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The Wisconsin Library Wars - USS Liberty

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posted on Jul, 18 2009 @ 04:06 PM

The village of Grafton, Wisconsin, chose to honor the USS Liberty by
naming its new library after the ship. The complaints that followed
filled the local newspapers and airwaves for months. This is the story
of the USS Liberty Memorial Public Library and the controversy that


By James M. Ennes, Jr.

After a long pause to stop the flow of blood, 1988 marked the tenth year
of the great Wisconsin library wars.

The first blows were struck in 1979 when supporters of Israel in
Milwaukee decided to flex their political muscle. In a test of power (some
would say to flaunt it), spokesmen for Israel renamed the library at the
University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee after an Israeli political leader.

"Let this place be known forever as the Golda Meir Library," they

To no surprise, a great hew and cry developed almost overnight as
students, faculty, and local citizens recorded their outrage.

Golda Meir

Golda Meir, born Goldie Mabovitch in Poland in 1898, had lived in Milwaukee
between her 8th and 21st year. She studied at the Milwaukee Teachers Seminary
of Milwaukee, later taught school briefly in Milwaukee, and then moved to
Palestine in 1919 to join the growing Jewish community there.

Golda Meir was respected by her fans, not for charm, tact, or
diplomatic skill, but for her stubborn Israeli intransigence.

When she became prime minister in 1969, Time magazine said of her:
"The essence of the woman is conviction, without compromise, and expressed
with all the subtlety of a Centurion tank. She seldom loses an argument...."

Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, himself a Jew, described her as
"a tough, obstinate, unintelligent woman, without discernment, wisdom or

Yet, among Arabs and many Americans, Golda Meir is best remembered
and often despised for her hard line against the Palestinian population, and
for her insistence that Israel had no "Palestinian problem" because, she said,
"It was not as though there was a Palestinian people and we came and threw
them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist."

The people of Wisconsin decided they wanted to honour the fallen of the USS Liberty by naming a library paid for with their tax dollars. Immediately, Israeli firsters descended upon the small community at the centre of this brewing storm slandering these patriots as anti-Semites and nazis.

The ciitizens prevailed and built a lovely library;

[edit on 043131p://pm3107 by masonwatcher]

posted on Jul, 18 2009 @ 04:52 PM
I invite Israeli firsters to comment and discuss this thread. There maybe some justifications for the attack on the people of Grafton we are not aware of and this is an opportunity to enlighten.

[edit on 043131p://pm3105 by masonwatcher]

posted on Jul, 18 2009 @ 06:58 PM
If that attack on the USS Liberty was accidental, you would think supporters of Israel in America would feel some remorse at what Israel had done, and want to help make amends.

However it seemed in this case that they would like to have followed it up with the sinking of the USS Liberty memorial Library.

posted on Jul, 18 2009 @ 07:33 PM
Any judge will tell you that neither side of a story will ever represent the Truth, but it lies instead somewhere in between the two.

Naming a Wisconsin library after a famous Milwaukee scholar, especially a woman, I think was a perfectly good and sound sentiment and honor. It was appropriate at the time it was inaugurated as such.

However, when times change and public viewpoints change, sometimes we must rescind those honors and change the names of public buildings. If you have a building in South Carolina named the John C. Calhoun Memorial Library then out of embarrassment of the Pro-Slavery, Anti-Abolitionism stance that our 7th Vice-President stood for, the name of the Library has to be changed.

Choosing the exact opposite for the name is going to a bit of an extreme, IMHO. Trying to get the name changed to the USS Liberty is not trying to undo a wrong, but using a loaded weapon to do so, and firing a salvo off the starboard bow. Really, those that thought up the name "USS Liberty Memorial Library" really did have an agenda beyond simply changing the name away from the Golda Meir Library.

It would be akin to asking that the John C. Calhoun Memorial Library in South Carolina be renamed to the Frederick Douglass Memorial Library. Frederick Douglass was an amazing man that certainly deserves a memorial in his name to honor his great legacy, especially something as appropriate as a Library...but replacing the name of an anti-abolitionist with the name of an abolitionist is more than just trying to sweep an embarrassment under the rug, but an actual slap in the face and insult to both parties.

Really, I don't see this being an honor to the memory of those who lost their lives serving on the USS Liberty. Their memory is instead being used a political instrument and as a tool. That is a most shameful way to remember them!

Originally naming the library the Golda Meir Library was appropriate for its time.
Changing the name of the Golda Meir library now that times have changed and we realize that she represented ideals that are not appropriate to this time and place gets a thumbs up as well.
Attempting to change the name to the USS Liberty Memorial Library gets a thumbs down. Right idea, but done in a politically explosive manner (not to mention being entirely in bad form).

Change the name of the Library Wisconsin, as that is Milwaukee Wisconsin's right. However, pick something that pertains to Wisconsin and Milwaukee in a tasteful and appropriate manner. Don't try to spark a political battle by being controversial in stirring up a hornet's nest. When you look for a fight, you'll get a fight and you won't find any sympathy from the rest of us.

POST-SCRIPT: Apparently I was a little confused. I didn't realize this was a war over two in Grafton and one in Milwaukee. In that case, let both the names stand as they are and both sides need to just let it go and put the whole issue to rest. Both sides really have gone to extremes over the issue and deserve what they have gotten.

[edit on 18-7-2009 by fraterormus]

posted on Jul, 18 2009 @ 07:44 PM
reply to post by fraterormus

Golda Meir was never a famous scholar but she was a famous alumnus. Further, change is eminently reasonable when the full realisation of the inappropriateness of a decision is recognised. In this case, it is about two libraries and those objecting to the USS Liberty name are Israeli firsters. They want to erase the lives lost on the USS Liberty from the pages of history.

The naming of a library after Golda Meir was a product of pro Israeli activists and not the ordinary folk of Grafton whose first loyalty is with service men.

[edit on 073131p://pm3105 by masonwatcher]

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