Huzama Habayeb, who lives in Dubai, based in the same city, “I am so proud of having the book cancelled,” Palestinian author Huzama Habayeb told Gulf News, “I am a Palestinian and to achieve this, to be able to resist the Israeli occupation of my homeland is something that I will cherish forever. It is my own victory in the struggle.”
She had contributed to a proposed book written by women on life in the Middle East but was upset by the inclusion of two Israeli women writers.
The Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the Austin-based Texas was planning to publish the anthology in honor of the late American scholar Elizabeth (B.J.) Fernai, who had lived and written on the Middle East.
After Huzama realized that two Israeli women also would be writing in the proposed book, she withdrew her manuscript, explaining that Israel is an “occupier: of “her land,” although she was born in Jordan and never has set foot in Israel.
Surprised by the university’s agreement to leave her writing out of the book, she took the next step to ban the book altogether by using the tactic of the threat of publicity.
“There are academic boycott movements around the world protesting the Israeli occupation – and the only two countries where they don’t exist are the United States and Israel.” Huzama told the Dubai-based website. “It doesn’t need a genius to figure out that the Texas center wanted to resolve the issue quickly and silently.”
She succeeded in her aim by enlisting other writers who had submitted manuscripts. An Egyptian novelist and critic and friend of hers, Radwa Ashour, threatened to withdraw her story if the university included the Israeli writers.
After five other writer threatened to withdraw their manuscripts, the university said the book already was at the printers and would be published as is, Huzama than organized petition, and the university backed down.
“We have heard back from many of the contributors to the volume in honor of B.J. Fernea,” Kamran Scot Aghaie, the director of the center wrote the contributors, according to Gulf News. “Some of you wish to proceed with the project, and others have withdrawn their contributions. On balance, the net result is that the book project is no longer viable. Therefore, we are discontinuing publication of this volume
“A few contributors feel that we should have excluded Jewish Israeli authors as a matter of policy, or that we should have treated them differently from other authors. We, , will not do that, because it violates our policy against discriminating based on race, religion, or national origin.”
Huzama denies she is “anti-Jewish and differentiates that from being anti-Israel.
Her hatred of Israel goes back 1967, the year in which she was born and when Israel defended itself against seven Arab countries in the Six-Day War in 1967, resulting in the restoration of Judea and Samaria to Israel.
Huzama said had a chance to enter Israel but refused. “When I was told that my papers would have to be stamped with an Israeli stamp, I refused to cross. To accept that stamp would be recognition of Israel,” she declared.