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American Imago 59.4 (2002) 499-500
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A Boycott by Passport
As editors of psychoanalytic journals devoted to the advancement of knowledge about the human mind and human relationships, we condemn recent actions that have denied academic freedom to individuals solely on the basis of their nationality.
On June 18, 2002, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that two distinguished Israeli scholars had been dismissed from the boards of two academic journals published in Great Britain. A senior lecturer in translation studies at Bar-Ilan University was dismissed from the editorial board of The Translator, and a professor in the School of Cultural Studies at Tel Aviv University was dismissed from the international advisory board of Translation Studies Abstracts. These actions were said to have been taken in response to demands by a group of European scholars who, in support of one side in the Middle East conflict, would bar all Israeli nationals from academic conferences, publication in scholarly journals, and participation on their boards. No suggestion was made in either case that the dismissed board member had written, said, or done anything that this group deemed improper, or indeed that was even relevant to the political issue involved. Had such a suggestion been made, our concern would have been no less, but it would have been different. At stake would have been the bounds of civil discourse, the right to express opinions, and the place of politics in academic life—difficult issues all. But what was done in the present instance is far simpler: two individuals were dismissed for no other reason than the passport they carried. We find it particularly ironic that two journals dedicated to translation should have compromised the very openness that facilitates the building of bridges, carrying understanding from one side of a divide to the other. [End Page 499]
We, as editors of psychoanalytic journals, deplore this boycott by passport and extend, as always, an invitation to all scholars—without regard to race, religion, or national origin—to join us in our attempts to understand and overcome the deep-seated sources of hatred and prejudice.