(May 10, 2019 / JNS) In response to pushback from the local Jewish community, the public library in Highland Park, N.J., has postponed a picture-book author event with Golbarg Bashi, author of P Is for Palestine.
"Due to extraordinary public response about the P Is for Palestine author talk, we would like our patrons to know what we are doing," posted the Highland Park Public Library on Facebook on Tuesday. "In line with the Highland Park Public Library's policy dealing with patrons' objections to library materials, the matter has been referred to the Highland Park Public Library Board of Trustees."
The next board meeting, which is open to the public, is scheduled for May 20.
"In the meantime, the program has been removed from the schedule, pending the Board's final decision," stated the library in the Facebook post.
In the children's book, which is illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi, it states that "I is for Intifada. Intifada is Arabic for rising up for what is right, if you are a kid or a grownup!"
The May 19 event was apparently funded by the anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace, reported The Jewish Link, citing a public social-media post by anti-Zionist Sakina Ali.
Bashi, a Middle Eastern Studies instructor at Rutgers University with an anti-Israel history outside of writing the book, has signed an open letter to "Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, condemning him for participating in the Jerusalem International Film Festival and calling on him to join the BDS movement," according to Canary Mission.
"I was invited by a progressive community group to read from my children's book P is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book at a library in NJ this month, yet when Israel Advocates found out, they stopped it. So much for the First Amendment and 'Muslim women's empowerment.' I can't wait for the 40th book on some poor Muslim girl waiting to be given a pen and a notebook to write in by the US military to be prominently displayed on the shelves of American libraries as proof of their [humanity] and [attempts] to 'diversify" kids literature. #PIsForPalestine #BookBanning," posted Bashi on Facebook on Wednesday.
Highland Park resident Josh Pruzansky, who formerly served as regional director of the Orthodox Union's Advocacy Center, told The Jewish Link, "Nobody is advocating against the inclusion of any religion in our library. We are advocating against violence, which the intifada is all about."
"My old hometown thought it would be cool to teach children, in a town full of Jews, that I Is for Intifada. Be a good liberal citizen and kill the Joos in your class, kids," posted Seth Mandel, a Rutgers alum and the executive editor of The Washington Examiner magazine, on Twitter.