I am, sadly, not at the MLA conference this year, but have submitted this comment to be distributed at the Town Hall Forum today where the issue will be discussed:
I am deeply saddened that we, those who love literature and all its complexities and nuances, are considering/debating an academic boycott of any kind. These kinds of boycotts hurt individuals, though they purport not to. They also cause considerable damage to the standard of scholarship and responsibility that should characterize the MLA. I want to be part of an organization that encourages, rather than forecloses, dialogue with all scholars from all countries. I want us to come together and find ways to speak across the political/cultural/geographical borders rather than excise some from our community because we don't like their government.