[Marxism] A Message from Howard Zinn.. for an Open Discussion of Zionism

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Oct 6 07:16:46 MDT 2007

From: MSSmith97 at aol.com
Sent: Oct 6, 2007 6:11 AM
Subject: Michael Smith and Howard Zinn ask you to please help....

Dear Friends,

My friend Joel Kovel's just published book Overcoming Zionism may be
suppressed. Indeed, his publisher, Pluto Press, may lose its
distribution contract with the University of Michigan Press. Please
read the details below and write the University of Michigan people
encouraging them to stand up for the free discussion of ideas and not
knuckle under to the Israel lobby. Thank you.

The University is supposed to make its decision on October l9th. I am
sending you the addresses of the four (4) relevant U Mich people.
This is a critical fight since Pluto Press is one of the main
progressive publishers in the world (ie. they publish Chomsky) and if
they lose their distribution arrangement with U Mich it would be
devastating, to them, and to the movement. We can win this one.
Please send Howard Zinn's letter out to your lists as well.
Michael Smith


A Message from Howard Zinn on behalf of the Committee for an Open
Discussion of Zionism

Dear Friend:

As you may have heard, in late August of this year, The University of
Michigan Press, after receiving a series of complaining and
threatening emails and letters from an ultra-Zionist group called
StandWithUs, an offshoot of Campus Watch, withdrew from distribution
Prof. Joel Kovel?s book Overcoming Zionism, published by Pluto Press
in London, United Kingdom. Since then, following numerous protests by
fellow academics and scholars, The U. of M. Press Executive Board has
restored the book to its distribution listings. But, ominously, the
Board has indicated its intention to reconsider its contract with
Pluto Press in mid October.

Overcoming Zionism is a serious, well researched work espousing a
humanistic resolution. It is a valuable addition to the growing
debate, in and out of American academia, that is re-examining long
held assumptions about the sources of conflict in the Middle East. It
should be discussed - supported or refuted ­ but not suppressed.

But even more serious is the University?s threat to cancel its
distribution contract with Pluto Press. Pluto is a valuable and
unique intellectual resource, publishing progressive books of a
consistently high quality. It provides an alternative viewpoint
essential to discussion and debate of important social issues, such
as those concerning Israel/Palestine and the Middle East. The
cancellation of Pluto?s contract with the University would be a
serious blow to the principles of pluralism, academic freedom and
free speech.

We urge you to add your voice to those of the many professors and
authors that have vigorously protested these actions. We ask that you
send a letter or, better yet, an email to U. of M. Press Executive
Board Chair Peggy McCracken with copies to University of Michigan
President Mary Sue Coleman, Dean Janet A Weiss; and Provost Teresa
Sullivan, demanding that the University of Michigan Press continue
its contract with Pluto Press. Further, we ask that you forward this
request for support and suggested support letter to those on any list
that you may maintain or have access to.

We attach a sample letter, below, along with email and postal
addressees, for your convenience. Please send this immediately, or
feel free to compose your own. Time is of the essence so please act

Thank you for your kind support.

Sincerely, Howard Zinn For the Committee for an Open Discussion of
Zionism www.CODZ.org

Please send your letters and emails to:

Professor Peggy McCracken Executive Board Chair University of
Michigan Press University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109
peggymcc at umich.edu

President Susan Coleman University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109
presoff at umich.edu

Janet A. Weiss Dean of the Rackham Graduate School and Vice Provost
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1070 janetw at umich.edu

Teresa A. Sullivan Provost and Executive Vice-President for Academic
Affairs 3074 Fleming Building University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI
48109-1340 tsull at umich.edu


Dear Professor McCracken:

It has come to my attention that The University of Michigan Press has
recently withdrawn its distribution of Prof. Joel Kovel's book,
Overcoming Zionism and has indicated its intention to review, and
perhaps cancel, its distribution contract with the publisher of Prof.
Kovel?s book, Pluto Press. It is my understanding that these steps
were taken immediately following a barrage of complaints from a group
called StandWithUs Michgan, an offshoot of the notorious Campus Watch
censorship organization. I have heard that distribution of Prof.
Kovel?s book has been resumed but that the Pluto Press contract
remains under a cloud.

Pluto is a valuable intellectual resource, publishing critical and
progressive books of consistently high quality. It is a highly
respected alternative academic press. Its discontinuation by the U.of
M. Press would directly inhibit people?s access to non-mainstream
material and would impede critical thought, discussion and debate on
important issues, especially those concerning Israel/Palestine and
the Middle East.

Further, the University?s suspension of its distribution contract
with Pluto Press under these circumstances would constitute a
flagrant violation of the principles of academic freedom and freedom
of speech. I strongly protest against any such move. My high regard
for the University of Michigan would be seriously diminished if such
a suspension took place and it would affect any future relationship I
might have with the University.



Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
writer - photographer - activist

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