[Marxism] Howard Zinn for the Committee for an Open Discussion of Zionism
MLause at cinci.rr.com
Sun Oct 28 15:24:54 MDT 2007
PLEASE FORWARD TO YOUR MAILING LISTS
A Message from Howard Zinn on behalf of the Committee for an Open Discussion
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
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 quickly.
Thank you for your kind support.
Sincerely, Howard Zinn For the Committee for an Open Discussion of Zionism
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.
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