)
  372. Erica Weitzman (Northwestern University)
  373. Jennifer Wicke (University of Virginia)
  374. Quentin Williams (University of the Western Cape, South Africa)
  375. Christopher Winks (Queens College/CUNY)
  376. Alvin K. Wong (Yonsei University)
  377. Derek Woods (Rice University)
  378. Dagmawi Woubshet (Cornell University)
  379. Cynthia Wu (SUNY Buffalo)
  380. Adam Yaghi (University of Victoria)
  381. Andrew Yale (University of Chicago)
  382. Chi-ming Yang (University of Pennsylvania)
  383. Nadia Yaqub (University of North Carolina)
  384. Alex Young (USC)
  385. John Zilcosky (University of Toronto)

“Frustrations and Humiliations of the Occupation”: JM Coetzee at the closing night of PalFest 2016
Coetzee has always been careful to avoid using literature to make direct political statements, but in this video recording during the Palestine Festival in Ramallah  on May 28, 2016, he explicitly condemns the racist and colonial nature of Israel’s occupation.
Even though the South African author distinguishes the current situation in Palestine from apartheid-era South Africa, he implies that the conditions to which Palestinians are today subject and those under which South African Blacks lived are strikingly similar:

To speak of Jerusalem and the West Bank, we see a system of enforced segregation based on religion and ethnicity put in place by an exclusive self-defined group to consolidate a colonial conquest, in particular to maintain, and indeed extend, its hold on the land and its natural resources.

Given Coetzee’s status as an international literary figure, whose works are free from partisanship–he is hardly a Palestine solidarity activist or advocate for BDS–it will be interesting to see how apologists for Israel respond to his statement. Will Coetzee now be accused of anti-semtism? Will the always vigilant defenders of Israel add his name to their lists, such as Canary Mission? Will he suffer the embargoes imposed on other artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers and intellectuals who stand with the Palestinians?
Coetzee’s pronouncements about Israel’s “colonial conquest” are an indication that criticism of Israel, once associated only with those who dared to speak out about the injustices faced by Palestinians, has entered the wider public realm.

JM Coetzee on Israeli occupation and South African apartheid: “Draw your own conclusions”
27 days ago
On 26 May, South African Nobel Prize-winning author JM Coetzee spoke at the closing of the Palestine Festival of Literature, where he made comparisons between apartheid South Africa and the Israeli occupation.

“I came to Palestine to see and listen and learn and over the course of the past week I have seen and heard and learned a great deal. I come away with an enduring impression of the courage and the resilience of the Palestinian people at this difficult time in their history. Also of the grace and humour with which they respond to the frustrations and the humiliations of their occupation.
I was born and brought up in South Africa and so naturally people ask me what I see of South Africa in the present situation in Palestine. Using the word apartheid to describe the way things are here, I’ve never found to be a productive step. Like using the word genocide to describe what happened in Turkey in the 1920s, using the word apartheid diverts one into an inflamed semantic wrangle, which cuts short the opportunities of analysis.
Apartheid was a system of enforced segregation based on race or ethnicity, put in place by an exclusive, self-defined group in order to consolidate colonial conquest particular to cement its hold on the land and on natural resources. In Jerusalem and in the West Bank — to speak only of Jerusalem and the West Bank — we see a system of enforced segregation based on religion and ethnicity, put in place by an exclusive self-defined group to consolidate a colonial conquest, in particular to maintain and indeed extend its hold on the land and its natural resources.
Draw your own conclusions.”
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