Israel Lobby Criminalizes Children’s Books

Highland Park police standing guard outside children’s book reading at Highland Park Library, October 20, 2019. (photo: Facebook)
A children’s book expressing pride in being Palestinian is being used to create fear.

By Richard Silverstein  |  Tikun Olam | Oct 22, 2019

A prominent local rabbi declared the book a travesty and threatened to evict a Manhattan bookstore selling it from the synagogue’s annual book fair.

A few years ago, Iranian author and Rutgers faculty member, Goldbarg Bashi, published a children’s alphabet book, P is for Palestine (now out of print). It is an abecedary for children, teaching them words associated with the Palestinian struggle for justice and national rights. Somehow the book has become a cause celebre for the pro-Israel community in the New York metropolitan area. A prominent local rabbi declared the book a travesty and threatened to evict a Manhattan bookstore selling it from the synagogue’s annual book fair. The bookstore caved to pressure and released a statement saying it opposed the book’s content, but continued selling it, hiding it behind the counter as if it was a banned substance.

Then a few months ago, Bashi scheduled another book reading at the Highland Park (NJ) public library. Once again, the Israel Lobby voiced its anger and the Library canceled the event. That’s when Palestine Legal got involved and negotiated an agreement with the Library to reschedule the event to a later date. That was yesterday. To attend the event, one had to call the library to make a reservation. In order to avoid pickets there, both the author and the attendees were forced to enter by the back entrance. These knuckleheads have turned our public libraries into battlegrounds just as anti-abortion campaigners turned clinics into war zones in their battle against a woman’s right to choose.

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