Publishers Under Fire for Children’s Book That Replaces Israel With ‘Palestine’ on Map of Middle East
Publishers in the UK and US are being urged to withdraw, edit, and then republish a children’s book that erases Israel from a map of the Middle East, and makes no mention of Jews and Israelis on its list of Middle Eastern women.
“Amazing Women of the Middle East” by Wafa Tarnowska highlights the accomplishments of 25 women in the region, including the Queen of Sheba, figure skater Zahra Lari, and international law and human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. None of the women chosen for the book are of Israeli or Jewish descent, and a map of the Middle East inside the book shows “Palestine” in the place of Israel, UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) first reported.
The book’s publisher in the UK, Pikku Publishing, has suggested that the book be used in schools and includes additional resources for teachers on its website. In the US, the book is published by Crocodile Books, an imprint of Interlink Publishing, and distributed by Simon & Schuster.
UKLFI wrote a letter to the British and American publishers, asking them to republish the book with a map of the Middle East that shows Israel, and to mention at least one “amazing woman” from Israel.
“This is a very attractive book, and it is a great idea for children to read about amazing women of the Middle East,” said UKLFI director Caroline Turner. “However, to have excluded Israel from the map of the Middle East, and to have excluded all Israeli and Jewish women from the book, is misleading and biased, and tends to promote a view of the Middle East that completely delegitimizes Israel.”
UKFLI also noted in their letter that using the book as teaching material in the UK would likely be in violation of Section 406 of the Education Act 1996, titled “political indoctrination,” which forbids “the promotion of partisan political views in the teaching of any subject in the school.”
UKLFI additionally wrote to Robin Walker, the UK’s Minister of State for School Standards at the Department of Education, and asked the department to tell schools not to use the book.
A number of the book’s reviews on Amazon also pointed out its “disappointing” and “shameful” exclusion of Israel on its map. Publishers were also accused of deliberately omitting any mention of Israeli or Jewish women and attempting to “politicize children.”
One Amazon user wrote, “So disappointed in this book as it omits the only JEWISH state in the Middle East! Therefore I found this book to be extremely misleading & extremely dishonest! I will not be reading this book to my grandchildren it is totally unfit for purpose!”
Another stated, “No Jewish women are present in the book. Which seems a deliberate act because there are plenty to choose from. If you want a book that promotes the ethnic cleansing of Jews this is for you.”