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Germany

German Publisher Stops Book Amid Anti-Semitism Flap

German publisher Suhrkamp has halted printing of a controversial book by British-Canadian philosopher Honderich, after he was attacked in Germany of being anti-Semitic and for defending Palestinian attacks on Israel.

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Palestinians have a "moral right" to terrorism, according to Honderich

German publishing house Suhrkamp has put on hold further publication of the book "After the Terror" by British-Canadian philosopher Ted Honderich following complaints about recent statements made by the author that appeared to support Palestinian "terrorism."

In a statement on Wednesday, Suhrkamp said, "the first publication has been sold out. The rights have been relinquished." The publisher was reacting to strong accusations made by Micha Brumlik, head of the Fritz Bauer Institute, a Holocaust research center. In an open letter released early this week, Brumlik said Suhrkamp had published "a tract that spreads anti-Semitic, anti-Zionism (and) justifies the killing of Jewish civilians in Israel" and urged the book’s immediate withdrawal.

Ted Honderich, Titel: Nach dem Terror. Ein Traktat

The German version of Ted Honderich's "After the Terror".

Honderich’s book "After the Terror" (photo) investigates the morality of terrorism in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S. The Canadian-born Honderich, who has a Jewish wife and lives in Britain, said in a statement recently posted on his own Internet site that "the Palestinians do indeed have a moral right to their terrorism." The philosopher has dismissed Brumlik’s allegations on his website and said they displaced "audacious stupidity."

German philosopher Jürgen Habermas, who had first recommended Honderich’s book to the Suhrkamp publishing house, said he hadn’t discovered any anti-Semitism in the book, but admitted it was a "overly casual pamphlet." Habermas however said "he was sorry" if his recommendation lacked the necessary consideration.

Suhrkamp: "Unacceptable views"

But even though the present controversy doesn’t directly relate to opinions expressed by Honderich in his book, Suhrkamp however insists the author had expressed unacceptably radical views in his Internet statements.

"He has adopted for himself what in the book was only a quotation: 'The Palestinians are right to look back to Fascist Germany and say they are the Jews of the Jews,’ " a statement issued by the publishing house said.

"We regret that the author’s attitude towards Palestinian terrorism did not become clear to this publishing house in sufficient time," it said.

The decision to stop printing the book only applies to the German edition of Honderich’s book. It will continue being published in English.

The controversy follows last year’s heated debate over German author Martin Walser’s book "Death of a Critic" also published by Suhrkamp. The book was widely condemned as a thinly-veiled attack with anti-Semitic overtones on the prominent intellectual and literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki, who hosted a popular book show on television.

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