You are browsing the archive for The Battle for Justice in Palestine.

Talk by Ali Abunimah, FDL Book Salon Author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, Cancelled by Evanston Public Library – Updated X 2

10:46 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Ali Abunimah, Journalist

Author Ali Abunimah, who we hosted at a Firedoglake Book Salon on May 18th, has been rudely cancelled from giving an August 11th public talk on the book we featured, The Battle for Justice in Palestine, by the Evanston (Illinois) Public Library:

Evanston Public Library in the north shore suburbs of Chicago has canceled a talk I was scheduled to give on 11 August about my book The Battle for Justice in Palestine.

I consider this to be a politically motivated and blatant act of censorship.

It fundamentally contravenes the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights which states, among other things, that libraries “should challenge censorship” and “should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.”

I learned about the cancelation like everyone else, from a Tweet from the library’s account that my talk would be “rescheduled,” and from the fact that the event has been removed from its calendar.

I have written the following letter to the library’s Director:

Director Karen Danczak Lyons,

I was informed this morning that you have decided to cancel the upcoming book event featuring Ali Abunimah, who was to talk about his recent work, The Battle for Justice in Palestine.  In a Saturday tweet from Evanston Public Library’s Twitter account, it was announced that “We will reschedule Ali Abunimah’s talk. With this complex issue, we now plan to schedule more speakers on other dates too.” Apparently, the author found out about this cancellation through social media, rather than by a courtesy call from you or your staff.

On May 28th, I hosted Mr. Abunimah at Firedoglake’s weekly Book Salon.  The book salon’s editor understood that the book raises “complicated” questions, yet saw no need to cancel the author’s appearance or to “schedule more speakers” for some reason or another, to balance or offset what Mr. Abunimah has written about, or might have written in his salon comments.

Mr. Abunimah is a compelling writer, journalist and commentator.  I hope you are aware that in his many appearances over the past few months to speak or write about his book, no credible person has raised a single issue claiming Mr. Abunimah’s book is questionable in terms of accuracy, veracity or content.

To have cancelled this important voice on such a timely issue appears to me – and to a host of others – as blatant, perhaps even craven censorship.  The method of letting the word out on this cancellation through social media before ensuring the author had been informed should be held up as a sterling example of unprofessional behavior on your part, or on that of your staff.

Sincerely,

Philip Munger

Should you want to support Ali Abunimah, the Library Director’s work email address is director@epl.org.

Update – Monday morning:  Ali Abunimah updated his EI blog post to reflect that Lesley Williams, the library’s director of adult services has emailed him Friday, to notify him of the cancellation:

On Friday, I received an email from Lesley Williams, director of Adult Services at the library:

Dear Mr. Abunimah,

I am very sorry to have to write to you today. A few weeks ago, when I was talking to the Evanston Library administrative team about your appearance here, I told my director that I was looking for a pro Israeli speaker for sometime in the fall. She told me she would be more comfortable if we had that nailed down before your reading.

Today she told me that since I have not yet confirmed a pro Israel speaker she want[s] us to cancel your appearance on the 11th. This was of course an enormous shock. I am hoping she will allow us to still have the program, but sponsored by Neighbors for Peace and not as a library sponsored event, but merely a room rental.

Williams said that members of Neighbors for Peace were discussing that option, and added:

Please accept my abject apologies. I had no idea the program would be cancelled if I didn’t confirm an Israeli speaker before the 11th. I explained to her [the director] that re-scheduling a high profile writer and speaker like yourself will not be easy, but she is firm on the notion of “balance.”

I will keep you informed of what gets decided. Let’s hope for the best.

As noted, I learned from the library’s Twitter feed today that the event has now been canceled.

I called Ms. Williams this morning, noting that I had hosted the author here at one of our book salons in May, and that we felt no need to provide a so-called “pro-Israel” viewpoint to counter what the author has to say about his book or other events.

Update Two – Monday Evening, Cougar Mountain, Washington:

Late this afternoon, Evanston Library director Karen Danczak Lyons reported that she’d just spoken with Ali Abunimah by phone and that “we’re back on track.” The program has been rescheduled for the same date, August 11, at 7:00 PM in the large community room of the main library.

Danczak Lyons said she anticipates that demand may exceed capacity, and that tickets for the free event will be available at the library in advance; information about how to get them will be posted at the library website. She has also arranged for the program to be filmed, and Abunimah’s book will be available for purchase.

“This will be the first of a series of discussions that we’ll have in the coming months, which was always my intent, because this is an important topic,” she said. None of those programs have been scheduled yet.

Firedoglake Book Salon Preview: The Battle for Justice in Palestine by Ali Abunimah

10:13 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Author Ali Abunimah

Please join us Sunday for Ali Abunimah’s The Battle for Justice in Palestine. I’ll be hosting. Of the FDL book salons on the subject of Palestine-Israel that I have hosted, I’m looking forward to this one the most. Ali has been in this battle for a long time. We will get to witness him explain the book’s bold opening sentence, “The Palestinians are winning.” And much more.

I.  2014 is a year seeing rapid changes in how the world views and reacts to relations between Israel and Israelis, and their co-inhabitants, in the so-called “Land Between the River and the Sea.” Terms used to describe Israeli policies and laws, words such as “racist” or “apartheid,” for instance, are quickly gaining more currency, more acceptance. Pushback against use of such terms by ardent Zionists seems to get less traction in the public at large by the day.

The main reason this is the case is simply grounded in abundant examples of racist and apartheid incidents, rules, policies and actions perpetrated daily in that land. The very recent assignment of blame on the breakdown of the Peace Process™ talks supervised by the U.S. State Department, between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Foreign Office on the Israelis, by Secretary of State John Kerry, lead negotiator Martin Indyk and others is unprecedented.

Every week more organizations become leery of dealing with Israel as if everything is normal there. Pension funds divest. Professional associations pass resolutions to cut ties with their Israeli counterparts. Churches pass resolutions of condemnation or divestment, even an unblushing published study guide labeling Zionism as “false theology.” College student government bodies debate the utility of the Global BDS Movement, and vote to participate in it – or not. The list of professional associations of college faculty boycotting Israeli institutions grows monthly. This trend will only accelerate, as Israel is plummeting over the edge, no longer able to hide the true nature of the country’s vision of Jewish supremacy at the expense of non-Jews. Just this Thursday, Israeli Economic Minister Naftali Bennett proposed, once again, to Prime Minister Netanyahu, to annex Area C, 74% of the West Bank:

Bennett has presented his plan in recent weeks to foreign diplomats stationed in the country. The proposal includes removing IDF roadblocks in the territory left under Palestinian control, Areas A and B, as well as investing in infrastructure there and pursuing massive economic development.

Annexing Area C, Bennett has said, will secure Israel’s vital interests by creating a buffer zone for Gush Dan and Jerusalem. It will also preserve Israel’s “vital” national heritage sites.

According to sources close to the Bayit Yehudi leader, he will push forward with the plan regardless of whether Hamas and Fatah implement their unity agreement, and regardless whether Israeli-Palestinian talks start anew. Bennett, according to sources close to him, believes those talks will ultimately fail.

Europe and the United Nations – which have indicated they view Area C as vital for the viability of a future Palestinian state – have in the last few years increasingly focused on shoring up Palestinian development there, including with financial assistance.

This annexation would result in the remainders of Palestine being something that looks like nothing in the world more than the former Bantustans of South Africa: Read the rest of this entry →