Arab Writers Withdraw From U.S. Book Over Publisher's Refusal to Remove Israeli Contributions

Planned publication by Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas halted after directors refuse to single out Israeli authors.

An anthology of women's writing in the Middle East, due to be published by a major U.S. university is withheld from publication, over the demand of one writer that contributions from two Israeli academicians be withheld.

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 that she would withdraw her work from the anthology unless it excluded the work of two Israeli writers who were also asked to contribute to the anthology.

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.

"My view is that it is not proper to single out individual contributors for other contributors to veto," Kamran Scot Aghaie, director of the center, told Inside Higher Ed. "As an academic institution, we cannot censor people for the country they are from."

Books - AP