Umist decides against disciplining boycott professor

From the archive (legacy material)

Helen Jacobus | Jewish Chronicle | 1 February 2003

MONA BAKER, the professor who sacked two Israeli academics from private journals she edited, has been cleared of any wrongdoing by her employers, the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.
Ms Baker, professor of translation studies at Umist, removed Professor Gideon Toury of Tel Aviv University and Dr Miriam Shlesinger of Bar-Ilan last year from the editorial boards of two journals she edits and her husband owns, after they had refused her request to resign.
The Egyptian-born professor had requested their resignation as part of an academic boycott against Israel. Her actions caused an outcry among MPs, and divided the liberal and left-wing establishment’s critics of Israel’s
policies towards the Palestinians.
The Umist inquiry, which began last July, this week found that Professor Baker “has broken no rules of the university” and that there were “no grounds. to take disciplinary action.”
The inquiry did accept that the “academic activity” of the Israelis had been “constrained by their removal,” and Umist vice-chancellor John Garside stated the university “was against boycotts.”
But it found that Professor Baker, who had declined to co-operate with the probe, was “entitled to remove the Israeli academics from her independently owned journals, as Umist had no jurisdiction” over the publications.
Professor Toury told the JC he found Umist’s decision “strange. Whatever I do, I am a representative of Tel Aviv University,” he said.
Dr Miriam Shlesinger, however, said that she was “pleased” at the decision.
Student leader Leah Kutner said that Jewish students felt “disgusted” that no disciplinary action was being taken. “We feel betrayed by the university,” she said.
Professor Baker declined to comment.