And Speaking of Banned and Challenged Books…

A few days ago I posted an article about children’s books by Jewish authors, a disproportionately high number of which were found by Andrew Joyce, the writer of the article, to have been included on a list of “banned and challenged books” that is yearly maintained by the American Library Association (ALA).

Not long after I posted the article, a friend sent me an email about the children’s book you see above.

P is for Palestine has not, at least as of yet, made the ALA’s list, although that could be because it was only published this past November. Yet assuredly the book has been challenged (rather persistently), and may possibly have been banned in certain places as well. It is not currently available, for instance, at either Amazon or Barnes and Noble. The only online retailer that appears to be carrying it is Etsy.

According to Joyce, the books published by Jewish authors and which made the ALA’s list were found to have been objectionable by parents and school officials mainly due to their sexual content. For instance, one of the books he talks about, It’s Perfectly Normal, contains graphic illustrations of people engaging in sex acts. The book, which has been made available to ten-year-olds, has a section explaining that sexual intercourse “can involve the penis and the vagina, or the mouth and the genitals, or the penis and the anus.” Not surprisingly, the inclusion of the book in public school curricula has sparked considerable protest.

P is for Palestine has also sparked protests–but for an entirely different reason.

In November of 2017, shortly after the book’s release, a number of New York City Jews launched a campaign against a local bookstore after it scheduled an event featuring a reading and book signing by the author. The following was reported by the website Palestine Legal:

Last week, a popular independent book store in New York’s Upper West Side, Book Culture, received calls to censor and denounce a children’s book, P is for Palestine, after the book’s author, Professor Golbarg Bashi, publicized an event at the store on an Upper East Side mother’s blog.

I haven’t actually seen a copy of the book, but apparently it does not include any graphic depiction of the human anatomy or sex acts. On the contrary, like many children’s books, it attempts to expand children’s vocabularies by presenting them with words beginning with different letters of the alphabet (this I do know from reading the reviews). And the chief complaint from Jews who have gone ballistic over the issue is the “I” word–intifada.

“I is for Intifada, Intifada is Arabic for rising up for what is right, if you are a kid or a grownup!” reads one section of the book.

Additionally, there is a section reading, “J is for Jesus,” which probably also doesn’t sit too well with the kosher critics.

“We forcefully reject Palestinian efforts to persuade us that ‘intifada’ has a peaceful connotation,” wrote three rabbis in an open letter posted on the website of a local synagogue after the controversy erupted. “These are apologetics, at best, and more likely, attempts to confuse, whitewash, and distort. It is easy to philosophize from afar about the Arabic origins of the word ‘intifada’ if you have never experienced its murderous wrath or lived under its constant violent threats.”

Besides all the venom-spitting over the book, the article in Palestine Legal goes on to report on threats to block the store, Book Culture, from participating in an upcoming book fair sponsored by a local synagogue. The piece was published November 29, but on December 4, an update was posted noting that the store’s owners had been “forced to put out a statement which says that they do not endorse boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns for Palestinian rights, that they support Israel’s right to exist, and that they oppose terrorism.”

The statement issued by the store reads as follows:

  1. We regret that we did not fully appreciate the political or communal ramifications of the children’s book P is for Palestine by Dr. Golbarg Bashi, nor did we anticipate the pain and distress it has caused in our community. We now understand these much better.
  2. We oppose terrorism or other forms of violence perpetrated against Israeli civilians during the intifada or thereafter. Any impression from the book to the contrary is not our view.
  3. We support Israel’s right to exist.
  4. We do not endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).

In addition to the above written statement, one of the store’s owners, Chris Doeblin, produced an outpouring of contrition in an interview with a local media outlet–in an article headlined, “Rabbis and Bookstore Owner Break Bread After Split Over Palestine Book.”

The store, we are told by Palestine Legal, was finally allowed to participate in the book fair.

The author of P is for Palestine is Goldbarg Bashi, an Iranian-Swedish woman who formerly taught at Rutgers University. You can visit her website here. In a Facebook post in late November she talks about death threats and other hostile communications she has received since the release of her book. Here is an excerpt:

A small but very loud minority have accused my book of very serious but false charges. It is important for me to note, once again, that their disproportionate backlash against my book and my person (resulting in death threats, devaluing of my social-impact business) was initially to the mere title of the bookPalestine they claimed does not exist, even though the UN and scores of legitimate nation states on our globe recognize Palestine as a country, and how dare I (read an Iranian, or Muslim, or Arab, or Palestinian woman) publish such a book in “their” city New York.

There are 26 letters in the English alphabet, and in the Palestinian context the letter I most certainly stands for Intifada, as does B for BethlehemC for ChristmasJ for JesusF for FalafelK for KuffiyaN for Nazareth and so on.

Intifada means resistance and resilience against the global and the UN condemnation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine—it is a daily component of Palestinian life that is manifested in carrying the signs and symbols of Palestinian life with pride—carrying a Palestinian flag, wearing a Palestinian dress, cooking a Palestinian dish, protecting a Palestinian olive tree from being bulldozed etc are all examples of Intifada.

It would be irresponsible of an author of a book for Palestinian children (or e.g. Native American children) to ignore or whitewash the fact that their people have a resistance movement, most of which is manifested in peaceful protest—I have written a loving book for real Palestinian children with some of whom I grew up in a Swedish refugee camp—along with many other refugee children from around the world. My sense of moral responsibility emerged in those refugee camps not among the self-proclaimed powerful neighborhoods of New York City who racially-profile me, incite hatred and violence against my person and my social-impact start-up, and issue edicts to boycott and shut down bookstores for having dared to sell world’s first English language alphabet book on Palestine.

I wonder how many of the Jews who have gotten so upset over P is for Palestine, became equally as worked up over It’s Perfectly Natural.

Something tells me probably not many.

And I wonder how many of those who take such offense at the word “intifada” have ever bothered to go out and protest against any of  Israel’s murderous campaigns in Gaza?

Again, something tells me probably not many.

Whether the book P is for Palestine has specifically been banned from Amazon and Barnes and Noble I can’t say. All I know for sure is that as of this posting it is not available at either (unlike It’s Perfectly Natural, which is available at both). Certainly it’s possible that the author, for whatever strange reason, chose not to sell it through these two major online dealers.

But a question very much worth pondering at this point is whether any of this will be mentioned by the American Library Association when it publishes its next list of the most “banned and challenged books.”

And once again…though I hope I’m wrong…I have a feeling I know the answer to that as well.

Advertisements

MBS’s Lavish Buys: Some See Hypocrisy, Others Say They’re No Big Deal

Tom DiChristopher

29-12-2017 | 15:32

A series of recent reports have connected Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince – an avowed anti-corruption crusader – to lavish real estate, art and yacht purchases.

MBS luxury yacht

To some, the spending is a sign of hypocrisy and a threat to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s legitimacy. The reports come on the heels of his anti-graft campaign, which culminated in the detention of Saudi princes, officials and businessmen at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh.

But to others, the purchases are legitimate investments and nothing unusual for a future king.

The 32-year-old crown prince is a polarizing figure who has captured the financial world’s attention. First in line to succeed his father, King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz, he is spearheading Saudi Arabia’s economic transformation plan and has overseen an invasion of Yemen, a blockade of Qatar and a domestic crackdown on graft that has swept up high-profile royals.

As such, his every move is dissected by Middle East watchers for signs of turbulence in the world’s second-largest oil-producing nation and pre-eminent Sunni Muslim power. This month, a pair of New York Times investigations gave tea-leaf readers plenty to talk about.

First, the paper linked Crown Prince Mohammed to the record $450.3 million auction sale of a Leonardo da Vinci painting, “Salvator Mundi”. The following week, the Times traced the mysterious $300 million sale of Chateau Louis XIV in France to Crown Prince Mohammed. The paper also noted his roughly $500 million yacht purchase in 2015, reportedly a spur-of-the-moment splurge.

The Saudi government declined to comment about the chateau to the Times, but has disputed reports that a Saudi royal purchased the da Vinci on behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed.

In light of the anti-corruption arrests, the chateau and yacht purchases send signals that are inconsistent with Crown Prince Mohammed’s social and economic reforms, said Robert Jordan, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia under President George W. Bush.

“The lack of judgement and the lack of self-awareness that this reflects I think is shocking,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday.

“There will be members of the royal family, others in the community, who are saying, ‘Wait a minute. This guy is just the biggest hypocrite in the world.’ So, I think he’s got to be very careful to balance that,” said Jordan, now an adjunct political science professor at Southern Methodist University.

But others say Crown Prince Mohammed’s spending habits and his corruption crackdown are separate issues, and those who conflate them might fuel misconceptions about public opinion Saudi Arabia.

Crown Prince Mohammed is trying to rein in widespread corruption, not discretionary spending by the future king, said Bernard Haykel, professor of Near Eastern studies at Princeton University. He says Saudis don’t consider splashy purchases to be corruption, nor do they typically object to wealthy princes investing in assets with tangible value like overseas property, yachts or artwork.

“This is not a guy who is going to Monaco and dropping $100 million on gambling,” Haykel told CNBC on Wednesday. “That would be a very different kind of story.”

While Western media are focused on the purchases, the average Saudi is more concerned about the introduction of a new value-added tax and the ongoing reduction in fuel subsidies, said Haykel, who recently traveled to Saudi Arabia. These Saudis worry that their incomes will not rise to meet higher costs.

Haykel says wealthy Saudis who say they built their fortunes through legitimate channels are “ecstatic” that Crown Prince Mohammed cracked down on allegedly corrupt princes and officials. They see the type of corruption he is targeting, like bribe-taking and skimming funds for development projects, as a burden on the system, Haykel said.

Still, Haykel says Crown Prince Mohammed has not clearly communicated his motives for the crackdown either at home or abroad.

Saudi youth have also emerged as a base of support for the crown prince due to his social reforms, notes Simon Henderson, director of the Gulf and energy policy program at the Washington Institute. At least for the moment, he said, they are forgiving his extravagances as Saudi Arabia prepares to lift a ban on women driving and rolls back restrictions on entertainment.

Still, Henderson cautions that Crown Prince Mohammed is treating some corners of the royal family and the religious Islamic establishment with “disdain.” He’s getting away with it because royals are scared and religious figures don’t want to be marginalized, but the crown prince’s ambition could cost him in the future, Henderson noted.

“My guess is that the ulema are waiting for him to make a big mistake or for a surprise event and for him to come to them for political help,” he told CNBC in an email, using a word for religious scholars. “At which point they will say ‘we warned you’ and exact a price for their support.”

Source: CNBC, Edited by website team

‘War to Save the Children’ — Talk By Vanessa Beeley

Recently Vanessa Beeley discussed the cynical manipulation of children to promote war in Syria.  Entitled “War to Save the Children,” her presentation was given as part of a London event entitled “Media On Trial.” It is a very important talk, and Beeley does a superb job of underscoring the hypocrisy behind the so-called “humanitarian interventions” so incessantly pursued by those who decidedly are not humane. The irony here of course: that the “war to save the children,” as it were, is in reality a war that kills children.

Held last month at a church in London, the Media On Trial event was organized by Frome Stop War, an independent anti-war group formed in 2011 in response to the bombing of Libya.

Nasser Kandil: Hypocrisy and deceit sign weakness المناوة والخداع علامة ضعف

Related Videos

 

Trumps UN Speech, Hypocrisy and Lies

Related

 

Saudi Arabia: What’s Really Behind Trump’s Hypocrisy?

July 14, 2017 (Ulson Gunnar – NEO) – US President Donald Trump’s support came in no small part from those Americans who believe terrorism, and more specifically, “Islamic” terrorism pose an existential threat to the United States and the wider Western World.

It is curious then that President Trump’s first trip abroad was to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the sociocultural source code of the very extremism infecting both the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as well as the wider, global extremism it inspires and fuels everywhere from Southeast Asia, western China and even in the streets of North America and Europe.

Far from a geopolitical gaff, US associations with Saudi Arabia and their mutual link and contribution to (not fighting against) terrorism is increasingly becoming an embarrassing, “open secret.”

It was the US Defense Intelligence Agency in a 2012 memo leaked to the public that revealed the creation of terrorist organizations like the Islamic State (referred to in the memo as a “Salafist principality”) were encouraged by “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey.”

Leaked emails from former US Secretary of State and 2016 US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton would include direct references to Saudi Arabia and Qatar in regards to their complicity in arming the Islamic State. More specifically, both nations were accused of, “providing clandestine financial and logistic support” to the Islamic State.

While the US postures to the world as engaged in a global war on terrorism, it is clear that those nations in the Middle East cooperating closest with Washington are in fact those also perpetuating this seemingly endless war. Why?

It turns out that perpetual war is a lucrative affair in both terms of acquiring wealth and power. It is this equation of wealth and power that takes precedence, even at the expense of narrative continuity and political legitimacy.

Dollars, Oil and Arms

Was President Trump’s visit to Riyadh to deliver a stern warning regarding its extensive history of state sponsorship of terror? On the contrary. It was to seal an unprecedented weapons deal with Saudi Arabia amounting to an immediate $110 billion, and $350 billion over the next 10 years, according to the New York Times.

The New York Times also revealed the participants in the massive arms deal to include Lockheed Martin.

It was no surprise then that US policy think tanks like the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) encouraged members to submit op-eds praising President Trump’s trip to prominent US and European media sources including The Hill.

The Hill’s op-ed, “Trump gets it right in Saudi Arabia,” for example, was penned by Anthony Cordesman, a CSIS member. His op-ed would conclude by passionately arguing:

This speech is the right beginning — in remarkably well crafted terms — and it deserves bipartisan and expert respect.

It is no surprise considering the sponsors who keep the lights on at CSIS and Mr. Cordesman in a job. The think tank’s most prominent corporate donors include Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and, most telling of all, Lockheed Martin. It is also sponsored by Saudi Aramco, the central nexus of the US-Saudi petrodollar network propping up what many think tanks call the US-led “international order.”

Governments that donate to CSIS include the United States and Saudi Arabia itself. Together, corporate and government donations account for over 60% (34% and 27% respectively) of CSIS’ overall funding, according to its 2016 annual report.

Of course, a man’s “opinion” of President Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, including a multi-billion dollar arms deal favoring Lockheed Martin, will be positive, when the organization he works for is funded directly by both Lockheed Martin and the government of Saudi Arabia.

It is an example of  how the media in the United States actually works and how special interests, not the “truth,” shape narratives and drive agendas in complete contradiction to reality and the best interests of the vast majority on the planet.

Threatening America’s “international order” are competitors that exist independent of or even opposed to Washington and its corporate partners both on Wall Street and in Riyadh.

This is why US President Trump praised Saudi Arabia, a nation that serves as a virtual model for the Islamic State, and condemned Iran whose forces have fought for 6 years against both the Islamic State and Al Qaeda affiliates who have flooded into Syria and Iraq.

Clearly, based on the fact that the US’ closest ally in the Middle East is also one of the worst human rights offenders on the planet and the premier sponsor of global terrorism, ideological and humanitarian concerns are strictly a rhetorical facade.

It was never about ideology, humanitarianism or truly fighting “terrorism.” It is not a matter of “good and evil.” It is as simple dollars and cents, Saudi riyals, oil and arms and maintaining hegemony across a region and upon a planet to prevent this wealth and influence from being usurped either by a competitor of equal footing or a general trend toward multipolar geopolitical decentralization.

The media is awash in politically-oriented rhetoric attempting to divide and distract the public along strictly political lines. The common denominator among all of this propaganda is the fact that all of the narratives, no matter how apparently contradictory, conveniently allow the singular agenda of amassing dollars, oil and arms in pursuit of global hegemony to move forward.

As this very simple reality is understood and acted upon by more people than pay into this prevailing political facade that perpetuates it, multipolar geopolitical decentralization will continue to incrementally replace this current US-dominated “international order.”

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Are There any Limits to U.S. Hypocrisy?

By Anna Jagerun

June 28, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – Having ordered the attack on the al-Shayrat air field near the western Syrian city of Homs, U.S. President Donald Trump knew that the Syrian government hadn’t used any chemical weapons in Khan Shaykhun. At the same time the current U.S. administration was making every effort to develop an information campaign against Damascus.

This was reported by Welt am Sonntag, a German Sunday newspaper. An American investigative journalist and political writer Seymour Hersh stressed that actually the Syrian Air Force had targeted a two-story building, where extremists from various terrorist groups held meetings. According to Hersh, a bomb, dropped by the Syrian aircraft in Khan Shaykhun, caused a number of detonations. The explosion led to the formation of a cloud of noxious vapour. Washington was knowledgeable about that.

The attack became an ideal occasion for the U.S. to make further accusations against Damascus. After a short time, the world media started to spread staged footage and photos from Khan Shaykhun. Those materials showed injured people, who were allegedly dying in a suspected sarin chemical attack.

Permanent representatives of a number of Western countries to the UN also made every effort to put all responsibility for the incident on the Syrian government, headed by President Bashar al-Assad. Thus, Nikki R. Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, at a Security Council meeting even showed photos, allegedly proving the ‘crimes’ of the Syrian authorities against Syrians.

In addition, the U.S., France, Britain proposed the UN SC draft several resolutions on the Syrian gas attack. The documents were aimed to provide an international investigation with flight plans and logs, the names of all helicopter squadron commanders and to provide access to air bases where investigators believe attacks using chemicals were launched.

It also should be mentioned that despite Syria’s readiness to cooperate with the specialists from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), an official investigation into the incident in Khan Shaykhun has not been launched yet. Moreover, Western countries continue to expand sanctions against Syria to escalate the economic situation in the country and drag it into an endless war.

Seymour Hersh, referring to information received from a senior adviser in the U.S. intelligence services, reported that Washington had no evidence that the Syrian Army used sarin gas. The CIA also informed the White House that no poisonous substances were found in the al-Shayrat air field, and al-Assad had no reason to commit political suicide.

According to many Syrian experts, it is possible that the world will soon become aware of the United States’ participation in other major scandals and incidents in Syria.

This article was first published by Dissident Voice

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

Click for Spanish, German, Dutch, Danish, French, translation- Note- Translation may take a moment to load.

%d bloggers like this: