Boycott of Israeli scholars sinks university anthology

 

Arab contributors for collection of writings by Middle Eastern women bolt over Israelis’ inclusion

 

The University of Texas. (photo credit: CC-BY rutlo, Flickr)

The University of Texas. Photo: CC-BY rutlo, Flickr

NEW YORK (JTA) — A planned anthology of Middle Eastern women’s writing will not be completed because of an academic boycott of two Israeli authors’ work.

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin had planned to publish an anthology of writing by Middle Eastern women in honor of Elizabeth Fernea, a professor emerita at the university who died in 2008, and who focused on women’s issues in the Middle East.

But, according to Inside Higher Ed, one of the anthology’s 29 authors said that she would withdraw her work from the anthology unless it excluded the work of two Israeli writers who were also asked to contribute to the anthology. When the publishers refused to exclude the Israelis, a total of 13 authors withdrew their work from the book — which would have left the book without any Arab contributors. This led the center to cancel the book’s publication.

“My view is that it is not proper to single out individual contributors for other contributors to veto,” Kamran Scot Aghaie, director of the center, told Inside Higher Ed. “As an academic institution, we cannot censor people for the country they are from.”

 

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By JTA

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