On Israeli Censorship

Adopted at 1992 Annual Conference

WHEREAS ALA in its Policy #57.3 states the "threats to the freedom of expression of any person become threats to the freedom of all, therefore ALA adopts as policy the principles of Article 19 of the Universe Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly. The association will address the grievances of foreign nationals where the infringement of their rights of free expression is clearly a matter in which all free people should show concern;" and

WHEREAS ALA has over many years voiced it criticism of various countries for practicing censorship and other endangerments to intellectual freedom, in the hope that these countries would stop these practices in response to international concern; and

WHEREAS ALA reaffirmed its commitment to Article 19 in 1991 by quoting it in Policy #57.4: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers;" and

WHEREAS the Article 19 International Center on Censorship's 1991 World Report on Information, Freedom and Censorship (co-published by ALA) documents the following forms of censorship by the Israeli government in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza: banning publications and books; harassing, imprisoning, and deporting journalists; closing universities, research institutions (and libraries); censoring telecommunications, etc.; and

WHEREAS Israel considers itself to be a democracy established with the express purpose of creating a safe haven for the Jewish people; and

WHEREAS Israel has enjoyed a special relationship with the United States as the recipient of the largest amounts of annual U.S. aid per capita; and

WHEREAS the special relationship and annual aid helps offset the costs of the 25-year Israeli military occupation, making the U. S. a party to these censorship practices and other violations of human rights; and

WHEREAS the tight censorship in the Occupied Territories serves to stifle dialogue and nonviolent expression which are preconditions for a just and peaceful solution to the Palestine/Israel conflict, and has led to serious forms of censorship in Israel itself;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association calls upon the Government of Israel to end all censorship and human rights violations in the Occupied West Bank, Gaza, and in Israel itself; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association encourages representatives of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples in the quest for a peaceful and just solution of their conflict, including an end to the prolonged military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association encourages its members to develop ways to support Palestinian and Israeli librarians, journalists, educators, and others working for peace, human rights, and freedom of information and expression, and that ALA establish a Task Force toward these ends; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this resolution be sent to the Israeli Government, the U.S. Department of State, the United Nations, the Article 19 Organization, the International Federation of Library Associations, and the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

SRRT Newsletter Issue 105, pp. 2-3