Librarians Against Israel

Posted: 6/1/2008 11:04:00 PM
Author: N. Leonard Tolkan
Source: This article originally appeared in the Jewish Press (weekly) on Dec. 23, 2002

Librarians Against Israel
by: N. Leonard Tolkan

Go to the website of the American Library Association, an organization with more than sixty-six thousand members in the United States and elsewhere. Follow the links to the ALA`s so-called `Social Responsibilities Round Table` the SRRT. Continue following the internal links from there to the SRRT`s misnamed International Responsibilities Task Force, and then go to a copious listing of `alternative` literature. You will now be able to choose from a smorgasbord of articles calling for the annihilation of Israel.

Go to the website of the American Library Association, an organization with more than sixty-six thousand members in the United States and elsewhere. Follow the links to the ALA`s so-called `Social Responsibilities Round Table` the SRRT. Continue following the internal links from there to the SRRT`s misnamed International Responsibilities Task Force, and then go to a copious listing of `alternative` literature. You will now be able to choose from a smorgasbord of articles calling for the annihilation of Israel.

If there exists even one pro-Israel article linked from the American Library Association`s website, I could not find it, despite laboriously repeated search attempts. Not a single one.

To be sure, the overwhelming majority of the ALA`s membership does not seek the Jewish state`s obliteration. But a hardcore group of haters, especially within the ALA-SRRT, works with obsessive determination to bring that about. And these Israel-bashers have been pushing their agenda since the mid-1980`s.

Sometimes resisting, but more often caving in to the will of the haters, the ALA Council has passed a horrendous series of edicts which in turn are distributed to the PLO, the United Nations, the U.S. State Department, foreign governments, and other national and international entities in order to maximize the harm to Israel.

And those on the ALA Council who have voted for the anti-Israel resolutions have done so knowing full well that for the haters egging them on with such fervor, the issue is really not what Israel does or does not do. It is Israel`s very existence itself that they object to.

The American Library Association has condemned no other nation with anywhere near the frequency and vitriol it has reserved for Israel. Indeed, there would have been even more condemnations of Israel were it not for the fact that for several years now the ALA Council has had a problem obtaining voting quorums.

But the bigots may have overcome that obstacle to their mischief. Last June they succeeded in getting the Council to establish a quorum, still to be approved by the entire ALA, which cuts in half the number of members needed to pass resolutions.

A pro-Israel librarian, whose name it is safer to keep anonymous, characterized the ALA`s latest foray into anti-Israel, pro-Arafat advocacy as ``hogwash,`` but then added that because of the move to lower quorums, ``I am personally more pessimistic on our chances of overturning this mess, though we need to keep our voices heard...``

Some of the condemnations of Israel are displayed on the SRRT-International Responsibilities Task Force portion of the ALA website, including a 1992 Council resolution that was revoked the following year; a 1998 SRRT-sponsored resolution that the Council rejected; and last June`s condemnations of Israel for purportedly destroying ``Palestinian libraries, archives and other cultural institutions.

The latter alleged destruction, distinct SRRT and ALA Council resolutions assert, ``...represents a significant loss for the Palestinian people and the world.``

Can it be that the ALA people are unaware of the vile and blatant anti-Semitism -- including Holocaust denial and calls for genocide, ethnic cleansing and jihad against Jews -- that prevails in Palestinian ``libraries, archives and cultural institutions``?

Doctors Against Child Sacrifice (DOCS), an organization composed of about three hundred pediatricians, has cogently described the literature directed at young people in areas ruled by Arafat`s criminals as a ``form of societal child abuse.``

Interestingly, the text of one of two anti-Israel resolutions, passed in 1992, is conspicuously absent from the ALA website. Apparently that one -- which never was rescinded -- has proved a bit too embarrassing, even for seasoned Israel bashers.

The malicious document said, in part: ``Resolved, the American Library Association protests the deportation of Omar al-Safi...a librarian at Bir Zeit University in the Israeli-Occupied West Bank.`` It also referred to al-Safi as ``our colleague.``

Suffice it to say that the Omar al-Safi resolution was an astonishing blunder, a faux pas about which the ALA now hopes the public at large, particularly after the tragedy of 9-11, will remain ignorant.

But the al-Safi resolution should be neither obscured nor forgotten by the American people, because its passage exposes so much that is wrong and vicious about the American Library Association.

First, Omar al Safi was a terrorist nom de guerre for a convicted felon, with a long and violent criminal record, who was never deported by Israel.

Second, there is nothing to indicate that he was ever a professional librarian, although he seems to have occasionally worked in the library of Bir Zeit, a university that owes its existence to Israel`s administration of the territories. The Jordanians never allowed it to be founded; after June 1967 Israel did.

Finally and most importantly, al-Safi was a member of and recruiter for the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), a ruthless terror gang that still calls for the murder of all Jewish Israelis and which only recently took ``credit`` for the death of an Israeli child.

One of the many atrocities carried out by that group of sadistic thugs that most readers will surely remember was the 1974 massacre in Maalot of twenty-two Israeli schoolchildren plus several adults.

Thus, the American Library Association -- a major organization of professionals who, to a very large extent, work with schoolchildren, and whose conventions are, in part, funded by U.S. taxpayer money -- passed a resolution in support of a terrorist from a group with a long history of targeting children for murder.

It must also be pointed out that al-Safi has not been the only terrorist murderer linked to the ALA`s anti-Israel campaigns. An invited guest at a 1992 ALA convention was Khader Hamide, a member of and fundraiser for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The PFLP, which is the parent group of the DFLP murderers, gained particular notoriety in the 1970`s due to its penchant for gunning down civilians in airports and hijacking commercial passenger planes around the world.

Among its many crimes against humanity, the PFLP planned the 1972 Japanese Red Army machine-gun rampage at Ben-Gurion (formerly Lod) Airport, which left sixteen Puerto Rican Christian pilgrims dead, among the other innocents who were butchered. More recently, the PFLP assassinated Israeli Minister of Tourism Rehavim Ze`evi.

In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Khader Hamide -- the PFLP killer and honored ALA guest speaker -- be deported from the United States.

While these revelations are undoubtedly disgusting, what is especially alarming is the fact that this past June the SRRT also tried to get the American Library Association Council to pass a resolution that urged librarians to focus on the acquisition of politically correct -- i.e. radical, anti-Israel, anti-U.S. and anti-democracy -- materials for their collections. (Fidel Castro`s dictatorship has been lauded by this bunch.)

And while the resolution has not been formalized as official ALA policy, evidence is emerging that far-left librarians have been implementing it in their own unofficial fashion. Especially troubling is what appears to be an unspoken policy of de facto censorship that hinders the public`s access to centrist, conservative and pro-American books and material.

Recently, attorney J. Edward Pawlick did democracy a great service by reporting the results of searches in 35 Massachusetts libraries for eleven important conservative books. Their paucity or absence in library collections led Pawlick to assert, ``The professional librarians appear to be the leaders of the censorship effort.`` He further stated, ``If they wish to censor, they don`t have to burn anything. They just refuse buy the book. It`s very tidy and very clean.``

Nor is the problem limited to Massachusetts. Conservative patrons of public libraries throughout the country have long complained that books by liberal authors -- particularly new releases -- are promptly ordered and never in short supply, while books by conservatives or on conservative themes seem to make it onto the shelves months after publication, if then.

I am not a professional investigator, but simply someone who has worked as a librarian. The worrisome information presented here is the full extent of my knowledge of this problem, and I have no answers or solutions. But surely these revelations lead to questions that need answering:

1. What is the full extent of the relationship between elements within the American Library Association and terrorist organizations, and exactly which terror groups are involved?

2. Considering the fact that U.S. taxpayers, to a remarkably large extent, pay for the transportation, accommodations, and compensation time of library personnel attending the semi-annual ALA conventions, has the American Library Association been violating the law by engaging in activities championed by those of its members animated by an anti-Israel agenda -- activities that include sending the anti-Israel resolutions to the U.S. State Department, the U.N., and Arafat?

3. How many more biased condemnations of the only democracy in the Middle East will the ALA`s Israel bashers and group masochists (sadly, there are some Adam Shapiro/Noam Chomsky types involved) manage to push through?

4. Will the American people be complacent while members of the ALA vocally campaign against tighter security measures in the war against terrorism (the ALA was a fierce opponent of the U.S. Patriot Act that Congress passed by an overwhelming majority), while encouraging the censorship of books, periodicals, and audio-visuals which do not conform to a leftist agenda?

5. The latest ALA Council`s implicit condemnation of Israel (more often than not, the condemnations have been explicit) calls for an ``investigative`` group to be sent to the Palestinian-controlled territories. Who will be footing the bill for that and what will be its composition? Will the ``librarian-investigators`` endanger the lives of Israelis?

6. What are the chances that any funds the ALA transfers to Arafat`s people, purportedly for ``rebuilding Palestinian libraries and cultural institutions`` will end up in one of Arafat`s private Swiss bank accounts? And how much of that money will be used to purchase bullets and bombs for the murder of innocents?

The time is long past due for Americans to view both the American Library Association and their local public libraries with greater scrutiny.

N. Leonard Tolkan is the pseudonym of a veteran librarian who, for obvious reasons, chooses to remain anonymous.

Readers wishing to contact the ALA may do so by calling its toll-free number: 1-800-545-2433. (Ask for the executive offices.) The president of the ALA is Maurice (Mitch) Freedman ( and the president-elect is Carla D. Hayden (