Home/Daniel Larison/ADL Nixes Judt’s Israel Lobby Speech, Because, Of Course, There Is No Lobby That Suppresses Dissident Speech

ADL Nixes Judt’s Israel Lobby Speech, Because, Of Course, There Is No Lobby That Suppresses Dissident Speech

Matt Barganier at Antiwar Blog:

Historian Tony Judt, a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and director of the Remarque Institute at NYU, writes,

I was due to speak this evening, in Manhattan, to a group called Network 20/20 comprising young business leaders, NGO, academics, etc, from the US and many countries. Topic: the Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy. The meetings are always held at the Polish Consulate in Manhattan.

I just received a call from the President of Network 20/20. The talk was cancelled because the Polish Consulate had been threatened by the Anti-Defamation League. Serial phone calls from ADL President Abe Foxman warned them off hosting anything involving Tony Judt. If they persisted, he warned, he would smear the charge of Polish collaboration with anti-Israeli anti-Semites (= me) all over the front page of every daily paper in the city (an indirect quote). They caved and Network 20/20 were forced to cancel.

Whatever your views on the Middle East I hope you find this as serious and frightening as I do. This is, or used to be, the United States of America.

The New York Sunconfirms the cancellation, but not without adding its own angle on the story:

The government of Poland, moving to avoid getting embroiled in anti-Israel politics, last night abruptly canceled a scheduled speech by a professor at New York University who has become hostile to the Jewish state [bold mine-DL], just hours before the event was to have taken place at Poland’s consulate here in New York.

The decision to cancel the speech, which was billed as being about “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” is a signal of the quickening entente between free Poland and Israel, a relationship that is all the more remarkable for the fact that among the founders of Israel were Jews fleeing anti-Semitism in Poland. A Polish diplomat told The New York Sun that the speech, by the NYU professor Tony Judt, would have been inappropriate for the Polish consulate.

Of course to say that Tony Judt has become “hostile to the Jewish state” is a joke.  He has become openly critical of pro-Israel influence on U.S. foreign policy, and he has proposed the (admittedly unworkable) idea of a unitary Israeli-Palestinian state.  To the Sun, it is all the same thing: criticism and proposals equal hostility pure and simple.  But thank goodness there is absolutely no pro-Israel lobby to be found, or else those sorts of conflations might become a problem for free and open debate on topics relating to the Near East!

Update: Philip Weiss has a few comments on the cancellation of Judt’s speech.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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