Why a children’s book has Zionists losing their minds

US Politics
on 52 Comments

In this moment of nuclear proliferation, police brutality, resurgent Nazism, and stunning inequality, Zionists have managed to find the real enemy:  a children’s book.  The offending title, P is for Palestine, was recently published by Golbarg Bashi and Golrokh Nafisi after a long crowdfunding campaign.  Zionists have reacted as if it’s the Hamas charter.  

My wife and I bought the book for our five-year-old son.  It was a logical purchase.  Two of his grandparents are Palestinian, after all.  The kid wasn’t especially excited about the book, but he likes it.  I feel the same way.  The text is an inventory of cultural and geographic objects in alphabetical format, framed by (often beautiful) illustrations.  Filled with romanticized cultural imagery, it takes about five minutes to read.

M is for Miftah, Key of Return…Mama’s Mama, and my Jiddah’s Mama’s, for which I yearn! (Image from P is for Palestine)

In other words, it’s a typical children’s book.  The only way it differs from its numerous peers in the “diversity” marketplace is that the foreign country it glamorizes is Palestine.  Therefore, it is ipso facto intolerable to professional Zionist organizations.

We could just chalk up the latest iteration of Zionist anguish to a heightened sense of disquiet thanks to Israel’s steep decline in global prestige, pushed along by a burgeoning BDS movement.  It helps explain the overwrought reaction to a political document written in crayon.

There is more at work, though.  Something about P is for Palestine touched a nerve.  When does a children’s book get coverage in the New York Post (“Page Six,” no less), the Forward, Ha’aretz, the New York Daily News, and Breitbart?  Whenever Israel’s supporters get upset, plenty of publications are happy to amplify their grievances.  That the outrage commenced immediately upon the book’s release illustrates how Palestine can abruptly create or alter a news cycle in the United States.

But something seems a bit more desperate about this gambit, almost as if a cartoon Palestine has the special ability to summon deadly serious affection.  It likely has to do with the nature of the genre.  Children’s books aren’t merely precious entertainment; we imagine them to be conduits for the transmission of certain values.  Ever since David Ben-Gurion’s dramatically erroneous prediction that future generations of Palestinian children would forget the nakba, teaching and learning about Palestine has been a sore spot for Zionists (look at how the issue fares in secondary schools and universities).

Simply put, nothing threatens Israel more than the survival of Palestinian identity through successive generations, which is exactly what P is for Palestine tries to accomplish.  Zionists don’t oppose its content; they oppose its mere existence as a document to historical memory.  Zionists consistently express disdain for Palestinians who refuse to validate Israel.  Even kuffiyehs and falafel in caricature become an existential threat.

P is for Palestine makes manifest something Zionists fear but cannot control: from Santiago to Toronto, Athens to Oslo, Abu Dhabi to Aleppo, Palestinians continue to claim and honor their ancestral land. Zionists know these transactions happen and can do nothing to stop them.  The book provides an ocular target for their existential anxiety.

Israel enjoys a devastating military, an ever-growing land base, and an advanced economy, but it is afflicted by a remarkably fragile psyche.  There’s no other reason for its devotees to go ballistic over a self-published children’s book.  Polls repeatedly show that American Jews, youth in particular, have a declining attachment to Israel.  Meanwhile, Palestinians are united by a desire to reclaim their homeland.

Nor should we overlook the demographic for which P is for Palestine is intended.  For 70 years, Israel has visited untold misery on Palestinian children.  The state’s desire for ethnic purity has politicized notions of childhood in the majoritarian imagination.  The book presumably transforms Palestinian kids into the type of political creatures that Zionists are obliged to hate.

Nation-states are tenuous.  Indigeneity is not.  It constantly announces itself to the forces that seek its destruction.  In turn it unceasingly confers to itself the power to destroy—and it does so without weapons or without deception, but with the simple timelessness of being.

P is also for paranoia.  Insofar as one’s political fetish requires Palestinians to capitulate or disappear, the condition is perfectly justified.

About Steven Salaita

Steven Salaita's most recent book is Inter/Nationalism: Decolonizing Native America and Palestine.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

52 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    December 1, 2017, 2:25 pm

    Z is for Zoned-out.
    Good book review review (and good book review).

  2. guyn
    December 1, 2017, 4:05 pm

    Excellent article, Steven.

  3. Maghlawatan
    December 1, 2017, 5:31 pm

    Israel is no different to other settler colonial countries where identity is built on oppression. After world war 2 many Jews felt hatred against Germany. Zionism turned this hatred against innocent Palestinians . This is exemplified in how Israel treats Gaza. Israeli society is insane . Luckily for the rest of us the condition cannot be stabilised. Israel can’t reach a steady state. It is a systemic crisis .

    • Misterioso
      December 2, 2017, 10:06 am

      @Maghlawatan

      I think its important to remember that Zionists’ “hatred against innocent Palestinians” was well entrenched decades before WWII.

      To wit:

      The mistreatment of Palestinians by Jewish settlers caused eminent Jewish essayist, Ahad Ha’am, great distress. In 1891 he wrote: “They treat the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, unscrupulously deprive them of their rights, insult them without cause, and even boast of such deeds; and none opposes this despicable and dangerous inclination.” (Ha’am, Ahad, by Am Sheideweg, Berlin 1923, vol.1, p.107; quoted by Hirst, The Gun and the Olive Branch, p. 24)

      Ha’am concluded that this aggressive behaviour on the part of Jews stemmed from anger “…towards those who remind them that there is still another people in the land of Israel that have been living there and does not intend to leave.” (Hans Kohn, Zionism Reconsidered, Michael Selzer, ed. London: 1970, p. 195; quoted by Nur Masalha, Expulsion of the Palestinians…, p. 7)

      Theodor Herzl’s diaries not only confirm that his objective was the establishment of a “Jewish state” in Palestine, but that it would be an expansionist state. In the year of his death he described its borders as being “…in the north the mountains facing Cappadocia [Turkey], in the south, the Suez Canal [Egypt] in the east, the Euphrates [Iraq].” (Theodor Herzl, The Complete Diaries, 11 p. 711)

      In true nineteenth century colonialist fashion, Herzl contended that his “Jewish state” would protect Europe and its superior culture from the uncivilized East. “We should there [in Palestine] form a portion of the rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism.” (Theodor Herzl, Judenstaat (The Jewish State), 1896, p. 26)

      Even more revealing as to how Herzl intended to deal with Palestinians is the “Charter for Zionist Colonization of Palestine and Syria” which he drafted sometime between the summer of 1901 and early 1902. Much to his disappointment, however, he was denied the opportunity to present it to the Ottoman Sultanate. Article Vl of the charter called for Istanbul to grant the Zionists, in the form of the Jewish-Ottoman Land Company (JOLC), “complete autonomy, guaranteed by the Ottoman Empire” while Article III gave them in effect, the right to deport the native population to other areas of the empire. Article 111 “[pertained] to the Palestinian and other Arab owners and inhabitants of the three categories of land to be purchased/owned by the JOLC – the large and small private landholdings, the Sultan’s state domain, and the land for which there is no title.”

      Israel Zangwill, the influential Anglo-Jewish essayist and Zionist first believed that the Palestinians would simply “fold their tents and slip away.” It was Zangwill who first voiced the lie that Palestine was a “land without a people, waiting for a people without a land.” (Zangwill, Israel, “The Return to Palestine”, New Liberal Review 11, Dec. 1901 p 627, quoted by David Hirst, p. 19)

      In 1905, Zangwill contradicted himself during a talk in Manchester when he observed that Palestine was “already twice as thickly populated as the United States…. [W]e must be prepared to either drive out by the sword the [Arab] tribes in possession as our forefathers did or to grapple with the problem of a large alien population….” (Zangwill, Speeches, p. 210, quoted by Nur Masalah , Expulsion of the Palestinians…., 1992, p. 10)

      In the February 1919 issue of the League of Nations Journal, Zangwill proposed that the Palestinians “should be gradually transplanted” in Arab countries and at a public meeting in the same year he remarked that “many [Palestinians] are semi-nomad, they have given nothing to Palestine and are not entitled to the rules of democracy.” (Jewish Chronicle, Dec. 12 1919, quoted by Masalha, Expulsion…, p.14)

      In 1920, Zangwill proposed in The Voice of Jerusalem, that there should be an “‘Arab exodus’…based on ‘race redistribution’ or a ‘trek like that of the Boers from Cape Colony,’ which he advocated as ‘literally the only way out of the difficulty of creating a Jewish State in Palestine.’” He continued: “We cannot allow the Arabs to block so valuable a piece of historic reconstruction….To fold their tents and silently steal away is their proverbial habit: let them exemplify it now.” (Zangwill, The Voice of Jerusalem, p. 103, quoted by Masalha, EOTP pp. 13- 14)

      Other Zionist leaders saw the future Jewish state in Palestine not only free of Arabs, but the first step towards the creation of a much larger country. In 1918, Ben-Gurion described the future borders of the Jewish state as: “to the north, the Litani River; to the northeast, the Wadi’Owja, twenty miles south of Damascus; the southern border will be mobile and pushed into the Sinai at least up to Wadi al-`Arish; and to the east, the Syrian Desert, including the furthest edge of Transjordan.” (Teveth, Ben-Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs, pp. 34-34; cited by Masalah, Expulsion…, p. 87)

      In 1930 (when Jews privately owned only about four per cent of Palestine), Arthur Ruppin, a pivotal figure in political Zionism, wrote that displacement of Arab farmers was inevitable because “land is the most necessary thing for our establishing roots in Palestine. Since there are hardly any more arable unsettled lands in Palestine, we are bound in each case of the purchase of land and its settlement to remove the peasants who cultivated the land so far, both owners of the land and tenants.” (Rashid Khalidi, in Blaming the Victims)

      • Keith
        December 2, 2017, 1:14 pm

        MISTERIOSO- “I think its important to remember that Zionists’ “hatred against innocent Palestinians” was well entrenched decades before WWII.”

        This is an important point regarding real history versus Zionist myth-history and the fable of warm hearted Zionist Jews desiring to live in peace and harmony with their Arabs brothers only to be violently attacked. It should also be remembered that Deir Yassin was specifically attacked because it had cooperated with the Yishuv, hence, it needed to be made clear that previous good relations were no defense against violent ehtnic cleansing.

        It should also be pointed out, however, that at the point in time in question, the Zionists were a small minority of Jews, most of whom had no desire to immigrate to Palestine contrary to Zionist mythology concerning Jewish longing to return to the mythical sacred soil. In fact, even after the Holocaust, most of the Jews in the Jewish DP camps resisted going to Palestine and had to be coerced into doing so. Joel Kovel explains:

        “One consideration was manpower for the nascent Israel Defense Force. There was great anxiety lest the Yishuv be unable to summon enough troops to meet the challenges ahead. Thoughts turned immediately toward the refugee camps in the American Zone, swollen with suffering Jewish bodies brought over from the East. A strenuous effort was made to recruit volunteers for the cause. And when this failed, for easily understandable reasons–for how many Jews, newly rescued from the horrors of the Holocaust, would be enthusiastic for military duty in a strange land?–the Zionist apparatus moved rapidly into high gear, and proceeded to forcibly recruit some ten thousand soldiers and shipped them to fight for a country that none of them knew or belonged to. The force was chiefly exerted through the administrative control Zionists had gained over the camps, each of them more or less total institution. Summary loss of employment for recalicitrants, followed by summary denial of food rations, usually did the trick, though quite often beatings and other forms of violence had to be used.” (p81-82, “Overcoming Zionism,” Joel Kovel)

      • tamarque
        December 3, 2017, 9:37 am

        Excellent response. Thank you for taking the time to put all this history together. I will be saving it.

    • Misterioso
      December 2, 2017, 2:42 pm

      @Keith

      Agreed.

      Also, for the record:

      “In 1938, a thirty-one nation conference was held in Evian, France, on resettlement of the victims of Nazism. The World Zionist Organization refused to participate, fearing that resettlement of Jews in other states would reduce the number available for Palestine.” (John Quigley, Palestine and Israel: A Challenge to Justice, as quoted in “The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict,” second edition, published by Jews for Justice in the Middle East, Berkeley, California, p. 21.)

      The Jewish Agency in Palestine was very concerned about the implications of the Evian Conference. “It was summed up in the meeting [of the Jewish Agency’s Executive on June 26, 1938] that the Zionist thing to do ‘is belittle the [Evian] Conference as far as possible and to cause it to decide nothing…. We are particularly worried that it would move Jewish organizations to collect large sums of money for aid to Jewish refugees, and these collections could interfere with our collection efforts’…. Ben-Gurion’s statement at the meeting: ‘No rationalization can turn the conference from a harmful to a useful one. What can and should be done is to limit the damage as far as possible.'” (Boas Evron, Jewish State or Israeli Nation? as quoted in “The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict,” by John Quigley, second edition, p. 21.)

      On 7 December 1938, during a meeting of the Mapai Central Committee (precursor of the Labour Party), David Ben-Gurion revealed his true feelings regarding the plight of German Jews: “If I knew it was possible to save all the [Jewish] children in Germany by transporting them to England, but only half of them by transporting them to Palestine, I would choose the second…” He attempted to explain his twisted reasoning by adding that he would make such a choice “…because we face not only the reckoning of those children, but the historical reckoning of the Jewish people.” Ben-Gurion also expressed his fear that “‘the human conscience’ might bring various countries to open their doors to Jewish refugees from Germany. He saw this as a threat and warned: ‘Zionism is in danger!'” (Tom Segev, The Seventh Million, Hill and Wang, New York, 1994, p. 28.)

      During another speech to the Mapai Central Committee on 7 December 1938, Ben-Gurion admitted that “in these terrible days of the beginning of the disaster that threatens European Jewry, I am still more worried about the elections at the [Mapai] branch in Tel Aviv.” (Segev, p. 105.)

      On 27 November 1942, the Yishuv newspaper Davar published an article that referred to the extermination of European Jews as “‘punishment from heaven’ for not having come to Palestine.” (Tom Segev, p. 98). As Ben-Gurion so callously put it on 8 December 1942, during a Mapai meeting: “‘They did not want to listen to us’ ….in their deaths they had sabotaged the Zionist dream.’” (David Ben-Gurion at a gathering of Mapai workers, 8 Dec. 1942; quoted by Tom Segev)

      That saving Jews from the Nazis was not the priority of American Zionists was clearly shown during the war. When President Roosevelt became aware of the dire circumstances of European Jews (who were thought at the time to be about 80% of the total number of refugees), he sent his close friend Morris Ernst (a key member of the Democratic party and leader of the New York Jewish community) to London during the middle of the war to see if England and the Commonwealth would join the United States and other countries in taking in a half million Jewish refugees through a generous worldwide policy of political asylum once Hitler was defeated. (Roosevelt felt he could sell the plan to the American Congress if Britain agreed.)

      Ernst returned home jubilant and advised the President that Britain agreed to “match the United States up to 150,000.” Roosevelt replied:”150,000 to England – 150,000 to match that in the United States – pick up 200,000 or 300,000 elsewhere, and we can start with half a million of these oppressed people.” One week later, however, the President informed Ernst that the program had to be abandoned because “…the dominant vocal Jewish leadership of America won’t stand for it…the Zionist movement knows [that it] can raise vast sums for Palestine by saying to donors, `There is no other place this poor Jew can go.'”

      Ernst refused to believe Roosevelt and went about seeking the support of American Jews for the plan. Their response shocked him: “I was thrown out of parlours of friends of mine who very frankly said, `Morris, this is treason. You are undermining the Zionist movement’. [I found] a deep genuine, often fanatically emotional vested interest in putting over the [movement in men] who are little concerned about human blood if it is not their own.” (Morris Ernst, So Far So Good, Harper & Brothers: New York, 1948, pp. 172-177)

      In 1947, Representative William G. Stratton introduced a bill to the Congress aimed primarily at Jewish refugees which would have admitted up to 400,000 displaced persons of all faiths into the United States. Shamefully, however, the Stratton Bill never got past hearings of the House Foreign Affairs Committee because it was ignored by the Zionist lobby which wanted nothing to interfere with the flow of Jews into Palestine.

      The Zionist campaign to force European Jews to go to Palestine (and later Israel) after the war while doing everything possible to prevent them from finding new homes in the United States, did not escape criticism by all American Jews. The Yiddish Bulletin wrote: “…by insisting that Jewish D.P.’s do not wish to go to any country outside of Israel; by not participating in the negotiations on behalf of the D.P.’s; and by refraining from a campaign of their own – by all this they [the Zionists] certainly did not help to open the gates of America for Jews. In fact, they sacrificed the interests of living people – their brothers and sisters who went through a world of pain – to the politics of their own movement.” (Yiddish Bulletin, Free Jewish Club, May 19, 1950)

      The Zionists made it very clear to Truman that their backing would only be forthcoming if he did not impede their efforts to take possession of Palestine by allowing European Jewish refugees to immigrate to the United States. “…an aide sympathetic to Zionism [advised Truman] not to offer haven to Jewish displaced persons in the United States as this would dilute the argument that an independent Jewish state was required to absorb them.” (Professor Charles Smith, Palestine And The Arab/Israel Confict, p. 128)

      Ben-Gurion and the Jewish Agency were preventing European Jews who had sought temporary sanctuary in Palestine during the war from returning to their homes. Britain was well aware of this and Lord Halifax, British Ambassador to the United States made a point of informing Secretary of State Byrnes “that the Zionists were using every possible form of intimidation to stop Jews from leaving Palestine to go back to Europe and play their part in its reconstruction.” (FR: 1945, Vol. Vlll p. 775; cited by Dr. Alfred Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection and What Price Israel?)

      Some American Jews publicly criticized the Zionists for using their influence to prevent the admission of Jewish refugees into the United States. Among them was Arthur Sulzberger, publisher of the New York Times who called for a reversal of Zionist policy that put statehood first, refugees last: “Admitting that the Jews of Europe have suffered beyond expression, why in God’s name should the fate of all these unhappy people be subordinated to the single cry of Statehood? I cannot rid myself of the feeling that the unfortunate Jews of Europe’s D.P. [Displaced Persons] camps are helpless hostages for whom statehood has been made the only ransom.” (New York Times, October 27, 1946; quoted by Lilienthal, WPI? p. 37)

      During an interview in 1951, one of America’s most renowned theologians, Dr. Louis Finkelstein of the Jewish Theological Seminary in Manhattan declared that he had always felt “if United States Jews had put as much effort into getting [Jewish] D.P.’s admitted to this country as they put into Zionism, a home could have been found in the New World for all the displaced Jews of Europe.” (Quoted by Lilienthal, WPI?, p. 36)

      On 2 May 1948, in a report delivered to the pro-Zionist American Jewish Conference regarding “Jewish Displaced Persons in the American Occupied Zone of Germany,” Jewish Chaplain Klausner (a dedicated Zionist) stated that “The Jews as a group are not overwhelmingly desirous of going to Palestine…we may predict that perhaps 30% of the people will go to Palestine.” (Lilienthal, WPI? p. 260)

      Klausner concluded that the displaced Jews “… must be forced to go to Palestine…. By ‘force’ I suggest a program. It is not a new program. It was used before, and most recently. It was used in the evacuation of the Jews from Poland and in the story of [the refugee ship] the `Exodus’.” Klausner went on to explain what his “program” would involve: “The first step…is the adoption of the principle that it is the conviction of the world Jewish community that these people must go to Palestine. The second step is the transmittal of that policy to the Displaced Persons. The third step is for the world Jewish community to offer the people the opportunity to go to Palestine….”

      The strategy suggested by Klausner to persuade Jews in the Displaced Persons camps to immigrate to Israel was implemented. Its tactics included: “confiscation of food rations, dismissal from work, smashing of machines sent by Americans to train D.P.’s in useful skills, taking away legal protection and visa rights from dissenters, expulsion from the camps of political opponents and, in one instance, even the public flogging of a recalcitrant recruit for the Israel Army. Trucks of the Jewish Agency were known to drive through the Jewish camps in Germany, ‘picking up’ boys and young men. Strange transports left Germany every week for France where, as a first step en route to Israel, the herded people were kept in camps established at Marseilles. In Germany’s D.P. camps, stories were spread that pogroms were taking place in parts of the United States.” (Lilienthal, WPI?, pp. 196-197)

      As they were reluctant to heed the “call of Zion,” Israeli immigration agents had to “encourage” and in some cases, force Eastern European Jews to immigrate to Israel. “The government [of Israel] made great efforts to encourage Jews in Eastern Europe to migrate to Israel. Its immigration agent in Romania reported in 1950: ‘Working through the local leadership and every reliable Jew we have met, we are urging Jews to make application for emigration and for passports.’ Agents tried to get emigrating Jews to Israel. In Poland Israeli officials would ‘send the people directly to the port, so they would not be able to stop en route,’ reported Samuel Eliashiv, Israel’s ambassador to Czechoslovakia. Israel’s consul in Warsaw, Israel Carmel, found that persuasion was difficult. ‘The awakening of the Jews in Poland will not happen by itself,’ he reported in 1949. ‘They must be motivated and organized.'” (Quigley, p. 99)

  4. Susi
    December 1, 2017, 5:37 pm

    Too bad the book isn’t delivered (yet) to Switzerland! I’m waiting for it.

  5. Mayhem
    December 1, 2017, 10:49 pm

    There is no “P” in the Arabic alphabet used for the Arabic language. Native Arabic vocabulary does not contain a “P” sound which makes the claims of Palestinians to Palestine rather ludicrous when generally they can’t even pronounce it properly.

    P is a standard letter in Persian which explains why the Iranian author can say it.

    But more to the point this kind of a book is all about indoctrinating young impressionable children into a view sympathetic to the Palestinian cause before they are old enough to understand the political realities and judge for themselves. It’s aim is to win the hearts and minds of the next generation before it is appropriate to do so.

    Take the letter ‘I’ which according to this little book stands for “I is for Intifada, Arabic for rising up for what is right, if you are a kid or grownup!” which plainly is promoting violent insurrection.

    The real title of the book should be ‘P is for Propaganda’.

    • Eva Smagacz
      December 2, 2017, 8:17 am

      Mayhem, you said:

      Take the letter ‘I’ which according to this little book stands for “I is for Intifada, Arabic for rising up for what is right, if you are a kid or grownup!” which plainly is promoting violent insurrection.

      Right………… using violence to stand for what is right in the absence of adequate (international) law enforcement is promoting violent insurrection.

      Yep, that is what nations Do to shake off the foreign occupations.

      Try to say to Poles that their uprisings against Russian occupation of Poland in 1931 and 1963 was wrong, or their uprisings against Prussian occupation of Poland in 1948 was wrongt.

      Try to say to mujahideen forces that they were wrong to fight Russians in Afghanistan.

      Try to say to resistance fighters of France or Yugoslavia that they were wrong to resist Germans, and see how well you fare.

      You could also argue with Chinese that they were wrong to resist the occupation by Japanese between 1931 and 1945.

      Good luck 59/67

      • Citizen
        December 2, 2017, 11:23 am

        not to mention, try to say to
        Jews in Warsaw ghetto thew were wrong to resist Germans …

      • Kaisa of Finland
        December 2, 2017, 11:34 am

        Eva:

        Each time our Zionist friends are accusing Palesinians for their resistance, I am thinking about our little Finland, which is filling 100 years next week the 6th of December.

        Centuries under Swedish and Russian rule, becoming independent needed a lot of resistance (not neccessary violent, but cultural, lingual, etc.) Before attacking Finland in 1939 the Russians were demanding Finns to give them certain areas of the Eastern parts of Finland and when the Finnish administration refused to do so, the Russians started the war to take the areas by force. So these Zionists obviously think, Finns should just have raised their hands and said: “Wellcome, take what you want..”

        I like this new Electronic Intifada. It is the easiest way to brake the “Holy Facade” of Israel the Zionists are so keen on to maintain: Like watch this, Hebron, behind the beaches of Tel Aviv and all the Hummus and Shakshuka.

      • echinococcus
        December 2, 2017, 1:10 pm

        Eva

        Yep, that is what nations Do to shake off the foreign occupations.

        Try to say to Poles that their uprisings against Russian occupation of Poland in 1931 and 1963 was wrong, or their uprisings against Prussian occupation of Poland in 1948 was wrong.

        Citizen

        try to say to Jews in Warsaw ghetto thew were wrong to resist Germans

        Kaisa

        So these Zionists obviously think, Finns should just have raised their hands and said: “Wel[l]come, take what you want..”

        Thank you both for the very pertinent observation.

        Problem is, it should be directed not at the resident Ziomeathead, but many among the “support to Palestinian resistance” side, right here in these pages, whose main argument against justice for Palestinians is that it’s going to be very hard and very costly.

      • gamal
        December 3, 2017, 10:57 am

        the charge they are inciting children, is of course incitement against those very same children, how utterly disgusting

        “Teacher reports six-year-old Muslim boy with Down’s Syndrome to police for ‘terrorism’ ”

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/tecaher-pearland-texas-reports-muslim-boy-terrorism-a8088751.html

        the English Salem has so many connotations well outside the semantic field of SLM, its root, the world is an ever evolving wonder, can you tell what it’s going to be yet.

    • bintbiba
      December 2, 2017, 9:48 am

      ‘ana FALASTEENIYYA bil Arabi ‘ , ya “Mayhem” 3azeezi !!

      FALASTEEN bil Arabi ihhfaz wa tathakkar … Your Khamas is one example … … it is 7AMAS with a harsh haitch !

      The Western foreigners had to mutilate it as they do much that they handle in the ME !

      The book is conceived and written in English , as you may have noticed !

      • Kaisa of Finland
        December 2, 2017, 10:35 am

        bintbiba:

        Ana min asl Finlandii wa atakallam al-lughal arabiia fusha qaliilan :)

        Do not give a s**t about those Zionists, they are rasing their children with so much propaganda that they can’t afford to blame anyone else about stuff like that!!

    • Misterioso
      December 2, 2017, 10:27 am

      @Mayhem

      To be brief:
      What a ludicrous response. Yes, there is no “P” in Arabic. Hence, when speaking Arabic, Palestinians and others who speak Arabic refer to Palestine as “Filastin.”

      It is abundantly clear that this book is directed towards Palestinian and other Arab children who speak or are learning English as well as English only speaking children whose enlightened parents want them to learn the ugly truth about what befell the indigenous inhabitants of historic Palestine at the hands of foreign Zionists, i.e., we must all recognize and oppose racism and fascism.

      In short your comment is “B” for bull crap.

      • bintbiba
        December 2, 2017, 4:14 pm

        Kaisa min Finlandii , habeebati
        Ana ashkurik 3ala ahaseesik al nabeeela! Shukran jazeelan !

        Dear Kaisa from Finland ,
        I thank you for your noble sentiments ! Heartfelt thanks !

      • Kaisa of Finland
        December 2, 2017, 6:15 pm

        bintbiba:

        Kiitos itsellesi! (Sukran, bi al-lugha al-Finlandii)

        I just wanted to say to you, that the occupation can not last forever and the tighter it gets, the more resistance it wakes up in those countries where equal rights and justice are the ideals of the society. Generations change and the old Zionist propaganda is not going through anymore. The younger generations will see the other side of the story. It will take some time and I hope it won’t take too long. There have already been too many generations of Palestinians suffering from it already.

        My Arabic has gone a bit rusty, cause I have not had a possibilty to use it in a long time, but there is one sentence, the most important for me, I will always remember: Uhibb (wa uriid) anashrab shay bi nana, bidun sukar :) !

    • Edward Q
      December 2, 2017, 12:03 pm

      There are different ways to translate Arabic. The book uses an approach where the Arabic letter associated with the beginning of the Arabic word for Palestine is translated as “P”.

      Somehow, Mayhem, I don’t think you are qualified to decide how Palestinians talk about their history or educate their children.

    • echinococcus
      December 2, 2017, 1:17 pm

      Our resident Ziomeathead is a hoot.

      all about indoctrinating young impressionable children into a view sympathetic to the Palestinian cause before they are old enough to understand the political realities and judge for themselves

      Because isolating kids from the world at birth and keeping them in a Zincubator for all their life, producing morphologically-human brains just like “Mayhem”s, hellbent on the single purpose of committing invasion, theft and genocide in Palestine, has nothing to do with indoctrinating.

      • Mooser
        December 2, 2017, 5:37 pm

        ” “Mayhem”s, hellbent on the single purpose.”

        He sure is! “Mayhem” is dedicated to showing us that Zionists have class! That they are history’s natural ‘Aristocrats’

      • Mooser
        December 2, 2017, 11:50 pm

        ” they are old enough to understand the political realities and judge for themselves”

        And apply for conversion to Judaism, get the conversion, and move to Tel Aviv, and marry the boss’s daughter!
        But they just won’t adjust to the realities.

    • John O
      December 2, 2017, 3:37 pm

      @Mayhem

      “There is no “P” in the Arabic alphabet used for the Arabic language. Native Arabic vocabulary does not contain a “P” sound which makes the claims of Palestinians to Palestine rather ludicrous when generally they can’t even pronounce it properly.”

      I did wonder when one of our hasbarista friends would bring this up. I didn’t have long to wait.

      Is there an emoji, a GIF, or an MP3 file that adequately represents the bottom of a barrel being scraped?

      • echinococcus
        December 3, 2017, 1:24 pm

        No, but there are a couple symbols that represent Zionism. Why use barrels?

    • JosephA
      December 2, 2017, 6:14 pm

      Wow, that was funny! You clearly have too much time on your hands. Such ignorance…

    • gamal
      December 2, 2017, 6:16 pm

      ” “P” sound which makes the claims of Palestinians to Palestine rather ludicrous when generally they can’t even pronounce it properly.”

      well there’s no “P” sound in Philistine, Phoenicia or Pharoah, it’s not that we have the name wrong its that you’ve dropped your Haitches, in English thst is thought of as a low class kind of a thing a sign of ignorance and ill breeding, but you weren’t to know.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        December 2, 2017, 7:08 pm

        “well there’s no “P” sound in Philistine..”

        Like there is no “F” sound in Suomi (Finland in Finnish) either, so I guess Mayhem just forgot the book was written in English, not in Arabic.

    • tamarque
      December 3, 2017, 9:58 am

      So when Israeli school books wipe out the Palestinian people and portray maps that show Israel owning all of ‘Greater, or Historic Palestine’ that isn’t propaganda for Jewish kids?

      Let’s get real here–all children’s books are about
      teaching children something about life, the morals
      of how to live in whatever culture they are in. Why
      shouldn’t Palestinians do the same thing for their
      children? And why shouldn’t they do it in a way to
      teach pride in who they are and where they came from.
      And even more, why not present their struggles for
      freedom and dignity in a positive light.

      You comment is very indicative of an attitude that
      supports the racist Zionist philosophy that founded
      Israel and continues unabated in that country.

    • Emory Riddle
      December 3, 2017, 4:37 pm

      “…all about indoctrinating young impressionable children into a view sympathetic to the Palestinian cause before they are old enough to understand the political realities and judge for themselves.”

      Textbook example of projection by someone who was certainly indoctrinated from early childhood to love Israel.

    • Talkback
      December 11, 2017, 10:10 am

      Mayhem: “There is no “P” in the Arabic alphabet used for the Arabic language. Native Arabic vocabulary does not contain a “P” sound which makes the claims of Palestinians to Palestine rather ludicrous when generally they can’t even pronounce it properly.”

      Wow, that has to be the most stupid Zionist comment ever.

      Palestine is called فلسطين Filasṭīn in Arabic with an “f” sound.

      But since Israeli Jews cannot pronounce the word “right” properly (especially the “r” sound), they don’t have any according to your imbecile reasoning.

  6. Maghlawatan
    December 2, 2017, 12:52 am

    Zionism is zero sum. Either or. Because it’s manufactured. Israelis are made in school. Their identity gets them ready for the army. Their identity only exists in Hebrew

    Palestinian culture frightens them. The Palestinians dont have to be indoctrinated so that everyone thinks the same. They just have to know who they are

    Israel is very like Northern Ireland . The British Protestants there lorded it over their Irish catholic neighbours for years. It was a Protestant state for a Protestant people. Protestant identity was defined as not Irish. For the first 2 generations of NI the catholics were humiliated as state policy. They were denied jobs and social beneits. The Protestant kids were educated to think of catholics as inferior.
    The third and fourth generations of catholics began to question the narrative and they did it via politics and culture . In 1960 a Team from Northern Ireland were Irish football champions.
    The catholics have centuries of culture to dip into. They can emphasise different aspects as identity is updated.
    The Protestants have a make uppy identity. Not Irish. It is brittle and very hard to update.

    NoW the UK is leaving the EU. Or maybe not. The Protestants have to do the British thing. But the Brits are all over the place. What is the rational thing to do? If the Brits jumped off a cliff would the NI protestants too? The answer seems to be “yes”.

    That is the problem with settler colonial projects. Coherence .

    John Hewitt was a Protestant poet from NI. He examined the complexities of the Protestant experience in his work.

    http://www.culturenorthernireland.org/features/literature/john-hewitt-selected-poems

    “Hewitt dared to connect the various with the particular; he suggested and then laid down, if you will, through his poetry, the nature of Ulsterness in all its varied hues. He was able to note that the landscape, as one passed from the north of Ireland to the Republic, did not alter (‘The Frontier’) and, even more daringly, implied therefore that we might all be sitting on the same island, even in the same acre.

    He was aware that the province of Ulster had been colonised and had spread the psyche of colonising to eventually settle and administrate that other colony that became the United States. Only a defiant Ulster pragmatism, (and an inherently Godless one, in spite of what the inherently Presbyterian emigration ballads of the 19th century imply) one might argue, could have carried that off and thrown in seven US presidents for good measure.”

    One of the best poems is called the colony . This is another one

    http://johnhewittsociety.org/the-coasters-1969/

    It reminds me of the gay pride marches 40 miles up the coast from a place where 80% of families need international aud to feed their kids.

    And btw surely P for Palestine is wrong . Shouldnt it be b for Balestine ? ??
    And ch for c in the countryside. Cheef Haalich
    And a blank for q fil uds. Ya’ni

  7. Marnie
    December 2, 2017, 2:05 am

    Beautiful book and illustrations.

  8. Kathleen
    December 2, 2017, 4:03 am

    Amazing that “P Is For Palestine” can push panic buttons. A simple children’s book blowing holes in Israel’s propaganda. Thinking about how this book will be great to drop off as an educational piece around campuses etc

  9. johneill
    December 2, 2017, 6:39 am

    “It helps explain the overwrought reaction to a political document written in crayon.”
    “almost as if a cartoon Palestine has the special ability to summon deadly serious affection.”
    “P is also for paranoia. Insofar as one’s political fetish requires Palestinians to capitulate or disappear, the condition is perfectly justified.”
    Copying these lines to exemplify how prof. Salaita became one of my favorite writers

    • JosephA
      December 2, 2017, 6:16 pm

      Agreed, he has a wonderful wit, but it’s always very intentional and intelligent satire, not just making a joke for the sake of it.

  10. yonah fredman
    December 2, 2017, 9:16 am

    F is for Falestin. Y is for Yahud. I is for Intifada. W is for War. P is for Pretend.

    • eljay
      December 2, 2017, 9:59 am

      || yonah fredman: F is for Falestin. Y is for Yahud. I is for Intifada. W is for War. P is for Pretend ||

      Z is for Zionism. (J is for Jewish. S is for Supremacism.)

    • Edward Q
      December 2, 2017, 12:07 pm

      How about E is for ethnic cleansing and D is for denial.

    • Mooser
      December 2, 2017, 5:45 pm

      “F is for Falestin. Y is for Yahud. I is for Intifada. W is for War. P is for Pretend.”

      “yonah”- viewed from the outside, your comment makes sense. But from the inside it is blind to human nature. In fact most American Jews are getting a divorce from the Jews, so the divorce from Israel is no big thang.
      Yes, in its early days Israel encouraged discrimination. But it’s not 1956 anymore and historic grievances are not the main story (except for obfuscaters and propagandists.)

  11. James Canning
    December 2, 2017, 1:38 pm

    Huge sales of this book would be a good thing for Israel’s own true best interests.

    • Citizen
      December 2, 2017, 4:54 pm

      I noticed some ABC books for kids out on the market that address Israel & they are inane otherwise, but say Jerusalem & Gaza are both part of Israel.

  12. JosephA
    December 2, 2017, 6:24 pm

    I just ordered my copy! They are sold out, but it is on backorder.

  13. Boris
    December 4, 2017, 12:29 pm

    Part of the Oslo agreement was “education for peace”. Israel changed its text books, acknowledged some unfair treatment of Arabs. Palestinians continued to teach their kids hatred. This book is yet another example.

    You reap what you sow…

    • John O
      December 4, 2017, 12:51 pm

      @Boris

      Would you care to give examples of this? Links to your sources would be welcome, too.

      “acknowledged some unfair treatment” – how about acknowledging ALL of it?

  14. eljay
    December 4, 2017, 12:58 pm

    || Boris: … Israel changed its text books … ||

    …but didn’t stop:
    – stealing, occupying and colonizing Palestine;
    – oppressing, torturing and killing Palestinians; or
    – preventing non-Jewish Israeli refugees from returning to their homes and lands.

    || … You reap what you sow… ||

    Indeed.

  15. asherpat
    December 4, 2017, 3:55 pm

    We lost our mind!? Arabs can’t even pronounce the name of the book, they must be incensed!

    • ErsatzYisrael
      December 4, 2017, 5:51 pm

      Arabs can’t even pronounce the name of the book, they must be incensed!

      I’ve never met a native Arabic speaker who couldn’t pronounce the “P” in Palestine; I’ve met many zio mock-heebghew speakeghs who can’t pghonounce the “r” in apaghtheid “isghael”.

  16. CitizenC
    December 6, 2017, 1:19 pm

    The US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel has condemned a statement by the upper west side store Book Culture denouncing the politics of P is for Palestine.

    http://www.usacbi.org/2017/12/usacbi-condemns-book-cultures-appalling-statement-re-palestinian-human-rights/

    This was blackmail paid to “enable SWFS to move forward with hosting Book Culture at the synagogue’s preschool holiday book fair scheduled to begin on December 7”. (Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, a self-styled “beacon of progressive Jewish thought”. See

    https://www.westsiderag.com/2017/12/03/rabbis-and-bookstore-owner-break-bread-after-split-over-palestine-book

  17. hophmi
    December 9, 2017, 9:58 pm

    Maybe Steven Salaita should actually try talking to someone other than himself. Israel isn’t threatened by Palestinian identity. They’re threatened by Palestinians who desire to kill Jews.

    • Keith
      December 10, 2017, 5:33 pm

      HOPHMI- “Israel isn’t threatened by Palestinian identity. They’re threatened by Palestinians who desire to kill Jews.”

      A typically dishonest comment from you. All one has to do is tally up the massacres to see who is killing who. The Nakba, Sabra and Shatila, mowing the lawn, etc. Jews are rather safe compared to the Palestinians. And of course Israel is threatened by Palestinian identity and history. A big part of the Nakba was burying as much of Palestinian culture and history as possible. That is why the Zionists planted pine trees over destroyed Palestinian villages. A quote to provide the history which you pretend not to know.

      “The Israeli theft of all things Palestinian, however, does not simply come from misguided notions of nationalism or childish pride as is often argued by Western apologists, but is rather a conscious political policy of the state that seeks to erase Palestine from historical memory, particularly within Western discourse. Indeed, the continuing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their historic homeland goes hand in hand with the theft of Palestinian land, homes, history, and culture. It is an essential part of the larger, long-term Zionist project of eradicating the Palestinian nation altogether, literally writing it out of history while simultaneously assuming its place.

      This erasure has been correctly termed as memoricide by historian Ilan Pappe in The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Nur Masalha, elaborating further, writes: “The founding myths of Israel have dictated the conceptual removal of Palestinians before, during and after their physical removal in 1948… The de-Arabisation of Palestine, the erasure of Palestinian history and the elimination of the Palestinian’s collective memory by the Israeli state are no less violent than the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948 and the destruction of historic Palestine: this elimination is central to the construction of a hegemonic collective Israeli-Zionist-Jewish identity in the State of Israel” (The Palestine Nakba, 89).
      ….
      “Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushu’a in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population”.
      (Moshe Dayan) http://www.middleeasteye.net/essays/stealing-palestine-study-historical-and-cultural-theft-1001196809

Leave a Reply