The Modern Language Association is the latest academic group attempting to pass a resolution condemning Israel for things that the Modern Language Association doesn’t like. This is being done because the Modern Language Association 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 Modern Language Association doesn’t try to show that it is good, righteous, and filled with God’s noblest creatures 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. These readers shouldn’t hold their breaths waiting for any kind of acceptable or rational answer from the likes of the Modern Language Association.
The Modern Language Association is, to be sure, a democratic institution where the majority rules an institution where the voting rules are utterly bizarre somewhat strange. The rules in question allow for the adoption of resolutions with the approval of a mere 10% of the association’s active population. When the resolution was put to a vote, however, it only garnered 6.5% approval, with 4.4% voting against.
As anti-Zionist showings go, this one is rather pathetic. You would think that it would be easy to find enough people within academia who can reliably be expected to hate Jewish people speak out against Israeli policies with a particular vehemence not found in the condemnations of any other country, assuming that an effort is even made in the first place to condemn the actions of countries other than Israel a sense of passion and purpose. But the Modern Language Association couldn’t even find 10% of its members who were willing to publicly and proudly condemn Israel. 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 reason, common sense and/or 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.