Professor Mona Baker
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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.