AFTER THE TERROR -- UNRUEFUL POSTSCRIPT
by Ted Honderich
This is the English version of the postscript to the second German translation of the book, translated by Thomas Fehige. It was published by Melzer Verlag, after the first edition was not reprinted by Suhrkamp Verlag.
This book comes to you with a history, about which you may be owed a word or two.
The history does not have to do with what the book is principally about, but something else, in particular the paragraph in which the moral right of the Palestinians to their resistance against the Israeli state is first asserted.
When this book was first published in September 2002, this paragraph and the following one got attention from neo-Zionists in Canada and America. I do not mean simply Zionists, of course, people who supported and support the founding of the state of Israel, of whom I am one. Rather, I mean those, not all of whom are Jews, who overtly or more likely covertly support Israel's taking of Palestinian land beyond Israel's pre-1967 borders, support what has been done to and is being done to another people in their homeland.
A Toronto newspaper, The Globe and Mail, with a neo-Zionist editor, learned that it had been arranged with Oxfam -- or rather Oxfam GB, the British wing of the international charity -- to have as a donation the £5,000 in royalties from the book. The Globe and Mail threatened the charity. It would write a story saying Oxfam was taking money from a terrorist-sympathizer unless it refused the money.
The deputy director of Oxfam GB gave in to the threat and declined the donation, thereby dishonouring the charity. His action earned implicit or explicit censure in The Guardian, The Independent, and other British newspapers. No newspaper supported or excused the action.
Does the Oxfam episode weaken my confidence in what you have been reading? Not on your life, not by a syllable.
In August 2003, Micha Brumlik, the director of a centre for Holocaust studies in Germany and a professor of science-education, wrote an open letter to the publisher of the German translation of this book, by way of the newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau. The letter condemned the book as anti-Semitic. It called on the publisher of the translation, Suhrkamp Verlag, to withdraw the book from the market.
A day later Germany's distinguished philosopher, Prof. Dr. Jurgen Habermas, published an article in the newspaper. He was as embarrassed as any German to find an imputation of anti-Semitism in his neighbourhood. But he said that he personally had recommended publication of the book to the publisher, and that he had read it again the night before, and that he found in it no anti-Semitism.
The following day, despite this judgement, the publisher announced that it was somehow acceding to the demand by Brumlik that the book be withdrawn from the market. This turned out to be the unpainful decision not to reprint the German translation of the book, which perhaps was sold out.
Does this charge of anti-Semitism weaken my confidence in what you have been reading? Not on your life, not by a syllable.
The English editions and the first German translation got a fact wrong about where immigrants from Russia to Israel and Palestine actually ended up living. The German translation you are reading may still be wrong in some other incidental fact or opinion. But nothing in it will be put in doubt by a certain thing.
That thing is dirty morality in support of dirty politics, the politics of neo-Zionism. The condemnation of the book has not actually been about the killing of innocents or any such moral issue. It has been about the taking of more of the homeland and the very existence of another people.
This book in its new translation comes to you from Melzer Verlag, as a result of the principle and resolution of Mr. Abraham Melzer. He stands far above our accusers and detractors, as an honourable Jew, an honourable Israeli, and an honourable German.
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