My final piece on Yale and the Danish cartoons: Martin Kramer connects the dots
We started out speculating about why Richard C. Levin, the President of Yale University, should have been involved in the decision by Yale University Press to bowdlerize Jytte Klausen's book about the Danish cartoons by insisting that it be published without the cartoons or any other representations of Mohammed. Our guess: what a pal of Bertie Wooster's memorably apostrophized as "Oof, Bertie, moolah, spondulicks." As to the provenance of the right stuff: Araby, of course. Why else would the president of Yale take the extraordinary step of intervening in a decision by the "independent" publishing entity that just happened to bear the name "Yale"? I thank the correspondent who pointed me to this bijoux from a The Yale Daily News, 28 September 2006: "President Richard Levin said the press has the right to independently decide what to publish," the YDN reported in a story about a controversial biography of the King of Thailand. They went on to quote President Levin: "The Yale Press is not a platform for anyone to speak their mind. Any book accepted goes under a scrupulous process for review. Access to publication on the University's press is not like the opportunity to speak on Beinecke Plaza."
So there! Actually, there is a moderately disreputable backstory to Levin's role in the publication of that book, The King Never Smiles, but I am not at liberty to divulge the details. What is worth drawing attention to in the context of the present controversy over the censorship of The Cartoons that Shook the World is the contrast between Levin's words (I say nothing about his behind-the-scenes actions) then and his behavior now.
Since Yale, and the Yale Press, have been so unforthcoming, we are left in the realm of speculation. But various facts have come to light to illuminate and guide the speculation. We know, for example, that the University and the YUP lied when they said that the outside experts they consulted after Ms. Klausen's book had been professionally vetted were "unanimous" in their recommendation to censor the book. They were not. We know, too, that the reason given for the censorship -- that publishing the images might lead to violence -- was largely if not wholly a pretext.
Now Martin Kramer has uncovered and connected a few more dots in an essay called "Some Day Yale's Prince Will Come." [UPDATE: and see Diana West here.] Mr. Kramer introduces us to Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a Saudi billionaire (at last count, it was 13 billions) whose hobbies include endowing Islamic centers on American campuses. "I am," he said in 2003, "in the process of establishing centers of Arab and Islamic studies at select universities in the United States." Georgetown collected a cool 20 million for its center in 2005; Harvard did likewise.