(please sign and forward to
The Parisian publisher Al Qalam (The Quill, in
Arabic) has been taken to court on a complaint by LICRA on a
charge of anti-Semitism, for having published Israel
Shamir’s book L’autre visage d’Israel (The Other
Face of Israel, known in English as Galilee Flowers),
a translation of essays in defence of equality and democracy
for Jews and non-Jews in Palestine/Israel. The court case
will take place at Nanterre Court, near Paris, on September
6th, at 13.30.
The judicial harassment of publishers who have enough
courage to publish authors critical of the State of Israel
has thus attained a new level, following the case against La
Fabrique for having published L’industrie de l’Holocauste
(The Holocaust Industry) by Norman Finkelstein (the
case was won against Avocats sans frontières,
represented by W Golnadel, who has launched an appeal). This
latest charge is based on a list of sentences taken out of
context, in the usual inquisitorial fashion, with the aim of
creating an image of the author as a dangerously extremist
individual. Al Qalam’s catalogue is focussed on the
culture of the Arab-Muslim world. This prosecution is a part
of the process of de-legitimising Arab-Muslim thought, as a
part of the hysteria orchestrated by the US and Israel, for
their expansionist, hegemonic plans.
We are appealing to publishers and readers to demonstrate
their devotion to freedom of thought and expression by
supporting Al Qalam Publishers. Otherwise, the
publishers of Molière, Baudelaire, Céline, or Voltaire may
be next in the line. Unless, in the colonial mood, only the
heirs of colonisation should be prevented from participating
in the influence of francophone culture?
The targeted author, Israel Shamir, is an Israeli writer,
originally from Russia, whose works had been translated into
all the languages of Europe, and who is not the subject of
prosecution, neither in his own country, nor in France.
Those who practice judicial harassment under the pretext of
combating anti-Semitism, hope that the sort of social
corporatism inspired by the Israeli model will gain ground
in France, unravel the fabric of republicanism, and involve
us in a pseudo-war between civilisations which would only be
a new stage in the war between the haves and the have-nots.
Nobody is obliged to support the plan for a democratic
society, respectful of the beliefs of all its members, as
Israel Shamir is arguing for the territory of historic
Palestine (i.e. British Mandated Palestine). However, the
principle of a democratic society, respectful of the beliefs
of all its members, is where the great strength of secular,
republican France has lain to date. We deem that the defence
of the publishers, Al Qalam, comes under the
protection of thought of all. We are thus appealing for
support to its courageous editor, Mr Cherifi, at the
Librairie du Monde Arabe, 220 rue Saint Jacques, Paris.
We will not let him be ruined by an inquisitorial trial,
which would then be followed by redoubled attempts at
stifling everyone’s freedom of thought.
Support Editions Al Qalam!
I support the French publisher Al Qalam, as I would
support La Fabrique publisher last year, because they
publish important books about Israel/Palestine, for I value
freedom of expression. I forward this call to other persons
and send some financial support for the trial expenses to:
CCP 30041 - 00001 - 1382554G020 - 70
Works by Israel Shamir available in French:
- L’autre visage d’Israel - «Fleurs de Galilée», ed.
Al Qalam, Paris, 2004, pp. 430 pp.
- Pardes, une étude la Kabbale, éd. Al Qalam,
Paris, 2005, pp. 159 (order it by writing a message to:
Association Entre la Plume et l’Enclume
The books of Israel Shamir Galilee Flowers, Our
Lady of Sorrow and the Pardes are also available
in English from Surge Books,
The Galilee Flowers is available also in Norwegian,
Italian, Hungarian, German, Swedish, Spanish, Russian etc.
See details on