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Support Professor Mona Baker

Palestine Chronicle
July 31, 2002

Mona Baker is Professor of Translation Studies at the University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology (UMIST). She is Egyptian born but holds British nationality. Above all she is a wonderful human being who has worked tirelessly for peace and harmony among nations.

In the last few days there has been considerable press coverage of Mona's action. In brief, Mona signed a well-supported petition initiated by Professor Steven Rose (Physics, Open University), himself a Jew, calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions and their representatives (on the same model as that of boycotting Apartheid South Africa). The UK academic unions AUT and NAFTE have also passed similar motions recently.

Consequently, Mona, who is the editor and owner of two translation studies journals, asked two Israeli scholars (both working in Israeli universities) to resign from the Advisory Boards of her journals (these are honorary NOT employment positions and these two Israeli scholars were not employees of, or paid by, the journal). When they refused, she "unappointed" them. Her decision was personal and based on her conviction and interpretation of the AUT decision and the petition she signed, as they both worked for Israeli universities. It is absolutely essential that all understand that her actions are aimed NOT at Israelis or Jews per se, but against those who work in Israeli institutions. This is not a racial action, but designed to put pressure on Israeli academia to stand up and speak out against the oppression.

Since then, their powerful lobby has started a massive campaign of intimidation, with a barrage of abusive messages, emails, phone calls, threats, etc. (mostly from US & Israel). The media have mostly taken the dubious high ground of "academic freedom" or down right misrepresenting the case. Nevertheless, the tide is now turning and Mona is beginning to receive support from all quarters, including Jewish individuals and Organizations, disgusted at her treatment and that of the Palestinians.

If you agree with her action, please write/email the following in support of her position (particularly important are the UMIST names, as her job may be under threat because of the campaign waged against her). Do so urgently BUT calmly and rationally. Invite others who agree with you to do the same.

Please, send your own wording of a message to the names mentioned below (at least to the first and third group as they are people who are being also harassed because of their stance).

Kindly address SEPARATELY a blind copy of your support message to: (where a record of such letters will be kept).

If you wish, you could write something along the following line:

I am writing to express my full support for Professor Mona Baker's principled stance in boycotting Israeli academic institutions and their representatives. In my view, academic freedom demands that Israeli academics speak out loudly against their government's oppressive actions in Palestine. I trust that you will feel able to support her too.

Write to: