Statement By Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE)
SAFE applauds the University of Michigan Press for deciding to maintain its arrangement with Pluto Press.
Had Pro-Israel pressuring convinced UM Press to drop the contract, critical academic
debate -- which is needed now more than ever -- would have suffered.
UM Press stuck by the best principles of academic freedom, which is increasingly
difficult to uphold in this political climate. An ex-President, leading Political
Science scholars, and even anti-Apartheid legend and Nobel Peace Prize Winner are being attacked for taking positions critical of Israel. All of them -- Jimmy Carter, Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, and Desmond Tutu -- face smear campaigns and concerted efforts to cancel their speaking engagements, some of which have been canceled.
For too long, recognizing Palestinian suffering and questioning Israel's foundational discrimination were falsely characterized as "hate speech" or, mysteriously, racist against Jews.
The decision by UM Press is an important one given this context. It bolsters the
principle of open debate against those who oppose it, and seek to present Israel, the number one recipient of American aid, as a state beyond critique.