April Powers said that there are Jewish employees of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators “who have also been harassed and trolled relentlessly.”
By United With Israel Staff
As the dust settled on the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, its former diversity officer, April Powers, thanked friends on Tuesday for supporting her in the face of an anti-Semitism scandal that rocked the organization.
“Thank you all so much for your support in this terrifying moment for me and my family. For clarity, the SCBWI did not fire me or ask me to resign. There are good, kind people who work and volunteer there, many of whom are from marginalized, minority, or underrepresented backgrounds (including Jewish) themselves-who have also been harassed and trolled relentlessly,” Powers wrote on Facebook.
“While there is certainly more to this story, particularly horrific unmasked antisemitism outside of the SCBWI, I cannot comment further at this time other than to say I chose to resign because of the distraction this was causing. Your words and actions in support mean the world to me. Thank you. Thank you,” she added.
The story began on June 10. Following a spike in anti-Semitic violence around the world, the SCWBI issued a statement written by Powers condemning anti-Semitism. The statement made no reference to Israel, the Palestinians or the Mideast conflict.
The statement acknowledged that Jews “have the right to life, safety, and freedom from scapegoating and fear.”
Noting a sharp rise in anti-Semitic violence, the statement said, “Silence is often mistaken for acceptance and results in the perpetration of more hatred and violence against different types of people.”
Palestinians and Muslims denounced SCBWI because the statement failed to also acknowledge “Islamophobia.” One of the organization’s members, Razan Abdin-Adnanin, claimed her comments posted on Facebook and Twitter were “erased” and “deleted” by Powers, who she also accused of blocking her on social media.
On Sunday, SCBWI executive director Lin Oliver issued an apology to Muslim and Palestinian members.
“SCBWI acknowledges the pain our actions have caused to our Muslim and Palestinian members and hope that we can heal from this moment,” Oliver said.
Oliver also announced that certain seats on the SCBWI’s Equity and Inclusion committee would be set aside for Muslims. The message also included an apology from Powers, who said removing “anti-Palestinian and anti-Israeli posts” from social media had been a mistake.
But the Post-Millenial reports that Abdin-Adnani’s comments in fact warranted removal.
Abdin-Adnani, it said, replied on Twitter to the original June 10 statement “with anti-Israel propaganda, justifying violence against Jews worldwide by hurling baseless accusations against the Jewish state. She also demanded that the organization issue a statement about Islamophobia in her tweets replying to SCBWI’s statement on antisemitism, essentially ‘all lives mattering’ the issue.”
According to the Post-Millenial, Abdin-Adnani “harassed the account so often that the statement condemning antisemitism had to be deleted and reposted 4 times before the Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer April Powers blocked Abdin-Adnani.”
Actress Debra Messing called out Abdin-Adnani. After several back-and-forth-tweets, Messing wrote: “A black Jewish woman, April Powers, was FIRED ( forced to resign) as Equality Director because an anti-semite hated her statement of condemnation against anti-Semitism.”
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