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Robert Abzug, Director CLA 2.402, 305 E 23rd St B3600, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-475-6178

SCJS director supports Middle Eastern Studies’ decision not to publish book without Israeli authors

Posted: June 4, 2012

Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies Director Robert Abzug said last week he supports the Center for Middle Eastern Studies in its decision to cancel an anthology due to a political boycott by thirteen Arab authors.

Novelist Huzama Habayeb and twelve others withdrew their work from the collection of short stories by Middle Eastern women authors, a tribute to the late Professor Emerita Elizabeth Fernea, when Habayeb learned the book would include two Israeli authors. Habayeb declared her colleagues’ support and the center’s subsequent cancellation “a symbolic victory.”

Dr. Abzug criticized the protest as an infringement on academic freedom.

“The ultimate losers are those who declared victory,” Dr. Abzug wrote in an email to his colleagues. “They have muffled their own voices, not those of the Israeli authors.”

Dr. Abzug went on to say that the Center for Middle Eastern Studies had no alternative to cancellation, and that he supports the public statement CMES director Kamran Aghaie issued online.

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