ADL Urges American Library Association to Rescind Biased Anti-Israel Resolution

Posted: 1/21/2003

New York, NY, January 21, 2003 The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on delegates to the American Library Association (ALA) Mid-Winter Meeting, set for January 24-27 in Philadelphia, to rescind a biased, anti-Israel resolution passed at its annual meeting last year. The resolution harkens back to highly political anti-Israel resolutions passed by the ALA a decade ago.

"As guardians of information and guarantors of free speech, librarians bear a responsibility for providing unbiased, factual information to the public," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "This biased, inaccurate resolution undermines that role and is a stain on the profession. We call on the ALA leadership to rescind this resolution and to recognize that in taking sides with such highly politicized and biased statements, the organization undermines the very purpose of their profession, which is to ensure that the public has free and unfettered access to all points of view."

The resolution, "On the Destruction of Palestinian Libraries, Archives, and Other Cultural Institutions" was passed by ALA Council members at its national meeting last June.

There is no factual basis for the allegations made in the resolution. Palestinian libraries, archives and other such institutions have not been targeted. While the resolution implicitly blames Israel for this alleged "destruction," no context is provided to explain the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, the ALA has been silent on the deliberate destruction of Israeli academic, cultural and artistic facilities, resources and individuals by Palestinian terrorism, such as the July 2002 terrorist attack on Hebrew University and the murder of a member of the university library staff.

In the early 1990's, the ALA passed a number of highly politicized and biased resolutions accusing Israel of censorship in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the alleged deportation of a reputed West Bank librarian. A 1992 anti-Israel resolution was rescinded in 1993. Other such resolutions remain on the ALA record books. Then, as now, the resolutions were one-sided in their criticism of Israel alone and in failing to offer any context for Israeli actions in the territories.