Monday, March 31, 2014

Exposed them to all the cruelty

GUEST: Hannah Mermelstein, school librarian and Palestine solidarity activist who has lead 25 delegations to the West Bank, talks about her trips to Palestine and the film "The Great Book Robbery."

What makes a Jewish school librarian from Brooklyn lead 25 delegations to Palestine? It all made sense by the end of our interview with Hannah.

In a librarian's world of strict definitions, apartheid is wrong. And it's as wrong on the twenty fifth trip as on the first. 

We spent the interview, however, talking about those who went with her delegation. In the beginning, they were mostly young American Jews turned off by the "Birthright" trips to Israel, an all-expense-paid immersion in Zionist doctrine. For these young people, a trip to the West Bank exposed them to all the cruelty behind the apartheid propaganda of Israel.

As Hannah's trips continued, the makeup of the delegations changed. Participants became of all ages and faiths. The catharsis of discovery became something that all Americans could involve themselves in, and they did. Delegations, however, didn't include those still believing in Israel's right to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their land. As Hannah put it, the trips don't change people's minds as much as deepen their understanding of racism and colonialism. 

Hannah will be our special guest this Friday:
Friday, April 4, KINGSTON: Films of Palestine Series presents “The Great Book Robbery” from: 7:00pm - 8:30pm. "The Great Book Robbery” describes the theft of Palestinian culture, a multi-layered story that includes dramatic location filming, eyewitness accounts, archival footage, pictorial material, C.G.I. computer generated images, documents and culture critiques. (60 minutes). 

SPECIAL GUEST: Hannah Mermelstein, school librarian and solidarity activist who has led more than 25 delegations to Palestine. Sponsored by: Middle East Crisis Response and Hudson Valley Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

LOCATION: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Catskills, 320 Sawkill Road, Kingston, NY 12401. Contact: or 518 678 2076 or

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