Home : The Great Book Robbery: the Fate of Palestine’s Private Libraries

I was struck by an article on PublishingPerspectives.com that described a new movie, The Great Book Robbery by Amsterdam-based Israeli director, Benny Brunner.

According to the film’s website:

70,000 Palestinian books were systematically “collected” by the newly born state of Israel during the 1948 war. The story of the “collected” books is at the heart of our film.

The drive to “collect” the books came from the management and librarians of Israel’s National Library – a leading cultural institution of the Zionist movement and the state of Israel – where all the valuable books ended up. Another forty thousand (40,000) Palestinian books were “collected” in Haifa, Jaffa, Nazareth and other places.

What if the political winds blew away the books in your private library? What roles do books, poets, and intellectuals play in political conflict? Of what use are warehoused books to either side? Is it of real strategic value to control the cultural archives of an occupied people? At what point should these books be made accessible to Palestinian libraries—or returned to the families of their owners? Certainly, the film alludes to just how powerful a book can be.

The complete film (with commentary from a political organization) can be viewed online:

P.S. I will not be hosting debate here about Middle East politics. Those with political, rather than book-centric perspectives are encouraged to watch the film and then share their opinions on the numerous forums that exist for that purpose.


The Great Book Robbery: the Fate of Palestine’s Private Libraries — 3 Comments

    • Hey Linton. I’m sure it will spark plenty of debate but it’s book-related content and I find it interesting and worth sharing. I’m not promoting an agenda—just sharing the good stuff. Always good to see you here.

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