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December 12, 2017 2:11 pm

‘P Is for Palestine’ Author Got One Thing Right

avatar by Stephen M. Flatow /

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Palestinian boys raising their hands during a class in September 2011 at a school in Gaza. Photo: UN Photo / Shareef Sarhan. – The P is for Palestine children’s book that is causing so much controversy features anti-Israel propaganda and deeply disturbing justifications for “intifada” violence. But it also contains one very important truth.

Golbarg Bashi, the tome’s Iranian-born author, decided to use the device of an alphabet book to indoctrinate children with anti-Israel messages. The most incendiary part of the book, which has been at the center of much of the public debate, declares: “I is for Intifada, Arabic for rising up for what is right, if you are a kid or grownup!”

The accompanying illustration shows a father and child, wearing keffiyahs, standing near barbed wire (a symbol of “Israeli oppression”) and flashing the V-for-victory sign. Victory over Israel, that is.

Not surprisingly, many Jews are troubled by Bashi’s attempt to justify and glorify the waves of Palestinian “intifada” violence, in which more than 1,300 Israeli Jews have been murdered in recent years.

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Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch of Manhattan’s Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, a leading critic of the book, correctly described it as “the glorification of the Palestinian intifada — a cruel, murderous, and terroristic campaign that purposely targeted innocent Israelis, including children, in restaurants, buses, hospitals, schools and shopping malls. … The intifada was not ‘a rising up for what is right.’ It was a mass descent into immorality.”

In a Facebook post, Bashi blamed criticism of her book on what she called “self-proclaimed powerful neighborhoods of New York City.” That’s pretty obvious code language for “the Jews.”

But it’s also important to pay close attention to the explanations that Bashi and her supporters have presented in several recent interviews. “Intifada is part of Palestinian life, to resist occupation,” she told JTA. In an interview with Haaretz, Bashi elaborated: “Intifada is an aspect of Palestinian life just as Bethlehem is the birthplace of Jesus Christ.” An Israeli-Arab educator named Areej Masarwa added that, “It’s part of Palestinian identity.”

Exactly right.

Mass violence against Jews is indeed a central part of “Palestinian” identity. And that tells us a lot about Palestinian identity.

Palestinian Arab nationalism did not arise because of any major historical, linguistic, religious or cultural differences between Palestinian Arabs and, say, Jordanian Arabs or Syrian Arabs. That’s because there aren’t any. Palestinian nationalism arose as an anti-nationalism. Its raison d’être is to murder Jews and destroy the State of Israel.

Other nations express their distinctive identity through positive cultural expressions. The Palestinians express their identity by bombing, shooting, hijacking, stabbing and stoning Jews. Witness Sunday’s stabbing attack at Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station.

And why does the character of Palestinian-Arab identity matter? Because the fight for Israel’s survival is not just a military conflict. It’s also a war of ideas. Understanding the legitimacy of Jewish nationalism, and the falseness of Palestinian nationalism, is vital. We must understand why our side is right — and why their side is wrong. So, thank you, Golbarg Bashi, for helping to remind us of the true nature of Palestinian nationalism.

Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He may be reached at

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  • Kjell A. Amundsen

    P is for pee

  • Dani

    I have bad news for all of us. Most ethnic identities (if not all) started in the same way -in oposition to somebody else- exacly as Roland Barthes described it. Palestineans might be a new identiy -an evil one for some people- but they have all the elements that are necessary for an emerging ethnic group.
    The problem here is not how true a nation they are or not, but who they want to replace in what land.
    The Land of Israel (call it Palestine, if you prefere) is too small to hause two immense and opposing peoples who claim ownership. 20+ huge Arab countries and several more mostly Moslem populated ones won´t give a single Dunam to establish a “sencond Palestine” to give refuge and independence to the several million palestineans living today as second class citizens in those same countries. Why not? Because they cannot bear the fact that the single Jewsh state that exists in the world thrives and has success while the arab countries live as third world places. That´s why they brainwash Palestinean kids telling them that exterminating the Jews is their only choice.
    Europe is also part of this plot. It wasn´t enough that their forefathers killed 6 million under the nazi military regime, now they dont´t stand to protect the remnant of the Jewish people but help their enemies to find excuses to fight against Israel.
    In Chile, the Palestineans claim to be closed to have a million people. We all know they are not all descendents of arabs from only “Palestine” but also from Jordania, Lebanon and Syria. In Argentina, they are called “Turcos” (for arabs) but in Chile, they all identify themselves as “Palestineans”. Thats says a lot about Chile in general, the Germans who lived their for so long and what they stand for.

  • jobacon

    You forgot to mention the fact that this “Palestianian nationalism” has a history that only goes back as far as 1968! Before that, they just called themselves “Arabs”, I know, I lived in Israel from 1960 to 970. This “Palestinian national identity” is a total myth!

  • aussiegooner

    I find it almost incomprehensible that a mythical state and a mythical people were invented in about 1962, with the help of the KGB, in order to justify the destruction of a real state and a real people. How can it be that just a few years after the original lie, large parts of the civilised world (let alone the third world) accept it as the truth?

    The answer is supplied by no less a person that Joseph Goebbels. Tell a lie often enough, and to enough people, and it will become the de facto truth.

    Thank Hashem for giving us Donald Trump to call out the naked emperor of the palestine lie.

  • Joy Daniels Brower

    And thank YOU, Mr. Flatow, for your excellent description of the true nature of the Intifa and the ugly reality of a phony “Palestine!” The REAL Palestinians had always been the Jews who lived in the ancient land of Israel, so named 2000 years ago, by the Romans, who basically referred that the land of the Jews as “Palestina,” which, apparently, was a derogatory description of a people the Romans hated. Did the Romans somehow connect “Palestina”” with the ancient Philistines? My knowledge of that part of history is almost non-existent, but it would be enlightening to know the true origin of the word/name, “Palestine.”

    Of course, a very quick study of modern history rightly points out that the current “Palestine/ Palestinians” was the (brilliant, IMHO!) invention of Yassar Afafat, the great terrorist who also knew a bit about PR! The result of his dreadful fantasy was the creation of the modern terrorist state which he called “Palestine,” and the feckless Arab residents of that area (now including Gaza) just seemed to go along with the fable that they are now “Palestinians.” “Arab” seems to have lost its currency in the present hellhole that is Judea and Samaria.

    Our battle today is how best we can bring this elemental truth to the world, which seems to have swallowed Arafat’s (and his successors’) Big Lie about a non-existent “Palestine!”

    • Isahiah62

      Arafat was not smart he was coached by KGB who created PLO and other “liberation” movements in order to oppose USA in Cold War. Also funded and created coached Blank Panthers, same as today’s BLM and other USA communist front groups. One group called SDS (radical domestic terror group) later the NEW LEFT are who Obama was trained and coached by, Bill Ayers for example. Not a coincidence this group was headquartered in CHICAGO. There are photos from 1980 showing Arafat with La Raza one of whom sits on USA Supreme Court thanks to Obama and Dems.