As a veteran of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) I have taken the same oath or affirmation that all IDF soldiers take: to protect and defend the Jewish people at the cost of my own life, if necessary.
I am also a U.S. Marine Corps kid (though I haven’t looked like a kid for many years) and an IDF dad with children and a grandchild living in the Land of Israel.
Therefore one may find it unusual to find me siding with (I don’t know what kind of) Jewish Voices for Peace and favoring the presentation of “P is for Palestine” by openly anti-Semitic author (and Rutgers University professor) Golbarg Bashi (“In Highland Park P is for Protest,” May 16).
My opinion is informed by history. As Adolf Hitler was invading Poland, the English language translation of “Mein Kampf,” scrubbed of its grosser ideas including what would become the Holocaust, was about to be published in the United States. An informed young journalist, Alan Cranston (who would later become a U.S. senator), worked with the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Congress to publish a version without the abridgment so that no one could be excused by claiming not to know what Hitler’s plans were. Unfortunately, the full impact of their publication was diminished. The pernicious lie — that what would happen to the Jews and the world, for that matter, if Hitler were to succeed was not foreseeable — persists to this day.
So by all means present this kiddie “Mein Kampf,” “P is for Palestine” so no one can claim that they are unaware of the violent anti-Semitic indoctrination of Palestinian children that takes place with the encouragement of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and the Palestinian Authority.
Highland Park Public Library is not, however, without criticism. If the idea was to present a view of Islam in honor of the month of Ramadan they have failed ponderously. Of all the contributions that have been made by Islam’s over 1,000-year history and practiced by nearly 25 percent of the world’s population, the library chose to present Muslims as child-abusing terrorists. Their action has caused the Highland Park Public Library to be guilty of both Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. All those involved in this decision need to be separated from the Highland Park library summarily and forever. Great shame has been brought upon an otherwise noble, diverse, and tolerant pillar of Highland Park’s social fabric.