Posted: 6/24/2014 7:49:00 PM
Author: Librarians for Fairness Research Committee

by Librarians for Fairness Research Committee

Note from Librarians for Fairness: The anti-Israel organization Librarians and Archivists to Palestine (LAP) has morphed into a new group. It will be hosting a program at the forthcoming American Library Association Convention on June 28, 2014, which is a Saturday (thus effectively barring at least some religious Jewish librarians from observing what ensues). The following is a much-expanded version of our first response, originally posted on July 5, 2013. We feel it raises some important questions.

A delegation of librarians and archivists traveled to Israel and the West Bank/Judea-Samaria on June 22. The delegates are due to return to their respective countries on July 5. They vaunt themselves as great humanitarians. We deem them not to be so.
Librarians for Fairness has some immediate, preliminary facts and questions to consider about this group, which has close ties with the American Library Association's so-called Social Responsibilities Roundtable, which, in turn, has a long history of anti-Israel bias.

1. Does LAP accept the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their homeland and Israel's right to exist as a state with a Jewish majority? (It now includes some
1.6 million Arab citizens, plus other minorities.)

2. LAP has voiced complete support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel (BDS), which even anti-Israel activist Professor Norman Finkelstein has condemned as a "cult" and as a group that seeks to bring about a “nonstarter”: the annihilation of Israel. Does it agree with that BDS goal? 

It is important to note that Omar Barghouti, the co-founder of BDS, holds a graduate degree in philosophy from Israel's Tel Aviv University and that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned BDS for being counterproductive and hurting the Palestinian economy. Abbas' wife was also recently treated in an Israeli hospital.

3. Is LAP really an objective observer, or did the members of the delegation express hostility to Israel even before they began their "fact-finding" mission?

4. LAP has uncritically accepted the statements made by anti-Israel sources that its members met on their trip. Did they conduct any research to check on the veracity of the claims they heard?

5. Prior to the trip, LAP slandered Israel, claiming that it practices apartheid. This accusation is illogic in the face of reality: an Israeli Arab judge sits on Israel's Supreme Court, and a different Arab judge had no fear in sentencing former Israeli President Moshe Katsav to seven years in prison for misconduct, Israeli Arabs serve in the Knesset (Israel's legislature), an Israeli Arab physician heads the Department of Emergency Medicine of Hadassah Hospital, a former Miss Israel is an Israeli Arab, Israeli Arabs (including Israeli Arab women) have full voting rights, there are Israeli affirmative action programs that favor Israeli Arabs for judicial appointments and university seats, and a Druze, Majalli Wahabi, has already served as the interim president of Israel. Arabs, Druze, Muslim Circassians, and other Israeli minorities even serve in the Israel Defense Forces, some of them attaining high military ranks, and an Israeli Arab woman was this year’s (2014) valedictorian at the Technion (Israel’s MIT). Israeli Arab families in great numbers are shopping and dining in Israel’s shopping malls, side by side with numerous families of all of Israel’s diverse ethnic groups, reflecting the kaleidoscope of the country’s ethnic and religious diversity.

6. Not once has LAP condemned terrorism against innocent Israeli men, women, children, and even babies. Do cases like the recent kidnapping (update as of 6/30/14: MURDER) of three Jewish Israeli teens and the killing of a 13-year-old Israeli Arab boy simply not bother its members?

7. Has LAP issued any statements that encourage peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors?

8. Why has LAP not condemned the blatant anti-Semitic hate literature, such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Hitler's Mein Kampf, which are so prominent in Arab libraries and have been widely promoted by Arab leaders?

9. LAP has not condemned the damage done to Israeli libraries and archives by terrorists. This includes the murder of five Israeli students in a Yeshivah library and the partial destruction of Haifa-based Arabic newspaper Al-Ittihad's historical archive by Hezbollah rockets. Dr. Ahmed Saad, the editor, said, “When I heard that our historical building was hit, I felt a lot of anger. This is a place [where] we all grew up, which contains real treasures.” The very existence of that newspaper archive is a refutation of LAP's false charge that no Palestinian archives exist in Israel. Several Hamas rockets have struck within inches of a public library entrance in the Israeli community of Sderot, causing injuries to a number of the library's patrons. Why has LAP not spoken out about any of these cases?

10. LAP has not condemned the continual, intentional, and wanton destruction of priceless Jewish antiquities on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which is carried out in hope of expunging the vast archaeological proof that Jerusalem has been the historic capital of the Jewish people since ancient times.

11. At least one extremist Aryan white power group has sold LAP organizer Josh MacPhee's book. (Search online for “Aryan Update + Josh MacPhee” for details). In addition, an organization called New Right-Australia/New Zealand, which bills itself as being “against modernity...elitist and anti-democratic” and which “rejects egalitarianism and political correctness,” sells MacPhee's book. Macphee is one of LAP's most active members. What is the full extent of his collaboration with right-wing extremist groups? 

12. There are a number of connections between LAP and the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), an anti-Israel organization with a history of supporting terrorists. A very prominent ISM member has voiced strong support for LAP, and LAP leader Hannah Mermelstein is a member in good standing of the ISM. According to our friend and adviser, investigative journalist Lee Kaplan, she “was deported from Israel years ago after it was determined that she was altering road signs, among other subversive ISM activities, including smuggling potential terrorists past checkpoints.”

13. Israel allowed LAP to carry out its “fact-finding” mission unhindered. Is that not a testament to the tolerance of Israel and its protection of all voices and all points of view?

14. LAP frequently voices concern for Palestinian refugees, but doesn't say a word about the plight of the 900,000 Jewish refugees who were forced to flee from Arab lands, many of whom lost all of their property. Does Jewish suffering not warrant LAP's concern?

15. LAP may not be aware that Israel is the only nation in the Middle East with a growing Christian population.

16. LAP has posted several cartoons on its website depicting Israel as an octopus. It is standard anti-Semitic fare to depict the Jewish People as an octopus, with tentacles enveloping the Earth. Julius Streicher, the Nazi propagandist (hanged at Nuremberg for crimes against humanity), frequently employed such drawings.

17. LAP has called for the release of imprisoned arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti, despite the fact that Barghouti was responsible for the murders of at least five Israeli civilians. Additionally, a member of LAP posed proudly next to a mural of a murderer, terrorist and airplane hijacker named Leila Khaled. In the mural, Khaled is holding an AK-47 assault rifle.

18. LAP has not made its sources of funding available to the public. Where does the group get its funding?

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