If you’re award-winning bestselling human rights author Edwin Black, much of your life is spent on the road in book tours, lectures, media events, and scholar-in-residence sessions — scores of them each year. With 1.4 million books in print worldwide, why does he keep doing events?
"Because, even with a million copies," Black explains, "people have questions — shall we say a million questions about my work — issues I wrote about, and quite often, issues that I have not yet written about. That means, I must connect one on one, face to face. I never stop doing that, and never stop enjoying that."
Black wrote IBM and the Holocaust documenting Big Blue’s coordination with the Third Reich in its war against the Jews, War Against the Weak about the medical crime known as eugenics, and nine other prize-winning volumes.
He adds, "My inbox received hundreds of messages each year. In many ways, the book is just the beginning of a relationship. There is always so much more to communicate."
In 2014, Black embarked upon several major "themed" book tours. The publication of his bestselling human rights volume Financing the Flames found legislators worldwide startled at his discoveries about Palestinian terrorist salaries and the conduct of leading Israel-based NGOs, such as the New Israel Fund. Black alleged that NGOs in Israel that were purportedly pursuing peace and reconciliation were in fact misusing taxpayer monies to promote agitation and confrontation in Israel that promoted anything but peace and reconciliation.
Financing the Flames launched in November 2013 at the U.S. House of Representatives live on C-SPAN. That led to his “Parliamentary Tour” in February and March 2014. In a whirlwind effort, Black appeared at four parliaments in four weeks: The House of Commons in London, the European Parliament in Brussels, the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem, and as a sworn witness before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in Congress.
"Legislators were aghast," recalls Black, "to learn that the public monies they were appropriating were in fact funding millions of dollars per month in official terrorist salaries openly paid by the Palestinian Authority, and to discover what the New Israel Fund was doing with its donors’ money to promote BDS against Israel." He adds, "In most cases, legislators in Europe did not even understand the basics of international law."
In November and December 2014, Black embarked upon an ambitious 45-event coast-to-coast "Human Rights Tour" "because so many ethnic and religious groups around the world were under attack" The tour of back-back events lasted six weeks. "Sometimes," he recalls, "I did four and five events per day --each a different topic-- working from dawn to midnight."
In North Carolina alone, Black did nine events in three days speaking out against the persecution of Yazidis, Shia Muslims, and Christians in Iraq, racial injustice in America and impact on the November elections, environmental injustice arising out of oil addiction, journalistic ethics in covering human rights, bias against Jews in Israel, and the health care crisis in the Middle East.
Black continued his Human Rights Tour in Virginia, Michigan, California, Florida, and Pennsylvania. One day in Detroit, he spoke to a communal audience about terrorist salaries, and then in an adjacent hall he addressed educators about the outlines of international law in the Mideast. His schedule allowed only one minute between the two events. In Flint, Michigan, Black connected with enthusiastic African-American students at the University of Michigan program "to place racial justice in historical perspective."
"I am slowing down in 2015 assured Black. "In 2015, I will continue to my book touring and lecture series — but not more than two or three events per day. Remember, even though I am out on tour, I am expected to update new editions of my books, and I have an entirely new volume due to be published."
Carol Monreal writes on literary issues.