Dear Brent Black,
On behalf of the Seriously Free Speech Committee, I write to you concerning the removal from your website of your own review of Rich Siegel’s “The Way to Peace”. Our organization, the Seriously Free Speech Committee, was formed a few years ago to defend freedom of expression specifically on the controversial issue of Palestine/Israel. We do not advocate for any particular interpretation or resolution of this conflict. We do advocate for the necessity that people of varying interpretations and with varying proposals for resolution have the freedom to present them publicly without intimidation or censorship, enabling a wider public to be able independently to consider their validity, and to formulate their own conclusions. You will agree, I am sure, that openness to diversity of opinion is one hallmark of a democratic culture. To intimidate others from expressing their thoughts, to proceed further and censor such expression, cripples democratic culture.
When you wrote your review of “The Way to Peace” you were sharing your thoughts freely and expressing confidence in your readers’ capacities to reflect on them and draw their own conclusions. You were fostering a democratic culture. When almost immediately after publishing your review, you withdrew it and issued the statement of “humble apologies” you were capitulating to censorship and insulting your readers.
Your “jewish friends”, to whom you refer, seem to have a fantasy of controlling public conversation; theirs is an ignoble ambition, your swearing loyalty a sad humiliation.
We are confident that you do recognize pursuit of art (just like Galileo’s pursuit of science) runs contrary to dictatorial authority. Therefore we hope you will come back to your first instinct – free expression of your thoughts on music and confidence in and respect for your readers to reflect upon and evaluate what you write.
If we have advice, it is to distrust those who treat you so shabbily, by demanding genuflection. If we have lessons from our own work it is this: the key way to deflate their puffery is by resisting those who aim to be the constabulary that defines and enforces ‘correct’ thinking.
Our hope is that you will reassert your dignity and re-post your review on the website.
Seriously Free Speech Committee