This powerful essay by the Ohio State University lecturer Pranav Jani appeared on the microsite of the Modern Language Association group, MLA Members for Justice in Palestine. In the essay Jani asks,

‘[W]hat sorts of rational arguments would it take to convince humanities scholars in the MLA membership, who often express a commitment to human rights and equality, to show solidarity with this anti-colonial and anti-racist struggle?’

The Members for Justice in Palestine group was set up in 2014 to campaign in favour of a resolution calling on the MLA to boycott Israeli academic institutions. The MLA, which boasts more than 26,000 members in 100 countries, will vote on the boycott resolution at its 2017 convention.

Here is an excerpt from Jani’s essay:

‘When you join the boycott of Israel you are responding to a call from Palestinian civil society and saying that no, we, as part of a global community that is committed to human rights, will not be silent while atrocities under a military colonial occupation go on month after month, year after year.

‘You may have questions about organizations, strategies, details, policies, and solutions – but you draw a line against colonialism and racism. If you refuse to see this line, you are also taking a stand: for the status quo.

‘You are free to do so, of course.’

But then please don’t speak to me about your anti-racism. For the image of the Palestinian as always already a terrorist fuels every justification of Israeli violence as “security.”

Please don’t toss around words like “empire” and “colonialism.” For the militarization of Israel (as well as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and other allies) is central to US imperial ambitions today.’

Continue reading: Pranav Jani’s Statement in Support of a Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

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