Academic's death adds fuel to Israeli boycott campaign
From the www.monabaker.com archive (legacy material)
Polly Curtis | The Guardian | 6 July 2004
Leading proponents of an academic boycott against Israel today condemned the killing of an academic in the West Bank and vowed to step up their campaign to cut ties with Israeli universities.
University professor Khaled Sallah and his 16-year-old son Mohammed were among five Palestinians killed last night in raids on the West Bank city of Nablus.
Today Hilary Rose, one of the authors of the original letter calling for an academic boycott of Israel, told EducationGuardian.co.uk: “Two years ago we were asking for something very moderate, to consider a moratorium on European funding of science in Israel.
“This is asking for so much more. It points to the absolute crisis in education in Palestine.”
“Universities and schools are precious to us as a way of building and democratising society.”
Hilary Rose, a sociologist, and her husband Steven Rose, a biologist, first called for a moratorium on EU funding to Israel two years ago and a fierce international row about the ethics of academic boycotts ensued.
That row escalated after the Association of University Teachers (AUT) picked it up and Mona Baker, a professor of translation studies then at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (Umist) – now at the newly merged Manchester University – sacked two Israeli academics from a journal she privately edits.
Today Professor Baker said: “It isn’t unusual for academics to get hurt or killed or be prevented from studying, the academic community is being targeted as much as the rest of the community.
“People should stand up for the academic freedom of Palestinian academics – if not the right to live.”
She said that she “absolutely” had not changed her position on the boycott, and was continuing to refuse to publish work by Israelis in her academic journals, which are separate to the work she does at Manchester University.
“The boycott is very much on the agenda. It is growing absolutely,” she added.
Despite an international outcry over the sackings, last year an internal investigation at Umist cleared the professor of anti-semitism and racism.