The Educational Bookshop in East Jerusalem is a place not to be missed if you are an English speaker interested in Palestinian solidarity work, or even just someone interested in Palestinian perspectives on the conflict in historical Palestine. If you are used to seeing only a few books at a time on the Israel-Palestine conflict you may go into sensory overload here – the place is literally packed ceiling to roof with books on the situation here. The place is also a coffee shop, so it’s a good place to find a book, and then chill for an afternoon.
But, you’ll probably have trouble finding a book at the Educational Bookshop, not because they don’t have what you are looking for, but because if you are used to only seeing a few titles at a time, chances are you don’t know what you are looking for. If this conflict interests you, you will go into a kind of panic where you want everything and can’t decide what to just buy and sit down with. That’s where the staff become helpful – if you spend a few minutes deciding what exactly about the situation you want to learn more about, simply tell the people behind the desk and they will jump out and magically pull the three books on that topic off the shelves for you. I asked for books on zionist paramilitary activity and palestinian street art, and without hesitation the staff member pulled the relevant books off the shelves.
I’ve been to the bookstore once so far, and I picked up Refusenik!: Israel’s Soldiers of Conscience. I will definitely drop by a few more times, and I might pick up a few more titles – although I am a bit worried about taking dissenting literature back through Israeli security at the airport. Either way, I will definitely go back there to take a coffee.