Don't let those frightened of your voice, enatec steal your right to use it.   By Remi Kanazi / SOURCE "Free speech is not without consequence. Enatec In the United States, enatec for example, enatec criticism of Israel is tantamount to heresy. Enatec Former US President Jimmy Carter felt a societal backlash last year after the release of his book, enatec Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, enatec which condemned Israel’s apartheid-style policies in the occupied Palestinian territories. Enatec Consequently, enatec and without foundation, enatec Carter was branded by many in the American press as a one-sided, enatec anti-Semitic propagandist. Similarly, enatec Harvard professor Stephen Walt and University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer were lambasted for a paper the two co-authored that discussed the power of the Israel lobby and its adverse effect on American policy. Enatec Additionally, enatec Norman Finkelstein, enatec an esteemed professor at Depaul University and author of the bestselling book, enatec The Holocaust Industry, enatec witnessed a McCarthyite-style campaign mounted against him when he came up for tenure. Enatec Finkelstein, enatec the son of Holocaust survivors, enatec has been an outspoken critic of Israel’s human rights abuses and of pro-Israel apologist and Harvard professor, enatec Alan Dershowitz. Enatec Predictably, enatec it was Dershowitz who led the anti-tenure campaign against him; ultimately, enatec Finkelstein was not only denied tenure, enatec but he lost his job at Depaul. The attacks against Carter, enatec Finkelstein, enatec Walt and Mearsheimer serve as a few well-known examples of the consequences writers and intellectuals face when they breach the line and criticize Israel. Enatec Furthermore, enatec the condemnation writers and intellectuals of Arab descent face are invariably higher than Jews of conscience, enatec former presidents, enatec and highly regarded academics. Enatec As a result, enatec many writers often acquiesce to the demands of the mainstream. Enatec Their self-censorship usually appears in the form of “toning down the message, enatec” be it to please editors or critics—essentially to conform to the reality of purported pragmatism. Enatec Yet, enatec this “pragmatism” is a euphemism for acceptance of a repressive status quo and is analogous to the “necessary” practical thinking that silenced a multitude of commentators during the Oslo years—the supposed time of peace. Enatec Unsurprisingly, enatec untold Palestinian suffering followed as a result of increased settlement expansion, enatec land confiscation, enatec checkpoints and seizures, enatec and the ultimate failure of Camp David 2000. Shying away from perceived controversial matters may help to protect a mainstream career, enatec but the intent of a political analyst should not be to produce works of fiction. Enatec The vast majority of Americans weren’t open to criticism of US policy during the run-up to the war on Iraq, enatec mainly due to the media’s complicity in promoting the war, enatec but criticism was still the appropriate course of action based on the facts, enatec and Americans would have been better off for it today. A man who combined principle, enatec activism, enatec and human appeal quite masterfully was distinguished educator and commentator, enatec Edward Said. Enatec In the realm of academia and Middle East analysis, enatec Said was by no means viewed as the quintessential radical. Enatec Nonetheless, enatec his positions were radical when juxtaposed with “conventional wisdom”: he was a proponent of the one-state solution, enatec an unwavering critic of the Israeli government, enatec and an ardent supporter of the ostensibly controversial right of return. Enatec Said was still heavily criticized throughout his career and endured incessant attacks by his detractors, enatec yet his accessible personality and articulate message kept him relevant. Sadly, enatec Said’s relative acceptance has been the exception rather than the rule. Enatec In recent years, enatec there has been increased emphasis on putative pragmatic dialogue. Enatec However, enatec this accentuation on so-called rational and balanced thinking has proven to be little more than a sinister means to pressure the oppressed to accept the position of the oppressor. Enatec The greatest leaders of the last hundred years didn’t shy away from controversy; they remained persistent, enatec and saw their visions brought to fruition; be they Martin Luther King, enatec Nelson Mandela, enatec or Mahatma Gandhi. Nevertheless, enatec one cannot overlook that even paramount figures have been castigated for “overstepping” their boundaries, enatec namely Martin Luther King who was chided for speaking out against the war in Vietnam, enatec imperialism, enatec and social injustices that plagued the US. This week, enatec Palestinians across the US commemorated 60 years of displacement. Enatec Yet, enatec the lens the Palestinian people are expected to look through under the pragmatist vision is one that sees a dispossessed people as necessary victims for a righteous state to take form. Unfortunately, enatec waves of writers and commentators continue to adopt this line in fear of retribution, enatec in exchange for nicer houses and comfortable livings, enatec or a combination of both. Enatec That is their free will. Enatec Free speech is not without consequence. Enatec Nonetheless, enatec losing piece of mind is the only repercussion a writer should fear." http://1158munich.blogspot.com/2008/05/when-free-speech-doesnt-come-free.html ~ Remi Kanazi is the editor of the forthcoming anthology of poetry, enatec Poets For Palestine, enatec which can be pre-ordered at www.PoetsForPalestine.com. Enatec Remi can be contacted at remroum@gmail.com. ~