Here’s a story with huge implications for freedom of speech (all negative), and it’s apparently gone almost entirely unreported in the mainstream press. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required), under threat of a law suit, Cambridge University Press has just agreed to pulp all unsold copies of the 2006 book, Alms for Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World. According to the Chronicle, this is the fourth such book on terrorism funding to be pursued by a libel action. The Chronicle quotes Rachel Ehrenfeld, director of the American Center for Democracy, whose own book, Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed–and How to Stop It is one of the four books.
In an interview on Monday, Ms. Ehrenfeld characterized as “despicable” Cambridge’s decision to settle this week, a move the press has defended as necessary and just. Ms. Ehrenfeld, who is a friend of Mr. Burr’s [one of the authors of Alms for Jihad], said that, as she understands it, press officials “caved immediately.”
“They didn’t even consider the evidence that the authors had given them,” she said. “They received a threatening letter, and they immediately caved in and said, Do whatever it takes. Pay them whatever they want. Ban the book, destroy the book, we don’t want this lawsuit.”
In a blog post entitled, “Attention Authors: Be afraid, very afraid….especially if you write about the Saudis and their support of terrorism,” Emory University professor, Deborah Lipstadt elaborates. In addition to the links within Lipstadt’s post, you can find related stories at the website of Ehrenfeld’s American Center for Democracy. Given MSM’s silence, this looks like one for the blogosphere.