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Joel Kovel, Overcoming Zionism video, and a Message From Howard Zinn

UPDATE: See also Zionist Pressure Fails to Stop Overcoming Zionism Book

Dr. Joel Kovel is an author, editor, activist and former psychotherapist whose new book Overcoming Zionism is a contribution to the growing body of literature advocating a single democratic state in Israel/Palestine. It is also a biting critique of Zionism, and Kovel joins in the call to boycott the Israeli state that it may end its apartheid, as South Africa was pressured.

Following the video clips of Professor Kovel in Canada last month (thanks Ressentiment) is a message from Howard Zinn on behalf of the Committee for an Open Discussion of Zionism (CODZ). Zinn alerts us to the fact that certain ultra-zionist Israel Lobby groups are attempting to intimidate publishers and distributors of the book, and suggests what we can do to help.

Part 1 20-minutes

Part 2 18-minutes

Questions and answers on Zionism 12-minutes

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 have prepared a sample email or letter together with emails and postal addressees of University of Michigan Press committee members below but also feel free to compose your own. Time is of the essence so please act quickly.

Thank you for your kind support.

Howard Zinn
For the Committee for an Open Discussion of Zionism

Click this link to view the sample letter and UM Press committee member details.

4 comments on “Joel Kovel, Overcoming Zionism video, and a Message From Howard Zinn

  1. Servant
    10 October, 2007

    Thanks for posting this. Indeed I was prompted by Howard Zinn’s call via your list-serve to look for Kovel’s work. So I’m not sure Zinn prompted me or if you did. The results are spectacular.

    I found the question and answers segment very rewarding to my visionary sensibilities. Kovel outlines a clear vision of how a single united government would serve everyone with equal protection under the law. Pretty much just like it works everywhere else except that there’s no racism that elevates the rights of one class over others. People pretend that this will cause a big trauma for Jews around the world, but Kovel argues that Israel actually destroys from Jewish identity rather than guarantee it.

    That rings so true. The Jews have accomplished so much in every field of human endeavor. It is a shame that the thing they will be famous for is acting like the regimes who persecuted them. This is a tragedy for all of us. When any of us are diminished, we are all diminished.

    I have to end the homily here or I’ll owe a fee to Monte!

    :) Well put. — Ann

  2. L Daniel Smith
    31 October, 2007

    What relief is this discussion on the issue of Zionism! Words fail. Our language, itself, has been corrupted by our society’s failure – for over half a century – to effectively apply the fundamental ethical (“golden”) rule of “universality” to matters involving Israel.

  3. Tom Murphy
    1 November, 2007

    see video: Zionist Pressure Fails to Stop Overcoming Zionism Book The distributor dropped his book after receiving threatening emails from a Zionist pressure group. But the Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism was able to convince them to continue distributing it.

  4. Dr. Erk Erginer
    13 November, 2007

    DR. Kovel’s talk is honest and factual. His observations are sound and conclusions are logically humanistic
    Thanks to .

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Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

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yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
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