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UC must publish Beyond Chutzpah

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    University of California professor says UC press must publish Beyond Chutzpah. http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/ June 29, 2005 Dear Friends, I want to alert
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 5, 2005
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      University of California professor says UC press must publish Beyond
      Chutzpah.

      http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/

      June 29, 2005

      Dear Friends,

      I want to alert you to a disturbing development on the academic
      freedom front: It is possible that the University of California Press
      might not, after all, publish the long-awaited book by Norman
      Finkelstein, Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the
      Abuse of History. The reason is that UCPress, under pressure from
      outside political forces as well pressure from inside the UC
      administration, has asked Norman Finkelstein to make further changes
      despite and in violation of an earlier commitment to publish the final
      galleys without any further changes.

      This commitment came after a very long and tortuous editing process
      during which Norman has bent over backwards in accommodating queries
      by editors, reviewers, and several (nine is the figure I heard) libel
      lawyers that UCPress consulted. As the article below by Jon Wiener
      that appears in the current issue of the Nation magazine shows, the
      book has received excellent reviews by eminent scholars and has been
      cleared by several lawyers. The new demands seem to be the result not
      of scholarly concerns, but of intensive lobbying by Alan Dershowitz,
      the Harvard professor and author of the book, The Case for Israel,
      which Norman tears apart by showing that every substantive claim the
      book makes is false. Norman also makes a strong case that Dershowitz
      is a plagiarist.

      My understanding is that the core of the new demands by UCPress is the
      deletion of any references to plagiarism on the part of Alan
      Dershowitz, primarily in order to avoid being sued. That is a
      dangerous abdication of the right of academic freedom and the
      consequences go well beyond Norman Finkelstein and his book. If the
      heavy handed tactics succeed in muzzling UCPress and Norman
      Finkelstein, university presses in general will become very wary of
      publishing any book critical of Israeli policies or of the apologists
      for these policies, of which Dershowitz is a prime example. The
      capitulation of the President and Provost of Columbia University when
      it comes to what ME professors can teach now may have its publication
      equivalent.

      There is no doubt in my mind that Norman's book would have been
      published by now if the normal procedures of peer review were
      followed. The folks at UCPress, if left alone to do their work freely
      would have seen this book through. But peer review procedures and
      academic freedom do not always apply when it comes to critical
      academic works about Israel. What we have before us here is a naked
      in-your-face attempt to exercise political muscle in support of
      bankrupt intellectual arguments.

      The article by Jon Wiener below was written before these new
      developments, hence the assumption that book will be published in its
      current form. I should also note that despite claims to the contrary,
      the letters sent by Dershowitz and his lawyers unequivocally aim at
      suppressing the publication of the book.

      It is ironic that when Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of
      California, was asked to intervene on behalf of Dershowitz and prevent
      the publication of this book, his office replied that it cannot do so,
      for this is a clear case of academic freedom. I think it is very
      important that UCPress and UC administration and its lawyers be
      reminded that this core principle is at stake and they should not
      allow outside pressures to dictate the political boundaries of what
      can or cannot be published.

      Beshara

      ****

      Below is a link to yet another article on Norman's book. This one is
      by Scott Jaschik, "First Amendment Furor," and is available at the
      following link:

      http://insidehighered.com

      It includes a wonderful quote from Lynne Withey, editor of UCPress,
      contradicting Dershowitz's claim that has not tried to suppress the
      publication of the book and rejecting

      Dershowitz's charge that it is anti-Semitic:

      "But Lynne Withey, director of the University of California Press,
      said in an interview Friday that Dershowitz had tried to stop
      publication of the book. "He doesn't want the book published," Withey
      said, adding that it was "outrageous" for Dershowitz to charge the
      book with being anti-Semitic. "To say that the book is anti-Semitic is
      to say that any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic," she said."

      As I mentioned in my last email, the folks at UC Press, if left to
      their own devices, would have seen this book through. They have been
      sitting on a very hot seat ever since they "dared" to publish Norman
      Finkelstein's book and few would trade places with them. The threat of
      lawsuits is real and the financial consequences can be severe. At the
      same time, the threat to academic freedom is also very real, as is the
      chilling effect of scare tactics on honest and reasoned discussions of
      Middle East issues in this country. It is vitally important for the UC
      administration and UC Press to muster the political will and allocate
      the resources to defend the principle of academic freedom and fulfill
      their already agreed on agreement with Norman Finkelstein. If they do,
      I expect that they will receive strong support from the academic
      community and from the informed public.

      Beshara

      *********************************************************************

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