The Guardian on authors silenced for speaking out against Israel
Posted by uscsjp on October 11, 2006
Jewish deportees in the Drancy transit camp, France, their last stop before the German concentration camps. Photograph: EPA
The British-based author and former publisher Carmen Callil has become embroiled in a growing dispute over the limits of freedom of speech in America after a party celebrating her new book on Vichy France was cancelled because of the opinion she expresses about the modern state of Israel.A party in honour of Bad Faith, Callil’s account of Louis Darquier, the Vichy official who arranged the deportation of thousands of Jews, was to have taken place at the French embassy in New York last night but was cancelled after the embassy became aware of a paragraph in the postscript of the book. In the postscript Callil says she grew anxious while researching the “helpless terror of the Jews of France” to see “what the Jews of Israel were passing on to the Palestinian people. Like the rest of humanity, the Jews of Israel ‘forget’ the Palestinians. Everyone forgets.” . . .
A British-born academic based at New York University has had two speaking engagements called off after criticism of his views. Tony Judt, an American Jew who was brought up in Britain, was due to speak on the subject of the influence of the pro-Israeli lobby on US foreign policy and at a separate location under the title War and Genocide in European Memory Today. The first lecture was cancelled by the Polish consulate in New York, which owned the venue, while Mr Judt pulled out of the second after he was asked by the organisers to refrain from direct references to Israel. In both cases pro-Israeli organisations and individuals had raised objections to Mr Judt’s views on Israel. . .
Mr Judt said his views had been misrepresented. “The only thing I have ever said is that Israel as it is currently constituted, as a Jewish state with different rights for different groups, is an anachronism in the modern age of democracies.” (continued)