Historian Tony Judt’s talks in NYC cancelled due to ADL pressure

NYU historian Tony Judt is a strong critic of Israel and a proponent, along with Noam Chomsky and the late Edward Said, of a secular, binational state as the solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. The Washington Post has a nice article, dated Oct. 9, about how a couple of his talks in New York City were recently cancelled after the Anti-Defamation League and other pro-Israel groups put pressure on the hosts of the talks (at the Polish Consulate and Manhattan College). The article is well-done and gets into some of the issues surrounding opposition to Israel on the left and among Jews.

8 comments on “Historian Tony Judt’s talks in NYC cancelled due to ADL pressure

  1. You attack the only pluralist democracy in an otherwise authoritarian Middle East; you are a long-time defender of the only totalitarian dictatorship in an otherwise democratic Latin America.

    Duly noted.

  2. We all know you see it in those terms, Jack.

    The US has a different relationship with Israel than it has with other states in the Middle East, which makes its policies “our problem” in a way that the problems of other ME states are not. This is especially true for US Jewry, on whom Israel depends for direct support and for lobbying w/in the US.

    Cuba I support against US efforts to control it. Cuba has a right to self-determination. Because Cuba is not an ally of the US and not dependent on the US it has a certain right to freedom from US judgment. US interest in Cuba has never been exactly principled anyway.

    This is really pretty consistent if you think about it.

  3. I love the ideals of liberal democracy; I criticize the US and Israel for failing to live up to them while claiming their mantle. You have to have noticed that.

    Part of the US failure to live up to the ideals of liberal democracy is military and economic domination of other countries. Self determination is the basic principle in the enlightenment-based foundations of international law. The US has no respect for the self determination of Cuba or any other country whose resources it is interested in. If the US had more respect for the ideals of liberal democracy, we would have normal relations with Cuba.

  4. Furthermore, Cuba is far from the only authoritarian country in Latin American. Our support or opposition to Latin American governments historically has been unrelated to how democratic or authoritarian they are, and directly connected to the friendliness of those governments to US investors. Don’t forget the US involvement in overthrowing the democratically elected Chilean gov’t of Salvador Allende and support for Pinochet’s coup. Pinochet’s government was a military dictatorship, and we supported it. We have supported military dictatorships in Latin America consistently. What America supports, globally, as a rule, is not democracy but friendliness to US investors (often against the interests of local people).

  5. Also, Judt is the kind of public intellectual our culture desperately needs now. His work in the New York Review of Books is excellent and always worth reading. And he is also a first rate historian. His postwar history of Europe (called oddly enough Postwar) is magisterial.

    Here is a link to the article that has brought on the anti-semitic smear jobs:

    Even a cursory reading reveals that Judt is not an anti-semite. He simply calls for an inclusive Israeli state that fully integrates and shares power with the Palestinians.

    Here is a link to a letter to the ADL from a diverse group of intellectuals about the Judt affair.

  6. Thanks Erik. The article whose link you proveided was excellent, on eof the best I’ve seen on the subject for some time. It is a pity that a thoughtful, reasoned argument like Judt’s evinces the kiind of knee-jerk reactions it did, immediately being labelled as “anti-semitic” with no justification whatsoever except its criticism of Israeli policy. The point of the chartge is, of course, to shut down as quickly and forcefully any discussion and further thought the article might raise and to damage Judt’s reputation in a way that makes him an intellectual “untouchable”.

    By the way, the link to the letter to the ADL in defence of Judt did not appear on this blog.

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