Children’s Books Misused by Library for Indoctrination
A Roosevelt Island couple is taking a stand against what they say is anti-Israel propaganda in their local library. Asaf Eyal and his wife have borrowed five pro-Palestinian children’s books from the New York Public Library (NYPL) branch on the island and have no plans to return them, in an effort to prevent what they believe is “indoctrination” of young readers.
The controversial books were prominently displayed during “Read Palestine Week” at the branch, with several titles about Palestinians placed next to books about indigenous peoples. The couple believes this was a deliberate move by the library manager to draw a connection between Palestinians and Native Americans, portraying Israel and Jews as colonizers rather than indigenous to their land.
“It’s pretty easy to understand what they’re doing. They are trying to connect between these two identities, and make Israel and Jews look as if we are colonizers and not indigenous to our land,” said Eyal.
Among the books on display was “We’re in This Together,” written by anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour, in which she offers her one-sided view of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Another book, “These Olive Trees,” tells the story of a Palestinian girl who was driven off her land during a “war” – an enemy depicted with ghostly white hands throughout the book.
The New York Public Library promoted Palestinian propaganda books during “Read Palestine Week.” Several titles about Palestinians were purposefully arranged within an “indigenous people’s” display with books about Native Americans, to promote the lie that “Palestinian” Arabs as… pic.twitter.com/mLjvyQwRP4
— Marina Medvin 🇺🇸 (@MarinaMedvin) December 9, 2023
When Eyal’s wife confronted a library employee about the display, the employee accused Israel of being an “apartheid” state and defended the display as a way to highlight the Palestinian experience.
Critics of the library’s display say it is promoting an agenda and using taxpayer money to do so. “These institutions are basically saying we don’t care about the public, we are doing what we think is good for you regardless of what you think,” said Jay Greene, a senior research fellow at the Center for Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation. “They are imposing their agenda on others with other people’s money and that’s wrong.”
The NYPL released a statement condemning the display and promising to address the issue with library staff. “The New York Public Library strives to present unbiased, objective perspectives and information for the public. These principles are the bedrock of our reputation as well as the trust the public has in us,” the statement read. “This unacceptable display fell well short of these principles, which is especially distressing at a time when we are seeing a tragic rise in antisemitism.”
Queens GOP Councilwoman Vickie Paladino called for the removal of the display and accountability for those responsible. “Our libraries seem shamefully intent on propagandizing young people,” she said. “These book displays should be removed immediately and those responsible must be held accountable.”
The couple’s protest has drawn attention to the issue of bias in library displays and has sparked a conversation about the responsibility of public institutions to present all perspectives in an objective manner. The library has since removed the display and is reviewing its policies to ensure all viewpoints are represented in future displays.