Writing about the affair on his blog, Bernard Avishai describes how he 'jumped at the chance' to present a more complex view of the Israel-Palestine situation to British readers. On the Wednesday before the Friday of publication, Avishai was asked to finalise his bio. Then:
The next communication I received was from Mary Kay Wilmers, the editor-in-chief, a letter of apology with a cheque and the claim that the piece 'does not work - or at least not for us'. No explanation, no request for revisions. The article that replaced mine, I soon learned, was a last minute report about how Israeli were shooting up Gaza.
Those who have followed the LRB's metamorphosis into the literary house-journal of the anti-American, anti-Israel left won't be surprised - and will know how to decode that 'not for us'. And it seems Wilmers has form in censoring articles that don't follow the magazine's party line. Avishai links to a 2002 Telegraph article which describes her spiking of a piece by David Marquand that had the temerity to commend Tony Blair's response to the September 11 attacks. In her email to Marquand, Wilmers wrote: 'I can't square it with my conscience to praise so wholeheartedy Blair's conduct since September 11'. She had no qualms, though, about publishing Mary Beard's infamous suggestion that America 'had it coming'.
I know it will hardly have the magazine's editors quaking in their boots, but my subscription now hangs by a very slender thread.