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UMIST investigates Mona Bakers sackings

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Umist to investigate Israeli sackings

Donald MacLeod
Tuesday October 1, 2002
Education Guardian
Source: < ahref="http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/worldwide/story/0,,802553,00.html">The Education Guardian

The University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology has appointed an independent committee to investigate the actions of a professor who dismissed two Israeli scholars from the boards of her journals as part of an academic boycott.

A report on Mona Baker, editor and owner of two journals, is expected in about six weeks, but so heated has the atmosphere surrounding the case become that the names of the independent chair and committee members are being kept confidential until they have delivered their findings.

Calls for an academic boycott of Israel have provoked a furious response in Europe and the US. Academics who have spoken out in favour of the Palestinians have complained they have been bombarded with hate emails.

Professor Baker and her husband, Ken, who own The Translator and Translation Studies Abstracts, said they received 15,000 emails when her actions became public knowledge. They vehemently deny anti-Semitism (the two Israeli academics were friends) but argue they were representing their universities and hence the state of Israel.

Umist is also investigating another professor, Michael Sinnott, over an email he sent to a Harvard academic in which he described Israel as the "mirror image of Nazism". Professor Sinnott said he had sent the email in the heat of the moment to Professor Stephen Greenblatt, a Shakespeare expert at Harvard, accusing him of orchestrating a "campaign of press vilification" against Professor Baker. UMIST said it was angry about the email and is investigating whether he has breached any of its regulations.

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