Too Hot for Harvard

CounterPunchers are already aware of the attempts by Alan Dershowitz to stop publication of Norman Finkelstein’s book Beyond Chutzpah with threats of a libel suit. When Dershowitz failed, that seemed to be the end of the story, but it wasn’t: The effort to suppress the book continues in new ways. Bookstores normally host events to introduce new books, but at least two bookstores have now rescinded invitations to previously scheduled events for Beyond Chutzpah.

The Barnes and Noble bookstore at DePaul University cited the “controversial” nature of the book. Since controversy helps to sell books, the Barnes and Noble decision is really a euphemism for a cave-in to outside pressure. Pressure exerted by whom? One guess: the same Barnes and Noble bookstore is holding an event for Dershowitz’s new book, The Case for Peace, which boasts of a blurb by General Ariel Sharon himself. There is certainly no controversy here!

The Harvard bookstore also rescinded an invitation to an event for Beyond Chutzpah, stating that it feared “economic retaliation”. This raises the very interesting question of just exactly who is threatening “economic retaliation?” Obviously it can’t be Dershowitz acting alone: an individual professor just doesn’t buy that many books.

Dershowitz is the public spokesman for a larger group, which is making an organized effort to suppress Beyond Chutzpah, using a new form of censorship: making threats to choke off the distribution channels.

John Farley lives in Henderson, Nevada. He can be reached at: johnwfarley@yahoo.com

http://www.counterpunch.org/farley08132005.html