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Monday, March 17, 2008

Cleveland Library Censors Middle East Film and Panel

Last week in another case of censorship by those not wishing Israel to be criticized in ANY manner, the Cleveland-Heights-University Heights Public Library canceled the showing of the film, "Searching for Peace in the Middle East"

Read what the ACLU had to say about the matter:

Luckily, the peace group Cleveland Peace Action stepped in and arranged for the film with the panel following to be shown at a church the following evening.

ACLU accuses library of censorship for canceling Israeli-Palestinian film

Thursday, March 13, 2008
Jesse Tinsley
Plain Dealer Reporter

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is charging the Cleveland-Heights-University Heights Public Library with censorship for canceling a film on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict scheduled for Wednesday night.

Some critics of the film said it was biased against the Jewish state and recommended a more balanced program in the library's three-part series on the Middle East conflict.

"The cancellation of this event is blatant and shameful censorship of particular views," ACLU legal director Jeffrey Gamso said in a letter to the library. "Libraries should be a place where members of the public congregate and exchange ideas with one another

Library director Stephen Wood disputed censorship allegations.

"My commitment to the community is not to have censorship and is to be a bastion of free speech," Wood said. "It is incumbent upon us that presentations that the library makes are balanced and that we show all points of view."

However, Wood said it was called to the staff's attention that the 30-minute film was a "controversial and biased work."

The film, "Searching for Peace in the Middle East," was to be followed by a panel discussion by members of the Arab, Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities at the library's Lee Road branch.

Julia Shearson, executive director of the Cleveland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the film could have sparked dialogue among both sides here.

"I did watch the film, and I could see certain things that would make the Jewish community concerned," said Shearson, who was to moderate the event. "But the most moving part about the film was Israeli bereaved parents talking about their dead teenage daughter, and I thought that would help the Palestinian community see the wounds on the other side."

Wood said the library is forming a committee to get input on how to put the program together with all viewpoints. The library would then sponsor and reschedule the series, he said.

"Searching for Peace in the Middle East" was aired nonetheless Wednesday night at Christ the Redeemer Church in Cleveland Heights.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:, 216-999-4889


The following is the "controversial" film "Searching for Peace in the Middle East which caused the uproar at the library. If this is what caused the uproar, then something is VERY wrong.

Links for some of the organizations mentioned in the film:

Sharek Youth Forum


The Parent's Circle

Note the Right of Return is not emphasized in this film which would TRULY make Israel a "democratic" nation willing to live at peace with its' neighbor according to international law
From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country".

Also, the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza has NOT resulted in freedom for Gazans who have become prisoners of the siege, controlling all movement in and out of Gaza, both of people and of necessary items which can sustain them. Maybe these are a few of the things which would have been discussed by the panel. I sure hope so.

Please visit the Avaas site where you can sign the petition to end the siege of Gaza now.

Another petition can be signed HERE also.

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