Boycott of Israel dooms college anthology

A planned anthology of Middle Eastern women’s writing will not be completed because of an academic boycott of 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 she would withdraw her work from the anthology unless it excluded the work of two Israeli writers who also were asked to contribute. 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. — jta