PEN America Hypocrisy

by January 21, 2013

When I first joined PEN America ten years ago, I was happy to pay my membership fee to support its work in advancing literature and defending free expression. But over the years, I've become disillusioned with the organization--partly due to its selective human rights agenda, and more recently due to its profound lack of judgment in choosing its new executive director.

As with far too many NGOs, PEN America has elected to wear blinders when it comes to human rights violations by the United States and its militarism projected through institutions like NATO and militarily dependent states like Israel. While I was disheartened by PEN International's former vice president Nadine Gordimer's bias when it came to Israel, the recent choice by PEN America's trustees to install the former U.S. State Department warmonger Suzanne Nossel as its new executive director is the final straw.

As an experienced advocate for neoliberal coercion to achieve American hegemony, Nossel has taken an aggressive pro-war stance over the last decade, including the US invasion of Iraq and the NATO bombing of Libya. When working as a Hillary wannabe at State, Nossel fought hard at the UN Human Rights Council as an apologist for Zionist crimes against humanity in Palestine. If this is the best PEN America can do, then they can do without my support.

  • Anne Heatherington
    January 21, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    If you look at the list of their funders this is not terribly surprising.

    Kudos to you for posting this.


  • January 22, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Thanks, Anne. For romantic revolutionaries, totalitarianism of the crude fascist variety we associate with mid-20th Century police states remains a conceptual impediment to effective resistance against the totalitarianism of neoliberal capitalism. While neoliberalism is equally brutal, it differs in that it seeks to limit our ability to imagine a different reality through its pervasive corruption of all aspects of human existence. By corroding every sphere of human endeavor, it destroys humankind's capacity for recovery, reflection and renewal, steadily consuming the soul of humanity.


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