British University fires two Israeli Professors

The Jerusalem Post (www.jpost.com) reports that a British University has fired two Israeli Professors. You might think the Professors were lazy and did not show up for work regularly, or maybe they were incompetent causing their British boss not to have any choice but to fire them?

Unfortunately, the only reason the Israeli professors were fired is because they were... Israelis.

Prof. Gideon Toury of Tel Aviv University and Dr. Miriam Schlesinger of Bar-Ilan University were fired from the academic boards of two language journals owned and run by Prof. Mona Baker of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST).

Egyptian-born Baker, director of the university's Center for Translation and Intercultural Studies, told the Sunday Telegraph: "I deplore the Israeli state." But she insisted she was not against Israelis as such: "It is Israeli institutions as part of the Israeli state which I absolutely deplore."

D.J. Schneeweiss, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in London, described the decision as "appalling." "This delegitimization of Israel is typical of the rejectionism that lies at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict," he said yesterday. "It's an example of what the argument has always been about." [...]

"Excluding scholars because of the passports that they carry or because of their skin color, religion, or political party corrupts the integrity of intellectual work," he declared.

It is also interesting to note that the British University is not opposing the decision to fire the professors because they were Jewish Israeli:

But Prof. John Garside, vice-chancellor of UMIST, distanced himself from the debate, even though the journals carry the university logo.

"These are activities that she is involved with in her own time," he said. "What happens on those journals and the editorial policy on those journals are entirely a matter for those journals. It's an issue that we are dealing with internally and not something I want to make any public statement about at this stage."

I copy the full article below.





UK professor fires two Israelis as part of anti-Israel boycott
By DOUGLAS DAVIS - July 8, 2002
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?
pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/Full&cid=1025787719966

The sacking of two Israelis by a professor at a leading British university in compliance with the anti-Israel academic boycott has sparked worldwide protests from academics and from the Israeli government.

Prof. Gideon Toury of Tel Aviv University and Dr. Miriam Schlesinger of Bar-Ilan University were fired from the academic boards of two language journals owned and run by Prof. Mona Baker of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST).

Schlesinger, a former chairman of the Israeli branch of Amnesty International, was a member of the editorial board of The Translator magazine, while Toury was a consulting editor of Translation Studies Abstracts.

Both had worked for Baker for three years before being asked to resign last month. When they refused, they were fired.

Egyptian-born Baker, director of the university's Center for Translation and Intercultural Studies, told the Sunday Telegraph: "I deplore the Israeli state." But she insisted she was not against Israelis as such: "It is Israeli institutions as part of the Israeli state which I absolutely deplore."

The pair, she said, would have been able to keep their jobs if they had left Israel for Britain and severed all ties with their homeland.

Her decision to sack them reflected "my interpretation of what a boycott of Israel means," she said. "Many people in Europe have signed a boycott against Israel. Israel has gone beyond just war crimes. It is horrific what is going on there. Many of us would like to talk about it as some kind of Holocaust which the world will eventually wake up to, much too late, of course, as they did with the last one."

D.J. Schneeweiss, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in London, described the decision as "appalling." "This delegitimization of Israel is typical of the rejectionism that lies at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict," he said yesterday. "It's an example of what the argument has always been about."

The sackings have raised no public opposition from British universities, but international academics have condemned Baker's action and called on British academics to defend academic freedom.

Among the campaigners is Prof. Stephen Greenblatt, an eminent Shakespeare expert at Harvard University, who arrived in Britain yesterday to receive an honorary degree from London University.

He said Baker's actions were "repellent," "dangerous," and "intellectually and morally bankrupt."

"Excluding scholars because of the passports that they carry or because of their skin color, religion, or political party corrupts the integrity of intellectual work," he declared.

In an open letter to Baker, Greenblatt, who is president of the Modern Language Association of America, described the "chilling shadow" cast by her actions.

"An attack on cultural cooperation, with a particular group singled out for collective punishment, violates the essential spirit of scholarly freedom and the pursuit of truth," he wrote.

"The pursuit of knowledge does not suddenly come to a halt at national borders. This does not mean that serious scholars must be indifferent to the world's murderous struggles, but it does mean that they are committed to an ongoing, frank conversation...[that] often includes passionate disagreement."

Francis Robinson, a professor of history at London University, agreed that "whatever anyone feels about Israel, this is absolutely appalling.

"Certainly there are strong feelings, not often spoken but nevertheless strongly felt, shared by the majority of British liberal intellectuals about the problems with Israel. Nonetheless, this sounds dreadful. It runs counter to the very principles of academic freedom."

Lord Greville Janner, who heads the Holocaust Educational Trust, said that the sackings were "disgraceful and dangerous. You should no more sack an Israeli academic for his nationality than you should a Palestinian in the same situation."

"In every university in the UK today there are problems between the two groups. They must try to insulate themselves from what is happening in the Middle East or else you are going to get the most terrible conflicts seeping into our university campuses."

But Prof. John Garside, vice-chancellor of UMIST, distanced himself from the debate, even though the journals carry the university logo.

"These are activities that she is involved with in her own time," he said. "What happens on those journals and the editorial policy on those journals are entirely a matter for those journals. It's an issue that we are dealing with internally and not something I want to make any public statement about at this stage."

Responding to the sacking, Toury wrote in the Wall Street Journal last week: "I'm very happy to be an Israeli. Indeed, I owe my life to the fact." He said he was writing a letter of response to his dismissal as a suicide bomber exploded some 150 meters from his home in Herzliya.

"The only reason I am alive in the first place," he wrote to Baker, "is that my parents, each of them separately, managed to leave Germany in the mid- and late-1930s, the only ones of their immediate families, and go to Palestine, which was the official name of the place in those days."

He added: "These dismissals may easily become the beginning of something much bigger that will rapidly get out of hand... What a terrifying prospect. We've been here before."

Posted by David Melle
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Comments

While most hate stems from ignorance, I see a wave of anti-Semitism coming from people who are supposedly "intellectuals." The explicit behavior and actions by Mona Baker is done so with malice aforethought. There will be no educating Mona Baker. This elitist represents a growing class in Europe whose families have hated Jews since the beginning of time. In light of the current geopolitical scene, she seizes the opportunity to express herself. - a Jew is only "good" when he lies down and plays victim. The Israeli translators would not have been fired if they disassociated themselves from their country of birth. I just don't get it. Where are the dissenting voices from the "intellectuals? the academic body? Hello?
Anybody?

I still pray that ignorance can be remedied with education. How do you educate the "educated?" Sorry, I forgot, Ms. Baker simply despises Israel's politics and she was "justly" criticizing Israel by her actions. This is HER way of boycotting Israel.

In the USA, I notice that this story has received zero press in our broadsheet. In fact, when I do a search for "Mona Baker" on the "LAT" or "NYT," I yield zero hits. What's wrong with this picture is that, unfortunately, nobody gives a shit.

It should be front-page news, but it never will be because it places the Jew-hater in bad light. On the other hand, the "Left Angeles Times," had the following story emblazoned in all its front-page glory this morning:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-izland9jul09.story

In my humble opinion, the Mona Baker item is as newsworthy of front-page press as the column linked above.

Sad and dismayed.
Jacques

PS Thank God for the students!
http://www.instapundit.com/archives/002255.php#002255

Posted by: jacques at July 10, 2002 09:37 PM


I posted the above @ a great blog the other day:

http://www.littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=3436

a reply to my post:
http://www.littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=3436#c0127

Posted by: jacques at July 10, 2002 09:39 PM


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