5 thoughts on “Politics and Prose Owner Re-Invites Makdisi – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Had there not been a controversy, I probably would not have gone to hear him. Now, if he does indeed accept the reinvitation, you can be sure i’ll be there, if only to hear what scandalous and heretic opinions the professor holds on to that almost got him banned from a liberal bookstore. So there is a silverlining in this whole episode. Maybe Ms. Cohen manufactured this whole thing in order to do a favor to Makdisi and get him some publicity? Maybe she planned this ban and cancellation of the ban in order to get him a a bigger turnout than he would have gotten without it? Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt… In any case, we’re all in this for the long run, and we need to strive to make coalitions with other people and groups, not create strife and bad feelings. So I wish to thank Carla for having the courage to reconsider her original position, and reinvite Makdisi in the true spirit of freedom of thought and expression.

  2. Just a short linguistic note:

    Carla Cohen to Silverstein: “I want to tell you that the letters from Palestinians were polite and well thought out (unlike your ephitets and name calling).”

    I personally don’t think you went anywhere near overboard. But, then again, you are a lion fighting in a lion’s den, and she is — I must admit I had a good laugh when I read it — “drinking cups of demitasse.”

    And she doesn’t get another obvious fact of life: the things you say to your family members who piss you off are quite different than what you would say to neighbors across the street. Your writing style to her (contrary to how she perceives it) is indicative of intra-familial caring and love. Indeed, when Palestinians start writing and talking like you do, Richard – that’d be a great sign: it will mean they’re becoming family!

  3. in fairness to carla cohen, why don’t you show us your entire email to her so that we might decide for ourselves whether you went over the line richard? you know im completely on your side here and yes she is worse than a wimp, but you quote her and not yurself

  4. Here’s my note:

    Ms. Cohen: Please don’t call yourself enlightened, liberal, an opponent of the Occupation or a supporter of Israeli-Palestinian peace. When courage and fortitude was called for, you displayed neither. You are a frightened wimp.

    I thought by mentioning that I used the word “wimp” that I’d revealed the strongest terms I used in the email. But you can be the judge now.

  5. Here’s the first part of Saree Makdisi’s letter in the Washington Post today, followed by the link to the entire piece:

    Banned in the U.S.A. (Almost)
    Sunday, June 8, 2008; Page B08

    I didn’t think America was a place where bookstores barred people for their viewpoints, until it happened to me, right here in Washington, D.C., the city of my birth.

    I was scheduled to speak at Politics & Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse last month about my latest book, “Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation.” My appearance was canceled when the bookstore owners realized that my book concludes by questioning the viability of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead it proposes a single democratic, secular and multicultural state in which Israelis and Palestinians live peacefully as citizens with equal rights.

    For Makdisi’s complete letter go to:

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