Connect with us


Zionist Jewish Authors Are Being Blackballed; Freedom of Expression Is Under Attack

The Israeli flag at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Photo: Hynek Moravec via Wikimedia Commons.

My life and career would be a lot easier if I just announced that #AsAJew, I denounce Zionism, and that I have a manuscript telling the story of how I cannot support the apartheid, settler-colonial, white European project in “Palestine.” Phone calls would be returned, emails would be read, and literary agents would compete in bidding wars to see who could give me the biggest advance.

Unfortunately, for my writing career and reputation, I don’t believe any of these things. And, frankly, I’d have to be a major Jewish household name like Naomi Klein for that fantasy to come true. Speaking of Naomi Klein, I recently read her book Doppelganger, in which she complains about being constantly confused with conspiracy theorist Naomi Wolf. Great book, until I reached the end, which was unreadable because of her belief that Israel mirrors European “settler colonialism.” Recently, Naomi Klein was prominently featured in a letter where renowned authors declared their withdrawal from the PEN World Voices Festival, citing the organization’s failure to adequately address what they termed as the ongoing “genocide” in Gaza.

That word. Genocide. It’s a word that is carefully chosen to troll Jews. Its purpose is to rob us of our claim to a specific kind of grief and to say, “See? You Jews are no better.” It is how the world absolves itself of guilt and complicity. It’s called Holocaust inversion, and is a form of antisemitism.

Writers, of all people, should know that words have meanings, but when it comes to Israel, they usually turn off their brains and begin sloganeering. The harder thing for them to do would be to look at the real history of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Writers have a critical role to play in public discourse, but when they refuse to look at all claims with a critical eye, they’ve abdicated their responsibilities.

All this would be a somewhat dull academic game over definitions if it weren’t for the fact that anti-Zionist Jewish authors are the only ones being platformed by the general media. Not only that, but Zionist Jews are being de-platformed in literary spaces.

I’m currently working on a book called From Outrage to Action: A Practical Guide to Fighting Antisemitism. What began as a small section of my book is turning into a lengthy chapter. In fact, I could probably write an entire book about this subject alone. Many of the authors I interviewed for my book spoke to me on the condition of anonymity because they’re worried about their careers. It’s too late for me. Just Google me, and you can tell just how Zionist I am.

Even Jews who are not Israeli and don’t write about the Middle East are having doors slammed in their faces. Word in the industry is that editors, agents, and publishers just don’t want to hear from Jews now. There’s a great deal of fear among Jewish authors. They are losing contracts, calls are not being returned, and books are canceled because of a perception in the industry that there’s not really a market for Jewish voices, except those of the #AsAJew anti-Zionist variety. In addition, they are being harassed and bullied at literary events.

Stranger Things star Brett Gelman had numerous book signings cancelled because of his “Jewish identity,” and his support for Israel. Meanwhile, pro-Palestinian authors are frequently platformed, and championed as “diverse” voices.

One author told me how her agent expressed hesitation about one of her book ideas, which focused on a Jewish woman. Several publishers rejected or delayed considering her work after she submitted proposals, with some editors citing issues like “too much anti-Zionism” or a “saturated market” for books about certain Jewish topics.

Another author told of a friend who enthusiastically recommended her Jewish-themed book to an acquaintance working at a major Canadian cultural institution. The suggestion was to feature her book prominently within their programming. However, the response was shockingly dismissive: “We don’t want any Jews right now,” not referring to Israelis, but Jews in general.

Despite these challenges, Jewish authors are finding ways to respond. Many are more determined to write about Jewish issues, and efforts are underway to counter the anti-Zionist narrative through online petitions and public letters. An Open Letter on Antisemitism in the Literary Community is still open for signatures and seeks to address these issues head-on. I signed it proudly. Again, likely to the detriment of my career.

The Jewish Book Council (JBC) has been trying to get a handle on the extent of the problem. They’ve set up a hotline to understand the scope of issues that Jewish authors face, and are actively working to create practical resources. Naomi Firestone-Teeter, CEO of the JBC, stated, “We want to know, is it happening on a larger scale? Are these isolated incidents or a wider problem?” She is not sure what will be done with the data and stories being collected, though. My sense is that Jewish authors have been caught off-guard.

None of this is to say that Jewish authors, stories, and voices should receive preferential treatment in the marketplace of ideas. Publishing is a tough business, regardless of current events. The issue, however, is the hostility toward Zionist perspectives and general Jewish narratives. If you don’t endorse the narrative of “genocide,” you are quickly labeled a racist oppressor.

Most of the Jews I’ve interviewed, like myself, are left-wing but feel betrayed by the left for supporting what they see as murderers and fascists. They are frustrated not only because this view is wrong, but because it silences those whose lived experiences lead them to different conclusions. Antisemitism is so entrenched in the culture now that there is a tendency to lecture us about what antisemitism is — and isn’t. They assert repeatedly that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism, shouting over our lived experiences that suggest otherwise. And at the forefront of these “lectures” is the literary community, which is failing horribly to meet this moment in history and write about it with a critical eye. In fact, they are the bullies leading the charge.

What is the answer? Well, all I know how to do is write. I have a novel coming out next year called Found and Lost: The Jake and Cait Story. It’s about music, fame, aging, and second chances. Although one of the protagonists is Jewish, it’s not really about Judaism. This character is, to steal from Naomi Klein, sort of my doppelganger. He experiences his music as filtered through his perspective #AsAJew. I was fortunate to have found a publisher, Vine Leaves Press, that amplifies the voices of marginalized communities and counts Jews among them. See, publishers and agents? It isn’t hard to do. We all deserve to have our voices heard.

Howard Lovy is an author and editor based in Michigan, who is currently working on a book, From Outrage to Action: A Practical Guide to Fighting Antisemitism. His novel, Found and Lost: The Jake and Cait Story, will be released in 2025.

The post Zionist Jewish Authors Are Being Blackballed; Freedom of Expression Is Under Attack first appeared on

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Iran’s ‘Supreme Leader’ Welcomes Anti-Israel Campus Protesters to ‘Resistance Front’

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a televised speech in Tehran, Iran. Photo: Official Khamenei Website/Handout via REUTERS

Iran’s so-called “supreme leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, applauded the anti-Israel protesters who have thrown university campuses across the US into chaos over the past several weeks, declaring them part of a new “branch of the Resistance Front” against the Jewish state.

“Dear university students in the United States of America, this message is an expression of our empathy and solidarity with you,” Khamenei wrote in an open letter published on Thursday. “As the page of history is turning, you are standing on the right side of it.”

Rehashing antisemitic conspiracies of Jewish control, he derided “the global Zionist elite” for speaking against the campus demonstrations.

“The global Zionist elite — who owns most US and European media corporations or influences them through funding and bribery — has labeled this courageous, humane resistance movement as ‘terrorism,’” Khamenei wrote. “You have now formed a branch of the Resistance Front and have begun an honorable struggle in the face of your government’s ruthless pressure — a government which openly supports the usurper and brutal Zionist regime.”

Khamenei also praised students in other countries who have launched anti-Israel demonstrations on campuses, noting the leading role that faculty have played in fostering and supporting the unrest.

“Besides you students from dozens of American universities, there have also been uprisings in others countries among academics and the general public,” he wrote. “The support and solidarity of your professors is a significant and consequential development. This can offer some measure of comfort in the face of your government’s police brutality and the pressures it is exerting on you. I too am among those who empathize with you young people, and value your perseverance.”

Khamenei’s letter came amid an outpouring of praise for the anti-Zionist students by Islamist terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda.

“While we support the assassination of the infidel Zionists and the beheading of them, we also appreciate and value the movement of Western demonstrators and sit-in students from Western universities, who through their sit-ins and protests expressed their rejection of the genocide taking place in Gaza,” al-Qaeda leadership wrote in a recent communique

Hamas and Hezbollah, both backed by Iran, have also cheered the protests.

“Today’s students are the leaders of the future, and their suppression today means an expensive electoral bill that the Biden administration will pay sooner or later,” Hamas official Izzat Al-Risheq said in a statement last month.

Naim Qassem, the deputy head of Hezbollah, also praised the protesters during an interview with Al-Manar TV earlier this month.

“We appreciate and value this very much. Perhaps in the future, there will be cooperation among the youth of the world — in America, France, Britain, Germany, and all the activists,” he said. “The [campus protests] are important, especially because they will have an impact on US elections. They will have an impact on the American position.”

Earlier this month, when some universities suspended students who had occupied sections of campus and refused to leave unless school officials agreed to condemn and boycott Israel, the Iran-backed Houthi militia, a terrorist organization that has repeatedly violated freedom of the seas by attacking international shipping vessels passing through the Red Sea, offered to admit the disciplined students as transfers to Sanaa University, an institution it administers.

Some anti-Zionist student groups have reciprocated the admiration.

Last week, Columbia University’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) endorsed Hamas, the latest sign of its growing extremism and willingness to embrace Islamic extremism and antisemitism.

“The Palestinian resistance is the only force materially fighting back against isr*el [sic],” the group said in a series of posts shared by Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus, a social media account which exposes antisemitism on college campuses. “There is no way to eliminate the resistance without ending the occupation. When you see a video of a young palestinian [sic] boy traumatized in a hospital talking about how iof [the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF] shot his pregnant mother in cold blood in front of his own eyes, do not question how he chooses to resist years later.”

Campus Reform, a higher education watchdog which first reported Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus’ posts, noted that Columbia SJP has added an “inverted red triangle” to its social media biography, further indicating its support for Hamas. The Palestinian terrorist group has used an inverted red triangle in its propaganda videos to indicate an Israeli target about to be attacked, and anti-Israel protesters on university campuses have been using the symbol in their demonstrations.

Columbia SJP, a group that has re-formed under multiple names since being suspended by school administrators during the fall semester, was central in staging a slew of riotous demonstrations in which anti-Zionist activists verbally assaulted Jewish students with antisemitic epithets, clamorously expressed support for terrorism and Hamas, and caused thousands of dollars in damages to school property.

The anti-Zionist student movement’s support for terrorism and anti-American ideologies has been expressed before.

Footage of the protests which erupted on college campuses at the end of spring semester showed demonstrators chanting in support of Hamas and calling for the destruction of Israel. In many cases, they lambasted the US and Western civilization more broadly.

“Yes, we’re all Hamas, pig!” one protester was filmed screaming during the fracas at Columbia University, which saw some verbal skirmishes between pro-Zionist and anti-Zionist partisans. “Long live Hamas!” said others who filmed themselves dancing and praising the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization. “Kill another solider!”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post Iran’s ‘Supreme Leader’ Welcomes Anti-Israel Campus Protesters to ‘Resistance Front’ first appeared on

Continue Reading


Advocacy Group Attempts to Shore Up Support for Israel Among US Democrats

US President Joe Biden addresses rising levels of antisemitism, during a speech at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Annual Days of Remembrance ceremony, at the US Capitol building in Washington, DC, US, May 7, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

A pro-Israel advocacy group is attempting to quell fears among US Democratic politicians that expressing support for the Jewish state amid the ongoing war in Gaza will lead to electoral defeat in November. 

Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI), a group that advocates for pro-Israel policies within the Democratic Party, circulated a memo this week explaining that the war in Gaza is simply not a top priority for most of the electorate. The memo, first acquired by Axios news website, asserts that “it just isn’t true” that Democratic support for Israel will come at an electoral cost. 

The group argues that a series of misleading polls has caused Democratic elected officials to become more tepid in their support for the Jewish state. 

To bolster its claims, DMFI points to a poll conducted by the New York Times in May which revealed that only 2 percent of voters cite Israel, Palestinians, Hamas, or Gaza as their most important issue. Nonetheless, the Times tried to exaggerate the extent to which voters care about the Israel-Hamas war by highlighting the 5 percent of voters who cite foreign policy as their biggest issue, according to DMFI. However, these 5 percent of voters did not identify if the war in Gaza is their major foreign policy concern.

The group also points out a Harvard-Harris poll from April which showed that Americans overwhelmingly side with Israel in its ongoing war effort. Eighty percent of Americans support Israel and only 20 percent back Hamas, the poll revealed.

DMFI also suggests that Israel’s ongoing military offensive against Hamas has not had a noticeable impact on President Joe Biden’s national standing. According to polling data aggregated by FiveThirtyEight, the president’s approval rating on Oct. 7of last year stood at 39.6 percent, and on April 23 last month, his approval stood at 40 percent. The same poll reveals that presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s lead over Joe Biden did not grow over the same time period. 

DMFI president Mark Mellman told Axios that anti-Israel activists represent a small fringe of the American electorate. 

“People sometimes mistake volume for percentage, and the fact that some people are very loud doesn’t make them the majority. … It doesn’t even make them a substantial minority,” Mellman said.

The group’s efforts to reach out to Democrats come on the heels of a high-pressure effort by left-wing groups to force the Democratic establishment to stop supporting Israel. Anti-Israel organizations have organized efforts to encourage voters in Democratic primaries to vote “uncommitted” in lieu of voting for Biden. Moreover, nearly every appearance by Biden in recent months has been marked by the presence of scores of angry anti-Israel protesters

The relationship between Democratic politicians and the Jewish state has significantly soured in the months following Hamas’ Oct. 7 slaughter of over 1,200 people in southern Israel. High-profile Democrats such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) have suggested that Israel is committing “genocide” against Palestinian civilians.

Meanwhile, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (CA) signed onto a letter urging Biden to pause weapons shipments to Israel. Biden vowed to stop arms deliveries to Israel if the Israeli army attempts to dismantle the remaining Hamas battalions within the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, expressing concern about the prospect of civilian casualties during such an offensive.

The post Advocacy Group Attempts to Shore Up Support for Israel Among US Democrats first appeared on

Continue Reading


Hate crimes in Toronto are predominantly antisemitic—and the numbers continue to rise: TPS security and intelligence commander

Antisemitic hate crimes continue to account for more than any other category of reported hate crimes in Toronto, according to the head of Toronto police intelligence. Superintendent Katherine Stephenson of Toronto Police Service (TPS) confirmed the ongoing spike in hate occurrences during a presentation at Holy Blossom Temple on May 29, where she addressed 350 […]

The post Hate crimes in Toronto are predominantly antisemitic—and the numbers continue to rise: TPS security and intelligence commander appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2017 - 2023 Jewish Post & News