Our friend, the writer Howard Rotberg has penned a letter to City and Vancouver Public Library officials that is worth showing to a wider audience (with his permission). One of our readers has asked how can I attack the Library, when I am a staunch defender of freedom of speech. Howard makes the argument very clear:
I wish to lend my name to the body of Vancouver citizens who value decency and the upholding of minimum standards in the use of our library.Thanks, Howard.
You have announced that you are giving a forum as part of a “Freedom to Read” series on February 25th to Greg Felton author of "The Host and the Parasite: How Israel's Fifth Column Consumed America". Felton's thesis is that a Zionist "junta" was at work on Sept. 11, 2001, and that al-Qaida is a mere concoction in a secret plan to subvert the American Constitution, demonize Muslims and commit mass murder. Felton is also an apologist for the book-banning Iranians.
Greg Felton has no problem getting his books published and is well heard in the sick society of anti-semites to which he panders. The anti-Israel message is just the current mask adopted by the vile anti-semite within. Unfortunately, anti-semitism is what ties the extreme right to the extreme left. The idea that the VPL is somehow upholding a “freedom to read” is laughable if it were not so sad.
The people whose books are really censored today are those like eminent professors Burr and Collins, whose book Alms for Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World has just been shredded by Cambridge University Press after a rich Saudi threatened them with a huge libel suit. They made the determination that they could not afford the suit, and agreed to destroy all copies.
Or Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin Ph.D, whose new book on the psychology of terrorists was withdrawn by her publisher after Islamist threats against the publisher.
Or myself, whose book, The Second Catastrophe: A Novel about a Book and its Author (Mantua Books) was banned by Chapters/Indigo after an 18 year old Palestinian book clerk made a fraudulent allegation about what I said at a book lecture at one of their stores, when I was attacked and prevented from speaking by Arabs calling me a “f---ing Jew”.
Instead of really upholding the rights of banned authors, you give credibility to a sick, anti-semite, who should not be dignified with the forum you give him.
It is time you understood where the demands for censorship and book banning are coming from – Radical Islam.
We Jews have always upheld freedom of expression, but without some responsibility from our cultural elites, we are witnessing the debasement of our cultural values. I do not myself advocate book-banning, but I do advocate a responsible use of our public resources, and your actions are clearly irresponsible.
You have created a “lose-lose” scenario. If he is now uninvited, you allow him ammunition for his sick fantasy that Jews are controlling the world. If he is allowed to speak, you dignify his sick views with all the dignity of our Public Library system. Surely you exercise responsible judgment when ordering books, and you should do so in your choice of speakers. The only responsible thing you can now do, is make sure you invite a speaker, with real credentials, who can follow Mr. Felton, and give the facts and negate what your audience will hear from Felton.
Howard Rotberg B.A., LL.B
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