The Gulf News praised Habayeb for taking on the center by organizing a boycott and winning.
"Habayeb's actions are those of a resistance fighter -- never giving an inch to Israel, which has illegally occupied her homeland. But there's also a bigger issue -- one whereby academics the world over need to ensure that Israelis isolated for its immoral and illegal actions in occupying Palestine and repressing the Palestinian people. The pen is mightier than the sword," the paper said in an editorial.
Hendel could not be reached for comment.
Orly Castel-Bloom, in an e-mail to CNN, called the Habayeb column "superficial," "full of hate" and laden with "clichés."
"If we cannot share a book in far away Texas -- how can we achieve peace literally on a daily basis? Tell me please," she said.
Castel-Bloom said that as an Israeli citizen, she "must therefore bear some responsibility for the actions of the Israeli government."
But at the same time, she said, "there have been a number of U.S. academics opposed to the policies of the U.S. government, from the Vietnam War to the invasion of Iraq, and beyond."
"Nobody has seriously proposed that all U.S. academics be boycotted from conferences and publications. This may be in part because of the power of the U.S., but it is also, I suspect, out of profound appreciation of the of the example set by the USA in matters concerning free speech and open enquiry," she said in the e-mail.
Castel-Bloom told the Maariv daily newspaper in Israel that "the University of Texas has surrendered to political blackmail. This is numerus clausus Texas 2012." That phrase is a reference to religious or racial quotas.
She said the situation reminds her of lyrics from the song "Sounds of Silence" -- "Hello Darkness my old friend, I have come to talk to you again."
"The University of Texas had no choice and the person that book was dedicated to will not be remembered through the book? But where are the students? Are they alive? Are they aware of what is going on in their place?"
Aghaie said the faculty, a diverse group in a department that supports Arab, Israeli, Turkish and Iranian studies, supported the center's decision to shelve the project.
Wrath against the university initially came from some pro-Israeli people, Aghaie said. But other Jewish voices, such as the Anti-Defamation League and the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies at the Austin campus, supported the center's stance. There were e-mails from upset Arab authors explaining their position, he said.
Criticism goes with the territory in the "contentious" world of Middle East studies, he said.
"We are routinely subject to pressure," Aghaie said on the center's webpage. And, he told CNN, "whatever you do, you are going to be attacked."
"For example, we are constantly pressured to exclude Arab and Muslim voices, especially those that are critical of U.S. policy in the Middle East, or of U.S. allies, in particular Israel. Others wish us to exclude the perspectives of those who defend the policies of the U.S., Israel or other nations. And of course, in addition to these pressures, we also hear from the normal assortment of Islamophobes, anti-Semites, religious bigots, racists etc." he said in a remark on the webpage.
The incident resonates for other Middle East scholars in the United States.
Fred Donner, director of the Center of Middle East Studies at the University of Chicago, praised Elizabeth Fernea and her work. He said she was "a wonderful person" who helped "bring a humane view of people in the Arab world to Americans" in the 1960s and 1970s "when Americans generally didn't have many resources to see the Arab world as it was."
He said he wishes the Arab contributors would have been pleased that Israeli authors were honoring Fernea's memory.
"So now, because of these contributors' ideological position, there will be no memorial to Fernea at all," he said.