US college sacks critic of Zionism

February 28, 2009

Prominent US ecosocialist and Marxist author, Joel Kovel, has has been informed that his teaching contract at Bard College will not be renewed when it expires in July this year. He has been a member of the faculty since January 1988.

In an open letter published on his website, Kovel states "this termination of service is prejudicial and motivated neither by intellectual nor pedagogic considerations, but by political values, principally stemming from differences between myself and the Bard administration on the issue of Zionism."

He adds, "There is of course much more to my years at Bard than this, including another controversial subject, my work on ecosocialism. However, the evidence shows a pattern of conflict over Zionism only too reminiscent of innumerable instances in this country in which critics of Israel have been made to pay, often with their careers, for speaking out."

In 2007, Kovel released his book Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine.

Kovel, who is the editor-in-chief of the journal Capitalism Nature Socialism, argues that Bard College has "crafted for itself an image as a bastion of progressive thought", and was even ranked the second-most progressive college in the US by the Princeton Review.

"But 'liberal' thought evidently has its limits; and my work against Zionism has encountered these," he states.

The full statement can be read at . An online petition calling for a truthful and complete response from Bard College regarding the termination of Kovel's contract can be found at

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