At one time American libraries stood at the heart of community education, forming in a positive way the minds and character of our youth, changing lives for the better. But sadly, the traditional mission of these august institutions of learning for generations of Americans is disappearing as they gradually turn into indoctrination centers against the United States and Israel.
One of the main reasons for this tragic and disturbing turn of events is the American Library Association, where a clique of leftists has taken over, dedicating itself to padding libraries across America with anti-Israel books, videos and other materials, excluding both sides in the Israel/Palestine dispute.
The American Library Association is the oldest and biggest professional society of librarians in the world with over 60,000 members. When college majors in Library Science graduate, they must have attended ALA accredited schools accredited if they hope to find the best jobs in their field. Starting in the 1980’s, hard-core leftists and pro-Palestinian activists have steadily been working to take control of the ALA much in the same manner as has occurred with Middle East Studies Centers on college campuses nationwide. These people decide what will you and your children will read and see at the local library.
I interviewed several librarians for this article, all whom asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution from the ALA (some even recounted tales of late night phone calls where they were threatened with extreme harm). After the Bolshevik Revolution, the Soviet Union’s education and library system, deemed a utopian socialist program to educate the masses, was at first seen as the model for the world. It was only years later during Stalin’s rule that this idea changed somewhat as traditional anti-Semitism reemerged and education was used for indoctrination. But some librarians told me the ALA since the 1920’s has always advanced radical socialist doctrine as being positive while not presenting in a fair manner views concerning the benefits of the American capitalist system. Adding to that background, with the advent of the Vietnam War, college radicals, as they moved into mainstream jobs in all areas of academia, continued to promote their ideas of radical change in American government and society. Library Science is closely tied in with today’s university atmosphere where Marxism now thrives along with a resurrected policy of anti-Semitism.
The growth of the Palestinian and Saudi propaganda movements on U.S. campuses created a new cause celebre in the library system after the fall of the Soviet Union. As communist groups such as International Answer and the International Socialist Organization sprang up advocating the overthrow of the American capitalist system, their adherents, who had frequently allied themselves with the Palestinian “revolution” against the Jews (euphemistically called “Zionists”) on US college campuses, moved into leadership positions within the ALA.
The ALA “Bill of Rights” has been twisted to the point that “anything goes” in Library Science as long as it is deemed progressive. The ALA proved its adherence to this philosophy when it spent 1.5 million dollars in lawsuits that reached the Supreme Court to oppose the Child Online Protection Act, H.R. 3783, passed by Congress; an ALA victory would have allowed pornography for children in public libraries. When extremist positions like that thrive within the ALA, it creates an atmosphere conducive to promoting any one-sided propaganda exported from totalitarian regimes abroad as part of the “progressive agenda”.
It is therefore not surprising that American libraries, those on college campuses as well as in neighborhood communities, include a disproportionate number of anti-Israel books. Works by Edward Said and Noam Chomsky condemning “American imperialism” or that call Israel a “colony” of America are commonly found with other similar materials available regardless of the speciousness of their content. Solid scholarly research with factual information about Israel is difficult to find, if at all.
As well, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization that bills itself as an Arab civil rights group but was shown to have links to Hamas, has utilized American libraries’ budgetary problems to provide books “free of charge” to advance the “Arab point of view”. CAIR has given books to more than 7,000 American libraries so far.
To librarians uninformed about Middle Eastern history, or to those who intentionally wish to attack America and Israel, the chance to stack the racks with free books is certainly enticing. But while donating books to our library system should be a laudatory thing, CAIR’s agenda is to persuade readers that Israel must be dismantled, an idea that conforms to Hamas doctrine. And such donations are not limited to just books; today’s public and college libraries feature DVDs; videotapes; symposiums; and educational outreach to public schools and community groups using such one-sided resource materials. Research becomes tainted when the information is not objective, but rather a subtle form of indoctrination.
The film Jenin, Jenin is a good example of such propaganda with its staged scenes that falsely claim a massacre by Israelis; it is screened at “events” or “lectures” designed to misinform the same way as in any totalitarian, Middle Eastern, educational system. Hamas, Islamic Jihad or Hizbollah are no longer perceived as terrorist groups but political, and even human rights organizations, as was done on Duke University’s library website.
Major players within the ALA, who have made the ALA into a vehicle for their anti-American and anti-Israel views, include past ALA president Maurice J. “Mitch” Freedman; University of Pittsburgh librarian Thomas Twiss; California librarian Rory Litwin (who also produces a leftist-socialist oriented library newsletter, Library Juice, that condemns U.S. foreign policy and Israel); Chicago public librarian David L. Williams; avowed Marxist Mark Rosenzweig; Zoia Horn; Al Kagan; and Ghada El Turk, among others.
Freedman has scheduled events at past ALA Conferences that set the tone for the political climate within the ALA. For example, at the Midwestern ALA Convention he offered a special treat by screening “The Trials of Henry Kissinger” and “Power and Terror: Noam Chomsky In Our Times”. Both films attacked U.S. foreign policy, blaming the United States for terrorism, and the Chomsky film, as usual, attacked Israel. Freedman also chose as a guest speaker Amy Goodman, a pro-Palestinian writer and host on Pacifica Radio. The media watchdog group CAMERA once condemned Pacifica for “repeatedly providing a forum for racists, anti-Semites and other critics of Israel.” In 1992, Khalide Hamide, a fundraiser for the terrorist organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was also invited to attend an ALA convention.
Thomas Twiss took the ALA into the international arena by presenting resolutions against Israel, which were then sent to the UN, the US State Department and Yasser Arafat. But he wasn’t alone. Since the early 1990’s ALA members have joined Twiss by passing resolutions and writing articles that condemn the Jewish state. Rory Litwin allowed Library Juice to be used by Al Kagan, a Library Administration professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana, where he is active in the anti-Israel divestment campaign. David L. Williams, who works in the public library system out of Chicago, organized an ALA Committee On Israeli Censorship. He published a bibliography at taxpayer expense listing books biased against Israel. This is housed in Chicago’s Public Library. Zoia Horn, now an octogenarian and lifelong San Francisco Bay Area Marxist, published an article bashing Israel in the main ALA journal, American Libraries.
Mark Rosenzweig, an avowed Marxist librarian, and the other activists within the ALA, continually put forth resolutions that openly portray Israel as a villain that destroys Palestinian libraries. To date, there is no evidence of the IDF ever having destroyed a Palestinian library despite PLO accusations. Meanwhile, when a Palestinian suicide bomber at Hebrew University in Jerusalem murdered an American librarian, ALA leaders made no comment. Nor did the ALA take exception to what Palestinian libraries teach children about Jews and Israel, instilling and inciting hatred and war.
In most professional associations, the positions of those who organize and run things are usually non-paying and manned by volunteers. This system attracts only the most dedicated people in their professions—or those with an agenda who appreciate a bully pulpit, which, in the case of libraries, is at taxpayers’ expense. And the latter reason explains why those people mentioned above got together and formed an even more powerful cabal within the ALA to further their mutual goals of demonizing Israel and advancing Marxist ideology. Called the Social Responsibilities Roundtable (SRRT), this subgroup has played an aggressive role within the ALA that affects every library in the country.
The SRRT has run wild. In 1992 its members passed a resolution, backed by the ALA, which protested “the deportation of Omar al-Safi, a librarian at Bir Zeit University...in the West Bank.” Al-Safi was a terrorist with a long criminal record in the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), a terrorist group that unequivocally calls for the murder of all Israelis. The DFLP’s pinnacle achievement was the murder of 22 children and adults taken hostage at a high school in Israel in 1974, afterwards known as the Ma’alot Massacre.
In 2002, the SRRT was still openly passing resolutions against Israel and sending them to the UN, the U.S. State Department and Yasser Arafat. This ALA cabal has sent personal representatives to support and meet Yasser Arafat and had anti-Israel literature distributed in children’s sections of American public libraries. And with the recent creation of another ALA subgroup, the International Responsibilities Task Force, the taxpayer’s dollar can now be tapped to purchase “alternative literature” calling for Israel’s annihilation.
Front Page Magazine has featured articles showing how Saudi money is used to fund Palestinian goals and add to the climate of indoctrination against the United States and Israel on our college campuses, in high schools and in public school textbooks. Being the main accreditation authority for librarians, the ALA’s prominence has also lent credence to similar activities at college libraries and programs nationwide, such as at Duke University where a library website featured a Jewish Star of David made out of barbed wire to imply Palestinian suffering at the hands of Jews.
For a local example of this, one need look no further than Ghada Elturk, who works out of the Boulder Public Library in Colorado. An active SRRT member, Ms. Elturk, Lebanese by birth, is responsible for acquisitions and books for a program designed to appeal to minorities. Her series on Readings On Racism have outreached as far as New England libraries. Ms. Elturk extends her job to promoting film festivals, reading material and events that are all designed to present Israel as oppressing Palestinian Arabs. Elturk’s acquisitions of library materials are heavily skewed against Israel in her library’s online catalog.
Elturk also joins fellow ALA members in accusing Israel of destroying Palestinian libraries but never extends her Reading Against Racism program to pointing out how Palestinian libraries have books that compare Jews and Christians as the children of monkeys and pigs, or that deny the Jews’ right to have their own country in the Muslim world. Ms. Elturk recently held a symposium at the Boulder Public Library where she screened no less than six pro-PLO films. The main feature, a film called “The Bombing”, contained content blaming Israel for suicide bombers that kill Israelis.
A Boulder community member, Michael Wolin, who objected to the bias of Ms. Elturk’s screenings, particularly after they were advertised for free in conjunction with a yearly international conference at the nearby University of Colorado, said his complaints to the head of the library to allow the showing of pro-Israel films to provide balance only got him referred to Ms. Elturk. Needless to say, she refused.
Some Israel activists then went to Boulder’s Library Commission. Ms. Elturk showed up for the meeting to explain how her program somehow advanced social justice. The Commission deferred to the professional librarian. After all, the thinking went: she is a member of the ALA, so she must know what she is doing. The community members demanding balance on the side of Israel were virtually shut out of their own library system by a propagandist for the PLO. Her Palestinian propaganda films, some with completely fabricated content like Jenin, Jenin, are in the permanent collection for loan at taxpayers’ expense. Ms. Elturk uses her bully pulpit well. Her outreach efforts extend to the materials high school students read in World History.
The boulder librarian's activities provide a template for libraries across America to follow as Palestinian film festivals demonizing Israel are scheduled from Ames, Iowa, to Flint, Michigan, to Berkeley, California. They all present one-sided films with “recommended reading” as follow-up that is neither objective nor free of a political agenda against Israel and US policy.
For example, the Ames Public Library screened “Jenin, Jenin” as part of their series on “Palestine Unabridged.” Tributes were made to Rachel Corrie, the International Solidarity Movement radical who was reportedly killed for protecting a doctor’s house from demolition by the Israeli army but who was actually killed by accident when she tried to block a tractor from demolishing a weapons smuggling tunnel that was no where near the doctor’s house. The myth of the innocent victim killed by the Israeli army was perpetuated to the Ames community, as Corrie’s relatives were invited to speak against Israel. Like in Boulder, complaints to Ames Library administrators from the pro-Israel community for some type of program to lend balance fell on deaf ears. Similar one-sided presentations are popping up in libraries all over America.
There are ALA members opposed to what is happening but who are afraid to speak out for fear they will lose their jobs. However, there are workers in the library trade who have had enough of this lack of balance. Librarians For Fairness, a group of library professionals, has sprung up to monitor the situation and to recommend balanced reading materials in our public libraries in order to stop them being turned into propaganda ministries. But the fact remains: Those who support the actions and goals of terrorists and oppose Israel’s existence and America’s War on Terror have infiltrated America’s knowledge distribution centers – our libraries. As a result, all of us should take a good, hard look at what is going on at our local libraries and get involved.