Texas University Cancels Book with Israeli Authors

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A female Arab author claims a “cherished victory” by forcing the University of Texas to scrap the publication of an anthology of women’s voices from the Middle East – because two of the twenty-nine writers were Israeli.

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies at UT Austin was planning to publish the book in honor of the late American scholar Elizabeth Fernea, a professor there whose life and work were focused on the Middle East.

At first, novelist Huzama Habayeb was delighted to contribute as one of fifteen Arab writers. But that turned to “horror,” as a Gulf News editorial put it, when she realized that the collection would also feature two Israeli women, Yehudit Hendel and Orly Castel-Bloom. Habayeb withdrew her manuscript, complaining to the Center that Israel is an “occupier” of her land “Palestine” – although she was born in Kuwait, raised in Jordan, lives in Dubai, and has never set foot in Israel.

The university accepted her withdrawal but moved forward with plans to publish. Taken aback by this, Habayeb determined to ban the book altogether. She urged other Arab contributors to withdraw their manuscripts. A friend, Egyptian novelist Radwa Ashour who is married to a Palestinian poet, was the first to go along. Then others got onboard.

The Center shrugged and said the book was already at the printers and would be published as is. Habayeb wasn’t about to give up. “There are academic boycott movements around the world protesting the Israeli occupation,” she said, then incorrectly claimed that “the only two countries where they don’t exist are the United States and Israel.” She threatened to embarrass the university: “It doesn’t need a genius to figure out that the Texas center wanted to resolve the issue quickly and silently.”

According to Dr. Kamran Scot Aghaie, the Center’s director, twelve authors asked to withdraw their contributions from the volume, with one additional request from the translator of another submission. “All the Arab writers whom I managed to contact withdrew their contributions,” Habayeb exulted.

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies refused to censor or discriminate against the Israelis, but the boycott led to enough withdrawals to make the book project no longer viable, so the publication was discontinued. Habayeb crowed to the Dubai-based website Gulf News,

I am so proud of having the book cancelled. I am a Palestinian and to achieve this, to be able to resist the illegal Israeli occupation of my homeland is something that I will cherish forever. It is my own victory in the struggle.

An opinion piece in the Gulf News gleefully reported that “Habayeb has a smile on her face this morning” and described her actions as “those of a resistance fighter.” It insisted that “academics the world over need to ensure that Israel is isolated for its immoral and illegal actions in occupying Palestine and repressing the Palestinian people.” (Dr. Aghaie offers another perspective on that: “The unfortunate reality is that in Middle Eastern Studies sometimes politics trumps academic ideals.”) The editorial closes by saying that “the pen is mightier than the sword” – an odd moral to draw from the censorship of nearly thirty writers.

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  • RonaldCarnine

    What a victory. No matter what you call it the correct word is "censorship". The Palestinian cause is predicated on blood, slitting the throats of babies and firing missiles at civilians. There is also the work of ex-president Bill Clinton in which Israel offered 95% of everything the Palestinians wanted, only to have them turn it down. Who's fault was that? I can almost guarantee that the offer will never again be so sweet. Then there are the billions and billions of dollars given to the Palestinian cause. Where is that money going? How is it that Arafat died a millionaire when he never did an honest days work in his life? The land of Israel is Israel's as it was given to her by God. "The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable." Romans 11:29-30 Although there were 15 or so Arab writers and only 2 Israelis, I guess it was 2 too many. So young lady, you do what Arab Muslims always do, you tear something good down with your own hands. From my way of thinking, that is never something to be proud ofl

  • David R

    Habeyeb will not be honored or even remembered as a prolific author, but rather as a jealous, blind brat. The world shouldn't even pay attention to her Jew-hating tantrums…acting like a spoiled child blowing a fuse and doing the bacon dance in a busy shopping center, embarrassing especially her own.
    Shame on the cowards who folded under her whimsical pressure. The Texas University has lost its status as a purveyer of freedom of expression and liberty. I can just picture their administrators scrabbling to please the Jew-haters, terrorized by the thoughts of future bomb threats and organized boycotts against their lame institution.
    Blind people like Habeyeb are so preoccupied with wanting to destroy Jews and their homeland, that they forget a fact of great importance…the God of Israel is watching and the fury of His anger is about to rise in His nostrils against all those who persecute His beloved Jews.
    "…for whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye." (Zechariah 2:8)

  • GeneW

    God authored the Bible as proven on one page at http://jc.does-it.net and He was very clear on which side the people should be on. Satan's people [all who are anti Israeli] may appear to be winning now but they have not studied what God has prophecied and promised.
    I pray the anti-Israel folk will seek God and repent befor it is too late.

  • gamaliel

    I think she did win even though she silenced the other Arab writers in the process because the publicity she got for her propaganda is far greater than the book would have had.

    • Axe

      True. More her, her, her, her, her stuff. She doesn't seem big on "them."

  • http://www.venerdi.pl/ Moda Męska

    LOL, why would the do that? A book is a book and we don't live in a 16th century anymore.

    • MikeWood

      Actually Moda, we appear to be heading back to the 16th century very quickly.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

        I think the goal is the 8th century actually.
        We all know that muslim women don't matter unless their husbands say they can pretend to matter. So the 27 muslim women don't count, as long as you silence the two Jewish women that are used to speaking their minds.

    • David R

      The Jew-hating Arabs ARE still living in 16th century…and they'll never change.

      • Lady_Dr

        David, you are TOO kind to say 16th century, it seems to be more like the 7th century actually. But you are right they will never change – because changing means instant death at the hands of their fellow Arabs. So even in an individual, or group wanted to change they couldn't. Sending as many as possible to paradise seems the only option

  • oldtimer

    Another institute of higher learning shows just how stupid they are…..I wonder if filthy, I mean, Fifty shades of gray is in the library….

  • Susan

    Behind all last minute "back outs" by Muslims one will find C.A.I.R., the biggest enemy of free speech in America. They read them the riot act and "convince" Muslims to back out so that the book or the program never sees the light of day. All "truth" must come from the C.A.I.R. fiction machine.

  • jacko

    it just how stupid some people are . its called cutting off your nose to spite your face. well it saved the university losses on a book that probably no one would buy

  • oldtimer

    I think it was Goebels(nazi) or Lenin(commie) who said, say a lie enough and it becomes the truth…Do not let this happen.. Israel belongs to Israel..There is no illegal occupation.

  • Juana

    How pathetic of Habayeb — yet how utterly characteristic (emphasis on 'character'). How craven of UT — yet how utterly characteristic of universities everywhere. Open your mouth and talk about these things where you live, work and play while you still can. Or they'll be cutting out your tongue because YOU were a coward.

  • yossibarnegev

    Nothing like this should surprise us. U.T. does what it does best: caves in to PC. Arab woman who has never set foot in a country with a ~20% Arab population does what she does best: flaunts her hate and bigotry and calls that a victory. Meanwhile Israelis keep pumping out all kinds of technological and scientific advances for all the world to be blessed. And the Arabs – Muslims – Islamists outside of Israel just keep killing each other. Brilliant, simply brilliant!

  • Herbster

    Censorship now……..can book burning be far behind? U.T. has acted shamefully here. No surprise though, since academia today does not believe in the marketplace of ideas and rigorous debate. It does believe in political correctness and cateringto whatever group is the flavor of the month. Unfortunately, our college students today do not get an education – they get a leftist, anti-American, anti-Israeli indoctrination. Even more unfortunately, degrees from the majority of today's colleges and universities is a meaningless piece of paper. I live in Texas and am thoroughly ashamed by UT's action. Where are the Jewish professors speaking out against this action? Are they not speaking up because their true religion is liberalism and not Judaism?

    • EVABeliever

      The article makes it quite clear that UT was going ahead with the book until half the "writers" pulled out. One can't blame UT for refusing to take a loss on behalf of two writers. This Arab woman is NOT a refugee and is a self-serving moron. In fact, the fact that UT is NOT publishing the book has brought it to our attention and we can see how stupid and self-destructive the Arab female is. They live in servitude to their husband who has multiple wives and they are treated worse than dogs.

  • http://www.Longdrycreek.com Longdrycreek

    The editorial mistake was to invite Arab writers and fail to tell them we are inviting authors from the Middle East, including Israel. If this woman did not want to associate with the other authors, fine. No loss. I have never heard of
    Besides, the book was to honor a deceased scholar. If H. does not enjoy the UT atmosphere, I suggest she immediately return to Palestine or the Gaza Strip or wherever she is from, and enjoy the benefits of Islam in the Raw.

  • oldtimer

    If she is such a good muslim why isn't she wearing a hijab…

    • Lady_Dr

      Because it is all to make you think that she is 'normal', and to accept her as being 'one of us' by her appearance – but don't believe it. There are probably plenty of Arabs, men and women, who are oppsed to her being withut a hijab and to her short hair. As soon as she is no longer useful to them she will lose her head or be shut away because that is what they do.

  • BS77

    "Middle Eastern Studies"….Black Studies, Moron Studies….all these idiiotic PC departments in LOSER universities and schools…..diploma mills for the clueless ignoramuses….diplomas that mean nothing.

  • PhillipGaley

    No-o-o-o, but in looking forward to that occasion spoken of as that occasion in which "the False Prophet shall be cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.", I think rather, not ever, will Arabs feel "desperately humiliated by the success story which is Israel"; for, as crime and other immorality is psychologically crippling, nor can any creature of the lower animal kingdom be taught or inculcated with decency—and equivalent with anyone else who is so moved as to have departed the mind of man—Arabs are largely divorced from the capacity for that kind of shame, . . . again, simply because, they are Moslems, . . .

  • mrbean

    I would have accepted the offer of all the Muslim Non-Scholars to withdraw their propaganda sheets rather than ban a book because some Muslim hag is an anti-semite. This is America, and censorship and anything else to accomodate anti-semitic Muslims should never happen.

    • David R

      You mean this WAS America…we are now under God's judgment and are now entirely in the hands of the very enemy we are trying to suck up to.

  • Herbster

    Your kids need a real college education? Send them to Hillsdale in Michigan or Grove City in Pennsylvania.

  • Judas

    All this women's "No' says is that she is a hate filled poorly educated bigot.

  • Sue

    At first, I was thinking, that this report is giving her more press and exposure than she deserves.
    On rethinking the situation, I realize, bringing it into the public record is a good idea. It emphasizes the
    consequences of hate and of the refusal to understand what freedom to express oneself,
    under the First Amendment means. The question that comes to mind is , why is she teaching at UT
    Austin? What, in fact, is she teaching, and does she have tenure? It brings into question the calibre
    of professors and standards promulgated at the school. I suggest, she be vetted, at least, by the
    press , and UT's 'outreach' to the Islamic community questioned and, also, investigated.
    Why did the school permit her hate to be activated and achieve censorship? I would hope,
    the publisher has learned the proper lesson.

  • Boston

    I suppose it's the literary equivalent of strapping munitions on her back and blowing herself up. Hopefully the same will happen to her literary and college career.

  • mlcblog

    I like your point that it is the Middle East that remains impoverished and ignorant with this kind of censorship and self-centered willfulness.

  • Texas

    Shame on you UT Austin for not finding more Israeli authors and publishing anyways! America we are going to hell in the handbasket if we don't wake up and STOP ISLAM!!!!!!

  • Ghostwriter

    This woman is an idiot and a fool for trying to get rid of the essays by two authors. Now it looks like the book won't be published at all. She should be condemned for this foolishness and be treated with all the contempt she deserves.

  • Rochelle Owens

    The brutal Israelphobic Jews support this ideology of misinformation. read: "Chomsky Grilling Linguica"


    Yeah. A cherished "victory" like the Fort Hood massacre by Arab Major Pig Hasan.

  • pyeatte

    Habayeb should go back to the rat-hole she came from – the Middle East.

  • Ageofreason

    In my experience as an author, a publisher does not enter into an agreement to publish a writer except with a contract signed by the author(s). Are we to assume that no contracts were signed? Or must we assume that the publisher’s decision not to publish broke the contracts with the writers? Are contracts meaningless, or was the publisher just gutless? Why does it seem that almost all persons in positions of authority at universities are dhimmis? I do believe that if we refuse to help ourselves, G*d will not bother, either.

  • Raymond in DC

    "Thirteen Nobel Prizes for Literature have been awarded to Israeli authors; the Arab world has received one, despite its enormous population advantage."

    I think you mean 13 Nobels for Literature have been awarded to JEWS. Israelis have won a total of TEN Nobels – 4 in Chemistry, 2 in Economics, 3 in "Peace", 1 in Literature. That's still quite an accomplishment for so small and young a country, and more than the whole of the Arab world.

  • Phillip Ley

    As an alumnus of UT Austin, I am sickened that my alma mater has been sociopolitically castrated. Everything sacrificed at the Alamo has been disgraced, its honor besmirched and memory perverted. Thank God my children have been educated elsewhere. The cowardly actions of the UT Press make me want to vomit.

  • Hank Rearden

    I think UT did all right. It didn’t throw out the Israeli writers. I think that is pretty important. Since the US of A is still a free country, if authors want to withdraw their work, I don’t see what else UT could have done. This incident is just another demonstration of the deplorable nature of Arab / Islamic culture. It cannot compete and it has nothing positive to offer. On Israeli genocide of the Palestinians, we have to ask – always have to ask – “when and where?” It’s pretty clear all these authors didn’t have much respect for the deceased professor the book was to honor. I wonder what that professor’s teachings on the Middle East were? I say bravo to UT for not letting the content of the book be dictated by nihilists!

  • Omar Kahlid

    Disgusting. Islam is a disease, Palis are a scab on a puss pocket. Hope they all convert and live in peace and God's blessing. Love Israel. She is alone in a sea of depraved pedophile followers that sex babies.

  • Ami

    Time to shut down the University of Texas!

  • hammar

    muslims can't read or write anyway….but they can pull a trigger….the book wasn't going to be worth anything.
    Hebrew women or even Christians show distance themselves from the goats anyway.

  • John

    Being an alumnus of UT-El Paso, I was disgusted when I read this article; however, after contacting Dr. Brustad, the Department Chair for Middle-Eastern Studies at UT-Austin, they provided proof that the department and the university did everything within their power to go forward with the publication, including trying to find alternate Arab women authors once Huzama Habayeb started her little protest. So, the blame for all of this rest solely at the feet of Huzama Habayeb and not the university.

  • John

    Here is a link to my post above: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/05/31/univ

  • marios

    Just guess: may be Habayeb read 2 Jewish authors works and realized that she is not up to their level?
    Why Arabs-Muslims are permitted to immigrate to our country as we know that it is fifth column? Can we imagine that FDR during the WWII permitted Japanises and Germans to immigrate to US? Islam is in war with us. Are we so much stupid that allow them to destroy our country from within?

  • BCamerican

    Anybody? Who do we write to at UT Austin to voice our displeasure?

  • http://www.netbuilders.org Rob Jones

    Kinda sad. Lot of "free speech" advocates in Austin… and they'll defend your right to speak to the death… {unless they disagree with it or doing so isn't politically correct, then they will make every possible effort to silence your voice}.

  • Karen Levy

    I'm an Israeli-American author who would have been happy to contribute to the anthology. Yet now that UT handled the situation in such a cowardly fashion, I would be ashamed to be associated with them…