Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The vitriolic attack questioned the University's relationship with Pluto generally and denigrated Overcoming Zionism.For other posts on this ongoing story click here and then scroll down.
By Roger van Zwanenberg
About three weeks ago Pluto books and the University of Michigan Press - our US distributor - came under attack by Stand With Us (a Zionist lobby group) who were objecting to the publication of Overcoming Zionism by Joel Kovel which resulted in the book being withdrawn in the US. The vitriolic attack questioned the University's relationship with Pluto generally and denigrated Overcoming Zionism.
Since then the Executive Board of the University has considered the matter and issued a public statement. Joel's book has now been reinstated but they plan to review the ongoing relationship between Pluto and UMP in October.
Pluto Press's importance and presence in the US is under threat.
Joel is setting up a network to rally support for Pluto as we are determined to defend ourselves. We hope you will help and support our efforts in the US by writing to Joel and Kathy who are co-ordinating the campaign firstname.lastname@example.org and Ellajaja@aol.com.
If you have your own networks, please first go through Joel and Kathy, as they are co-ordinating the campaign
In the meantime we intend to get the UK media to take notice of these events.
Roger van Zwanenberg (Dr)
Chair & Commissioning Editor www.plutobooks.com
345 Archway Road
London N6 5AA
Tel 020 8374 2192 ( Direct line)
0044 20 8374 2192 from Outside UK
Company No 4770976
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Today, the Israeli daily Ha'aretz reports: "The political and defense establishments reacted with fury on Thursday to opposition leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu's apparent confirmation of an Israeli operation in Syria two weeks ago." It continues: "Army Radio Labor Party secretary-general, Etan Cabel, called Netanyahu's words 'an outburst that is severe, stupid and irresponsible.' "
The attack was reported by the Syrian Arab News Agency on the day it happened. It was in the European press at least a week ago and on September 11th Syria filed a formal complaint with the United Nations.
Syria has lodged a formal complaint with the United Nations over a “flagrant violation” of its airspace last week by Israeli warplanes, which dropped munitions on its territory, AFP reported.The Washington Post says Israel's "silence is shrewd" and explains: "It has allowed Syria to avoid a military response and every other Arab state to pretend that nothing happened" but this is simply ridiculous Syria has not been silent and Arab and other states have no plausible deniability here. Perhaps the mission was a failure. One report says, "Syria said only that warplanes entered its airspace, came under fire from anti-aircraft defenses and dropped munitions and fuel tanks to lighten their loads while they fled." Or, perhaps, Zionists think it better to downplay another example of Israeli aggression.
Syria’s UN envoy Bashar Jaafari said on September 11 that his government was “drawing attention to this flagrant Israeli violation of its airspace and to its aggression against Syrian territory”.
In identical letters to UN chief Ban Ki-moon and French Ambassador to the UN Jean-Maurice Ripert, who is currently president of the Security Council, Jaafari said the Israeli planes had crossed Syria’s northern frontier last Thursday and dropped “some munitions without managing to cause any human casualties or material damage”.
The Syrian letter, obtained by AFP, said the Jewish state had deliberately committed “other similar crimes including the bombing of Syrian civilian facilities in 2003”.
Israel and Syria remain officially at war after peace talks collapsed in 2000 over the status of the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967 and annexed in 1981.
“If the international community persists in disregarding these Israeli actions in breach of international law, it is likely to subject the region and international peace and security to serious consequences that may be difficult to control,” Jaafari noted.
See also: "Why Did Israel Attack Syria?" by Jonathan Cook.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Concerning the e-mail from UM Press Director Phil Pochoda, wherein Pochoda first characterizes the book as "hate speech," the IHE story notes that they did reach Pochoda and he "declined to comment on the e-mail, but Kovel said it was accurate." The Daily writes:
In a statement, the University Press's executive board said it has "deep reservations" about "Overcoming Zionism," but because its contract calls for it to distribute all of Pluto Press's books, it wouldn't break the contract for that book alone.Here's some of what the American Library Association says about censorship:
"Such a course raises both First Amendment issues and concerns about the appearance of censorship," the board said. "As members of the University community dedicated to academic freedom and open debate among differing views, the Executive Board stands firmly for freedom of expression, and against even the appearance of censorship."
The board did say that Pluto's decision to publish "Overcoming Zionism" has led it to reconsider the University Press's 4-year-old contract with Pluto. It plans to make a decision later this fall about whether it will continue contracting with the company.
What Is Censorship?If the state-owned University of Michigan succumbs to political pressure and effectively removes Pluto's more than 550 books from the American market because Pluto dared to publish books critical of a foreign state--apartheid Israel--then who can honestly say that this isn't a case of de facto censorship? Human rights activists and civil libertarians need to send a message, loud and clear, that this attack on intellectual and academic freedom is not going unnoticed. Wake up, people! Zionists are trying to restrict your access to ideas and information.
Censorship is the suppression of ideas and information that certain persons—individuals, groups or government officials—find objectionable or dangerous. It is no more complicated than someone saying, “Don’t let anyone read this book, or buy that magazine, or view that film, because I object to it! ” Censors try to use the power of the state to impose their view of what is truthful and appropriate, or offensive and objectionable, on everyone else. Censors pressure public institutions, like libraries, to suppress and remove from public access information they judge inappropriate or dangerous, so that no one else has the chance to read or view the material and make up their own minds about it. The censor wants to prejudge materials for everyone.
How Does Censorship Happen?
Censorship occurs when expressive materials, like books, magazines, films and videos, or works of art, are removed or kept from public access. Individuals and pressure groups identify materials to which they object. Sometimes they succeed in pressuring schools not to use them, libraries not to shelve them, book and video stores not to carry them, publishers not to publish them, or art galleries not to display them. Censorship also occurs when materials are restricted to particular audiences, based on their age or other characteristics.
Write and/or call University of Michigan Press Executive Board Chairperson and University President Mary Sue Coleman and ask them to stand up for intellectual freedom and against Zionist thought control by renewing their contract with Pluto Press books. Here's the contact info:
Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Initiatives
Rackham Graduate School
915 E. Washington St, suite 1120
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1070
Phone: (734) 764-5344
Fax: (734) 764-8163
Mary Sue Coleman, President
University of Michigan
2074 Fleming Administration Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1340
Phone: (734) 764-6270
Fax: (734) 936-3529
See also: State Censorship: Handala & Hasbara
- InsideHigherEd did a followup story on 9/12/07, read it here.
- Pluto Press in Trouble Again? & A Critique of Kovel's Book (6/17/08)
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Saturday, September 01, 2007
I'm, therefore, happy to report some small bit of good news on this story. Overcoming Zionism is once again available from UM Press although as of this writing the UM Press link to Kovel's book is still dead. As Joel indicates, this matter is still far from resolved but we might just be seeing a turning of the tide back in favor of intellectual freedom. So, keep spreading the word and make sure to contact Phil Pochoda and Mary Sue Coleman and tell them to stand up for intellectual freedom and against Zionist thought control (contact info on earlier blog post here).
Greetings from Joel Kovel.
I appreciate the solidarity, and welcome your help in the struggle against the Zionist Thought Police and liberal collusion therein.
But there has been an important development in this case, which you need to know about. As a result of influences unknown, UMP has somehow "uncaved". It's utterly unclear what is going on, and all the danger signs are there to be taken seriously, but at the moment, Director Pochoda has recanted and OZ is back on their list. To repeat: we are not breathing any sighs of relief, as the operative hierarchy here, from UM Press, to the mid-level UMich figures, to the top officials, to the trustees, and to the Governor of Michigan, with all the shadowy forces around them, not least the Zionist apparatus, are keeping everything very close to the vest. In a word, we know nothing, really, about how this is going to turn out. We intend to organize and fight against these forces, but first they have to reveal themselves.
I would appreciate it if you could foreground this in the blog. Pluto, in particular, is very edgy about the situation, as their survival is at stake.