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Jewish Public Library reverses decision, puts Montreal author's books back on shelf

Montreal author Elise Gravel. SOURCE: Elise Gravel Montreal author Elise Gravel. SOURCE: Elise Gravel
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The Jewish Public Library has reversed its decision to remove a Montreal author’s books from its shelves over controversial social media posts.

Elise Gravel’s books were temporarily removed from display, and only available on request.

In an email to CTV News on Thursday, the library’s executive director, Alain Dancyger, confirmed the change: “All her books are in open access, on the shelves,” he wrote.

An award-winning children's author and illustrator, Gravel has come under fire recently over her social media posts about the Israel-Hamas war.

Critics have argued Gravel has expressed anti-Israel views. Since the conflict erupted in October, Gravel has accused the Israeli government of bombing children and oppressing Palestinians.

In a recent post on X, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) said Gravel's comments "contribute to the alarming rise in antisemitism."

On Sunday, a small protest was held by the Montreal chapter of Independent Jewish Voices to "show our support for censored Quebec author Elise Gravel and to denounce the reprehensible act of book banning."

An informal group of Montreal friends and writers launched a petition to denounce what they considered a form of censorship. The petition collected close to 300 signatures.

In a statement provided to CTV News, the library said it “welcomes all the opinions and comments it has recently received from members, partners, and the public.”

The statement went on to say: “The JPL supports, defends, and promotes equitable access to the widest range of information, and resists calls for censorship and the adoption of systems that deny or restrict access to the written word. The JPL, like any library, upholds every individual’s right to express their particular point of view in accordance with universal principles of intellectual freedom, without endorsing that point of view. Accordingly, all collections held by the JPL remain accessible.”

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