Sue's e-mail to Israeli academics, early August 2002

Dear (name),

I am e-mailing you because your name is given as the contact person for further information on Linguistics and Law courses at (name) University.

I regret to have to inform you that I feel I can no longer support links from my Birmingham website to Israeli universities; nor can I recommend any students or colleagues to pursue, or teach, courses at Israeli universities in the current situation. Any information about your course, or links to sites promoting it, have therefore been suspended.

This is no criticism of you personally, and is not aimed at Israeli people in general, but is part of the international protest at the actions of the present Israeli government. The statement to which I have added my name is given below. I would like to add that I deplore acts of violence against any institution of learning, including the attack on the Hebrew university which was reported in the news a few days ago, as well as the continuing attacks on Palestinian universities such as Bir Zeit.

If you wish to discuss this with me, please contact me personally: I don't think this is a suitable topic for discussion on the forensic-linguistics list, which is so far unaffected by the action I am taking.

I don't expect you to agree with my decision, but I do hope that you will at least feel able to understand it and respect the position I am coming from. As I said above, this is in no way intended to target individual academics.

I will be happy to restore the information about your course when the boycott is lifted, i.e. at such time as the Israeli government engages in genuine negotiations for a just and peaceful settlement with elected representatives of the Palestinian people.

The text of the statement is given at the bottom of this message.

Yours sincerely,

Sue Blackwell
Department of English,
The University of Birmingham,

Phone: +44 - 0121-414-3219
Fax: +44 - 0121-414-5668


Forensic Linguistics Home Page:


Petition statement:

"The campaign against the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority launched at the end of March 2002 by the government headed by Ariel Sharon, in defiance of United Nations Resolutions and the Geneva Conventions, has led to a military reoccupation of the Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and to a dramatic increase in human rights violations. Under these circumstances, I can no longer in good conscience continue to cooperate with official Israeli institutions, including universities. I will attend no scientific conferences in Israel, and I will not participate as referee in hiring or promotion decisions by Israeli universities, or in the decisions of Israeli funding agencies. I will continue to collaborate with, and host, Israeli scientific colleagues on an individual basis."

The petition website is at:


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Its contents are in no way endorsed by the University of Birmingham.
It was last updated on 4th November 2002.