Facing a backlash from the Palestinian and Muslim communities, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) was forced to cancel one of its own. April Powers, chief equity and inclusion officer at SCBWI, tendered her resignation after failing to mention Islamophobia in a post about rising cases of antisemitism.
Powers, who introduced herself as being Black and Jewish in a welcome video last year, shared a statement that said Jewish people have the right to live in safety. Her post, shared earlier in June, reflected the alarming surge in anti-Jewish hate speech and violence this year.
While the statement did not mention Islamophobia specifically, it did invite people to "join us in not looking away in speaking out against all forms of hate, including antisemitism." Overall, it was a simple, harmless post.
Still, the post was criticized for not including a comment about Islamophobia and Palestinian discrimination and hate speech. (Related: The 'cancel culture' is losing its mind.)
"On behalf of SCBWI, I would like to apologize to everyone in the Palestinian community who felt unrepresented, silenced or marginalized," Lin Oliver, SCBWI's executive director, said in a statement. "SCBWI acknowledges the pain our actions have caused to our Muslim and Palestinian members and hope that we can heal from this moment."
Apparently, canceling Powers was a major part of the healing process. "As a remedy to these events, we have taken some initial steps. Effective immediately, we have accepted the resignation of April [Powers]," Oliver said in a statement.
Powers later apologized for not including Islamophobia in her statement and confirmed that she had parted ways with the SCBWI.
In a statement, shared on the SCBWI Facebook page on Sunday, June 27, Powers said: "By posting an antisemitism statement, our intention was to stay out of politics. I removed both anti-Palestinian and anti-Israeli posts, which in hindsight was not the right thing to do.
"I neglected to address the rise in Islamophobia, and deeply regret that omission. As someone who is vehemently against Islamophobia and hate speech of any kind, I understand that intention is not impact and I am sorry.
"While this doesn't fix the pain and disappointment that you feel by my mishandling of this moment, I hope you will accept my sincerest apologies and resignation from the SCBWI. I wish all of you success in our work because the world's children need your stories. All of them."
Oliver added: "I can assure you that this painful week has been a crucial learning experience for SCBWI. As we approach our 50-year anniversary, we pledge to correct any harm we have done and to redouble our efforts to promote equity and inclusion in the children's book field."
The statement was widely condemned in its comment section, with hundreds sharing their views about the decision of Powers to leave the organization. (Related: Sen. Ted Cruz warns: Disney yielded to cancel culture with Gina Carano firing.)
One said: "I could not disagree with this decision more. Why would there be any anti-Palestinian or anti-Israel comments on a post that was about antisemitism? April's statement on antisemitism didn't mention Israel or Palestine and it's horrifying that she should have to apologize for making what should have been an uncontroversial statement."
Another added: "So antisemitism is no longer worthy of your attention just because Islamophobia is also a problem? I am disgusted that despite the incredible rise in antisemitism lately, you have retracted a statement in support of Jews. Not Israelis – Jews. Our pain no longer counts to you just because someone else is in pain, too."
A third commenter posted: "This is ridiculous [and] shows you don't stand with Jews. Why would she condemn other things when focusing on antisemitism? That's called all lives matter kids. You can condemn one form of hate without including the other – it doesn't mean you don't care about anyone else."
Follow Fascism.news for more news and information related to cancel culture and suppression of opposing views.