New York librarians take subterranean action in solidarity with Gaza

Bookmarks by information workers in New York, calling attention to Israeli abuses in Gaza

Bookmarks by information workers in New York call attention to Israeli abuses in Gaza.

Librarians and Archivists with Palestine

Librarians and Archivists with Palestine took literary direct action to the New York subway system earlier this month, according to a statement released by the group on 2 August

The activists distributed bookmarks reading: “We are librarians and archivists who support Palestinian rights and oppose Israel’s bombing and siege of the Gaza Strip. We are here to share with you Palestinian literature in an effort to honor Palestinian life in the face of massacre.”

This was accompanied by performances of Palestinian-authored poetry, including Suheir Hammad’s ”What I Will,” which includes the lines:

“I will not/ dance to your war/ drum. I will/ not lend my soul nor/ my bones to your war/ drum. I will/ not dance to your/ beating. I know that beat./ It is lifeless…. I/ will not hate for you or/ even hate you. I will/ not kill for you./ Especially/ I will not die/ for you.”

According to Library and Archivists with Palestine’s statement on the action: “Reaction was mostly positive: some passengers applauded, some posed for pictures with the group, and others engaged in conversation. In all, LAP distributed almost 400 bookmarks.”

The organization has made the materials used for the action available on its website, including PDFs of the bookmark designs and poems.

The group also released a statement, co-signed with the Progressive Librarians Guild, which opposes Israel’s siege and current attacks on Gaza and the wider context of illegal occupation:

As librarians, archivists, and information workers we believe it is our ethical obligation to speak out in the face of injustice. We call on our peers and colleagues to demand an end to Israel’s military attacks, as well as an end to the ongoing siege of Gaza… We deplore the violence currently being inflicted by the Israeli military on the Palestinian people and on critical infrastructure … We recognize that the current attacks on Gaza are part of an ongoing history of colonial violence and occupation inflicted by the state of Israel on Palestinians for over six decades”

The statement urges Library and Archivists with Palestine members and others to take action, including boycotting Israeli goods and institutions and contacting political representatives.




Pay attention to the positive reception that these librarians got from ordinary NYers. Ordinary Americans who know the truth do not support Israel's brutal occupation and oppression of the Palestinians, nor do they support the use of our tax dollars by politicians to fund Israel's savage genocide of the Palestinians. It is in knowing the truth of Israel and Palestine that brings support to Palestinians and condemnation of Israel and that is why sites such as this are so important. Information is powerful. Thank you, Electronic Intifada. Thank you everyone - and NYC librarians - for what you do to expand the truth about Israel and Palestine.

Sarah Irving

Sarah Irving's picture

Sarah is a freelance writer and editor, author of a biography of Leila Khaled and of the Bradt Guide to Palestine, co-editor of A Bird is Not a Stone (a volume of Palestinian poetry translated into the languages of Scotland), and a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh. She has worked and traveled in Palestine since 2001.