In September, the University of Michigan Press faced intense criticism from pro-Israel groups — and questions from some regents — over its distribution of a book called Overcoming Zionism, which argues that the creation of Israel was a mistake and urges adoption of the "one state" solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in which Israelis and Palestinians would form a new country, without a Jewish character. Michigan wasn't the publisher, but it distributed the book under a deal with Pluto Press, a leftist British publisher with extensive lists on the Middle East and international affairs.
Some critics of the book demanded that Michigan stop distributing the book, which it briefly did, and cut ties to Pluto immediately. The university declined to do so, and resumed distributing the book, citing both contractual obligations to Pluto and concerns that halting distribution because of content would raise issues of academic freedom. By the end of this year, however, Michigan will no longer be distributing the book or have any ties to Pluto Press.
Michigan says that this is because of appropriate new rules about the press role in distributing books it hasn't itself vetted. But Pluto sees the new rules as window dressing that gave the university an excuse to satisfy Pluto's critics while avoiding the appearance of doing so.
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