Monthly Archives: May 2019

Stop Ban of Palestine Children’s Book at Highland Park NJ Public Library!

PLEASE SIGN HERE.

We call on the Highland Park Public Library to rise up for what is right, reject this racist attack on free speech, and immediately reinstate the planned “P is for Palestine: A Palestine ABC Book” event with author Dr. Golbarg Bashi.

Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return CoalitionAmerican Muslims for Palestine – NJCouncil on American-Islamic Relations – NJOccupy Bergen CountyJews for Palestinian Right of ReturnLabor for PalestinePeople’s Organization for ProgressSamidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity NetworkSOMA for Palestine, USACBI: US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

Full petition text:

To the Highland Park Public Library Director and Board of Trustees,

It is inexcusable that the Highland Park, New Jersey, Public Library has bowed to pressure from Israel supporters to cancel its previously scheduled reading of the children’s alphabet book, “P is for Palestine” by Dr. Golbarg Bashi, an event originally sponsored by the library and Jewish Voice Peace-Central NJ. The book is “the world’s first-ever English-language ABC story book about Palestine.”

The pretext for this censorship is that the book’s entry “I is for Intifada” is “hate speech” that promotes “violence and terror”against Jews.

That is completely false.

Intifada means “rebellion” or “resistance”; as the entry says, “Intifada is Arabic for rising up for what is right, if you are a kid or grownup!” And Palestinians are certainly justified in rising up against the settler-colonial regime that occupies the West Bank, has enforced a barbaric siege on Gaza for over a decade, denies Palestinian refugees it forcibly expelled and dispossessed in the 1948 Nakba (Catastrophe) their right to return to their homeland, and practices systemic discrimination against Palestinians with Israeli citizenship.

As Bashi recently summarized, “Intifada is actually 71 years old. It is resistance to occupation of a people’s land. It is like Native American resistance to white settlers.” She also likened it to the Black Lives Matter movement in this country.

Furthermore, we denounce the racist characterizations of Palestinians as a “fake people” with “no history,” driven by anti-Semitic blood-lust, promoted in so many pro-censorship comments (see the book’s Facebook page for examples).

The event cancellation is not an isolated case. As of April this year, 27 states have adopted anti-BDS laws designed to muzzle our constitutional right to boycott Israel. Elected officials who have the courage to speak up for Palestinian rights — mainly women of color like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib — are slandered by Israel supporters as anti-Semitic. Just this past February, they similarly tried — and failed — to shut down a “Your Right to Boycott and the Campaign to Silence BDS” event at the Maplewood Public Library.

Fortunately, this McCarthyite campaign has only boosted support for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). Moreover, mainstream media is finally giving voice to those, including a growing number of Jews, who challenge not only Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, but the Zionist regime itself. Indeed, the call to cancel the Highland Park book reading is a tacit concession that, having lost the moral argument, apartheid Israel’s enablers have no recourse but to silence pro-Palestinian voices — including authors of children’s books.

We call on the Highland Park Public Library to rise up for what is right, reject this racist attack on free speech, and immediately reinstate the planned “P is for Palestine: A Palestine ABC Book” event with author Dr. Golbarg Bashi.

Further actions to take:

  • Attend the Highland Park Library Board of Trustees Meeting on Wednesday 6/5/19 at 7:30pm, to show your support for the reinstatement of the “P is for Palestine” program. The venue for the meeting has not yet been announced. Call the library at (732) 572-2750 the day before the Board Meeting, or visit the website at https://www.hpplnj.org/ to find out the venue.
  • Write a letter or statement to the Highland Park Library and the Trustees, urging them to reinstate the program: director@hpplnj.org; childref@hpplnj.org (Library Director and Children’s Reference); trustees@hpplnj.org. Please send a copy of your letter to: CentralNJ@JewishVoiceForPeace.org. For maximum impact, please keep your letter polite.
  • Buy this book for yourself and for your local library: https://www.drbashi.com/books
  • Write letters to the editor. Thank the Star-Ledger for printing the positive guest Op-Ed. See letter guidelines at: https://www.nj.com/opinion/2018/01/submit_an_op-ed.html