[Marxism] CANADA: York Board cautious on controversial book

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Thu Mar 2 10:53:31 MST 2006

The play's producers didn't just ask the Zionists and then cave
in when the Zionists gave their (presumed) disapproval. As we
read, they tried to promote a broad public discussion of what
had happened to Rachel Corrie within the city of New York, a
very good thing. One of the other victims is the people living
in New York who are now denied the ability to see this show.

We shouldn't blame the victim for the harm done by the Zionists
who are on an hysterical rampage to prevent any publid debates
of what Israel is doing. The responsibility for the censorship
should be place on the Zionists, not the play's producers and
any comments or criticism of what the producers might or might
not have done ought better to be made in the context of giving
aid, comfort and solidarity to the censored production, and of
explaining how Israel's supporters are trying to prevent any
public discussion of what the Israeli state is doing. In this
case, they murdered Rachel Corrie, and Israel wants to take the
focuse off of what Israel did, toward blaming the victims. We
should keep this fundamental fact in mind.

Walter Lippmann
the key is that the director of the theater workshop solicited the 
opinion of NY Zionists as to whether it was OK to do the play, and 
cancelled it when they told him no it wasn't OK.

Board cautious on controversial book
York board at odds with library group
Depicts childrencaught in conflict
Mar. 2, 2006. 01:00 AM

The country's biggest school board is considering a report that would
allow Grade 6 students free access in school to a controversial
children's book on conflict in the Middle East.

But Grade 4 and 5 students at the Toronto District School Board would
need a note certifying their parents are aware they're reading the
book, Three Wishes, before they would be allowed to check it out of
the library.

In addition, in schools that end at Grade 5, the book would be kept
behind the library counter.

Three Wishes, by Simcoe-based author Deborah Ellis, has been named
one of 20 nominees for a Silver Birch Award bestowed by the Ontario
Library Association. Students in Grades 4 to 6 vote for their
favourites among 20 fiction and non-fiction selections chosen by a
committee of public and school librarians.

In the book, Ellis interviews children on both sides of the conflict.
They talk about living in a hate-charged atmosphere where suicide
bombings and gun-toting soldiers are everyday realities. But they
also discuss eating at McDonald's, being annoyed by siblings and what
they want to be when they grow up.

School boards across the province are reviewing the book after
criticism by the Canadian Jewish Congress, which says the book lacks
historical context and raises issues that children in those grades
aren't equipped to understand. It has said Three Wishes portrays
Israelis as "brutal occupiers" and Palestinians as "murderers who are
so intent on killing Israelis that they are prepared to blow
themselves to shreds."

"I am immensely disappointed. I think it's sad," said library
association executive director Larry Moore about the Toronto board's
response and the criticism of the book. "This is all censorship and
bullying." Moore said the 13-year-old Silver Birch program probably
will be strong enough to withstand the controversy but there are
those who believe they've already been damaged. There's no monetary
prize for the authors, but about 58,000 children vote annually.

Meantime, the Writers' Union of Canada yesterday called on the York
Region District School Board to reverse its decision to pull Three
Wishes from its Silver Birch selection list. The board hasn't taken
the book out of libraries but has deemed it inappropriate for Grade 4
to 6 children. "Books that deal with divisive issues should be
allowed to encourage discussion, not choke it off," said Ron Brown,
vice-chair of the union.

the key is that the director of the theater workshop solicited the 
opinion of NY Zionists as to whether it was OK to do the play, and 
cancelled it when they told him no it wasn't OK.

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