Author shunned for Israel criticism
Ed Pilkington, New YorkOctober 12, 2006
AUSTRALIAN author and former publisher Carmen Callil has become embroiled
in a dispute over freedom of speech in America after a party celebrating her new
book was cancelled because of her opinion about the modern state of Israel.
A party in honour of Bad Faith, Callil's account of Vichy official Louis Darquier, who arranged the deportation of thousands of Jews, was to be held at the French embassy in New York this week but was cancelled after the embassy became aware of a paragraph in the book's postscript.
In the postscript, Callil says she grew anxious while researching the "helpless terror
of the Jews of France" to see "what the Jews of Israel were passing on to the
Palestinian people. Like the rest of humanity, the Jews of Israel 'forget' the
Palestinians. Everyone forgets."
The embassy said the passage had been brought to its attention after a
guest declined the invitation because of it.
The row is the latest element in a dispute about restrictions on freedom of speech in the US in relation to comments on Israel.
A New York University academic had two speaking engagements called off
after criticism of his views.
Tony Judt, an American Jew who grew up in Britain, was to speak about the influence of the pro-Israeli lobby on US foreign policy and at a separate location on "war and genocide in European memory today".
The first lecture was cancelled by the Polish consulate in New York, which owns the venue, while Mr Judt pulled out of the second after organisers asked him to refrain from direct references to Israel.
In both cases, pro-Israeli organisations and individuals had raised objections to Mr Judt's views on Israel.
Mr Judt said his views had been misrepresented.
"The only thing I have ever said is that Israel, as it is currently constituted as a Jewish state with different rights for different groups, is an anachronism in the modern age of democracies."
They sure are a powerful group. Just look at what Mel Gibson had to do to regain some credibility after his comments on Jews. Former KISS band member, Gene Simmons (the one with the tongue) made some really nasty comments about Muslims when he visited Australia in 2004, even going so far as to say "Islam was a "vile culture" that treated women worse than dogs."
Incidentally, the KISS concert was the first concert I ever went to at the ripe old age of 15 (am I showing my age now?)