Politics and Prose Gets Political and Suffers Blows

The Washington Post ran two op-eds over the weekend from two individuals at the center of a local bookstore controversy.

First up: Author Saree Makdisi, who says:

    I was scheduled to speak at Politics & Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse last month about my latest book, “Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation.” My appearance was canceled when the bookstore owners realized that my book concludes by questioning the viability of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead it proposes a single democratic, secular and multicultural state in which Israelis and Palestinians live peacefully as citizens with equal rights.

Next up…Politics and Prose owner Carla Cohen:

    Last month, we canceled an appearance by Saree Makdisi, who was to have discussed his new book, “Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation,” at our store. Now, we do not usually vet books before we schedule the talks, since we book these events months in advance. …
    When I finally got a chance to read his book, especially its conclusion, I was very disturbed. As an American Jew, I support Israel, but I disapprove of its policies in the West Bank. … Makdisi’s critique of Israel was not what bothered me; it was his solution. He advocates one state in the place of the partition that was established by the United Nations in 1947. His solution would result in the elimination of the state of Israel. … Nevertheless, I now believe that I was mistaken to cancel Saree Makdisi’s presentation at Politics and Prose. We will extend an invitation for him to talk at the bookstore at a time that works for him and for us. He can present the ideas that form the basis of his book. Our customers can make their own decisions on whether they support Makdisi — or disagree with him.