KJ Hannah Greenberg

Of Pariahs and Publishers

Free speech is dying. Perhaps, more disconcerting than the foreign money-backed pro-Palestinian protests on (elite) campuses is the “new” trend in broadcasting to blackball writers based on their Yiddishkeit and/or their support for Eretz Yisrael (“Is Your Fav Author A Zionist?”) Weigh that whereas only some per cent of the population receives tertiary education and only a small number of those individuals attend top schools, all folks who are literate, to one degree or another, read. Simply, without the availability of a wide array of externally-sourced concepts, the masses are increasingly becoming sheeple.

No nation can hope to develop democratically without the free expression, publication and distribution of ideas and opinions. Democratic societies only can function sustainably when people are well informed, are able to access and share information freely and can debate ideas {“Why Free Media Matters”).

Beyond the fatuous targeting of “big name” writers, the rest of us wordies, too, are experiencing overt prejudice. Yet, many industry participants endeavor to make their venues “popular” by decrying Am Yisrael and the State of Israel.

I don’t take kindly to having myself, my associates, or my land treated as persona/nation non grata. We are Hashem’s children, not global outcasts. The People of Yisrael strive to attain a high level of morality; we’re not unpersons. Eretz Yisrael was gifted to us by G-d; it’s not “up for grabs.”

Accordingly, I refuse to be muted by unfortunate encounters. Take the recent cases of a magazine with whom I’m no longer associating and of a pointlessly barking, mutatis mutandis, book chief.

In the first, and chronologically earlier, case, in a letter to its regular contributors, the periodical advocated for “Palestine.”

I artlessly wrote, “I withdraw my acceptance of your offer to distribute my work. There is no ‘Palestine,’ per se. Try engaging in critical thinking.”

The magazine responded equally ingenuously;

I am sorry to hear that, but I am hereby confirming withdrawing your submission from our publication as well as removing your contact from our mailing list.

I do need to say in response to your e-mail that the decision to stand with Palestine is grounded in years of educating and informing ourselves. We will never feel sorry for standing up and speaking up for humanity, freedom, and dignity for all people, especially when thousands of lives are at stake.

Sigh. Dunderheads are injudicious.

In the second, and later, case, one of my books’ issuers wrote about

wanting to make some sort of response to the horrors currently being committed in Gaza—Israel’s grotesquely disproportionate revenge for Hamas’ action of Oct 7—and the mainstream media and politicians ignoring all history before that date.

We’ve been seeking Palestinian authors available in English translation, but our contacts are small (and shrinking!), texts are hard to write under current conditions, and [publisher’s name]’s efforts have faint to zero effect on the carnage.

A series of free or 99¢  [books] might be slightly more helpful than encouraging and waiting for books to be written. But who of us, or related to us, could write, or illustrate tracts in such a way as to make them stand out and attract attention?

[We] thought we might begin by consulting with all 130-ish of you … creative, articulate writers and artists, with no doubt creative, articulate friends. Let us know if you have any possibly significant offers or suggestions.

This time, I was less primitive in my response. I answered;

I’m so disappointed in your position. I recommend you look at the links to: Samuel M. Edelman’s “The Rhetorical Situation and Situational Ethics in the Symbol of the [‘]Refugee[’] in the Israeli- Palestinian Arab Conflict” (Edelman), Caroline Glick’s “The Making of Sadistic Terrorists: An Interview with Dr. Mordechai Kedar” (Glick), and my “Another Wedding”(Greenberg, 2023)  and “Israel’s Sense of Agency” (Greenberg, 2024).

I also added that I was sure that the commissioner meant well, and that relativistic ethics don’t work. I suggested that he read Alasdair MacIntyre’s Whose Justice? Which Rationality?

As well, I counseled that he consider incommensurate value systems before publicly seeking to support heinous groups.

However, since being delusional is of small utility, I wasn’t surprised with the lack of response from the producer or with his articulate yet unchanged bias, bigotry, and extreme shortsightedness. What’s more, regrettably, I anticipate that others of the magazine and book publishers with whom I work/have worked will soon senselessly side with evil and then transmit those views.

Such inanity is more than a turncoat problem. Much of the civilized world has given up thinking for itself; more and more, publics rely on communications’ concierges to determine their grasp of truth and Truth. “[B]y nature, our thinking is self-serving. Our thoughts support our self-interest. As such, we are prone to self-deceptive thinking. We adopt thoughts and beliefs that may not be rational or logical, but they seem to work for us” (“What prevents us from thinking critically?”) [sic].

In short, there are manifold platforms for expressing positions. It’s tiresome but not troubling is having to divorce oneself from imprudent stances; what’s troubling is that managers of t podia blindly support sentiments backed, not by reality, but by approval. In succession, the easily led multitudes don’t question the nature of those bosses’ sway.

If only gatekeepers worked on possessing insightful analyses, instead of echoing the rants and chants of employing poorly assessed rhetoric, our common future wouldn’t seem so dismal.. After all, sadly, when platforms decay, critical thinking erodes. When critical thinking erodes, so, too, do freedoms.


Edelman, Samuel M. “The Rhetorical Situation and Situational Ethics in the Symbol of the [‘]Refugee[’] in the Israeli-Palestinian Arab Conflict.” Ed. Karen Joy Greenberg. Conversations on Communication Ethics. Praeger, 1991.

Glick, Caroline. “The Making of Sadistic Terrorists: An Interview with Dr. Mordechai Kedar.” The Caroline Glick Show. YouTube. Accessed 11 Jun. 2024.

Greenberg, KJ Hannah. “Another Wedding.” The Blogs of KJ Hannah Greenberg. The Times of Israel. 19 Dec. 2023. Accessed 11 Jun. 2024.

Greenberg, KJ Hannah. “Israel’s Sense of Agency.” The Blogs of KJ Hannah Greenberg. The Times of Israel. 29 May 2024. Accessed 11 Jun. 2024.

“Is Your Fav Author A Zionist?” X Books. Accessed 11 Jun. 2024.

Klein, Amy. “Jewish Writers are getting blacklisted and worrying about their publishing futures” [sic]. The Jerusalem Post. 4 Jun. 2024. Accessed 11 Jun. 2024.

MacIntyre, Alasdair. Whose Justice? Which Rationality? U Notre Dame P, 1988.

“What prevents us from thinking critically?” [sic]. Concordia Health Services. Concordia Accessed 3 Jun. 2024.

“Why Free Media Matters.” Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Accessed 11 Jun. 2024.

About the Author
KJ Hannah Greenberg has been playing with words for an awfully long time. Initially a rhetoric professor and a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar, she shed her academic laurels to romp around with a prickle of imaginary hedgehogs. Thereafter, her writing has been nominated once for The Best of the Net in poetry, three times for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for poetry, once for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for fiction, once for the Million Writers Award for fiction, and once for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. To boot, Hannah’s had more than forty books published and has served as an editor for several literary journals.
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