Middle East studies in the News
'P is for Palestine' [on Golbarg Bashi]
by Gilad Atzmon
Jews are upset again. The latest kerfuffle is over a kids' book called 'P is for Palestine.'
The New York Post reports that a "children's book titled "P is for Palestine" is infuriating some New York Jewish mothers — who charge that "it's nothing but anti-Semitic propaganda disguised as a kids' alphabet book."
"Omg. Crazy. I'm livid at this," one woman wrote on Facebook. "I can't believe it's real and in NYC!"
Another post reads, "You have gall advertising your incredibly politically insensitive book on this site." I guess that supporting the oppressed is what some Jewish mothers qualify as "insensitivity." I wonder how these Jewish mothers would react to my soon to be written - 'Lexicon of Sex Predators'-- I thought I'd name it: 'W is for Weinstein.'
Still another Facebook user wrote, "A children's book on Palestine that doesn't recognized the state of Israel.. . is very sad." This is a bit of an exaggeration. When we talk about Palestine and Palestinians being abused on a daily basis and on racist grounds, we well know who is behind it. We do acknowledge the role of the Jewish State and Zionism.
Author, Golbarg Bashi, a Pace history professor and former Rutgers Iranian-studies instructor, told an audience at a bookstore reading last Saturday, that she "came up with the idea for this book after I couldn't find a book about Palestine for children." After the reading, Bashi told The Post, "I love ABC books personally, and I have so many of them at home about all kinds of places — Mexico, United States, Italy, everywhere."
At least one Jewish parent who attended the reading was supportive of Bashi. Rafael Shimunov, of the group "Jews for Racial and Economic Justice," brought his 7-year-old daughter. He said he did not find the book anti-Semitic. Again, we manage to squeeze out a 'kosher stamp' from a well meaning Jew. Gossip has it that JVP, IJAN and Mondoweiss have decided to form a new activist group called 'Jews for Alphabet Books' (JfAB) just to make sure that the opposition to P is for Palestine is dominated by the right (well meaning) people...
Bashi's detractors claim that she has actually written pro-Palestinian blog posts. As we know, this is considered a crime in the Jewish universe. They point out that she such inflammatory words as, "by all measured historical accounts . . . Israel is a racial and religious apartheid state."
The book which features colourful illustrations of Palestinian families, associates each letter of the English alphabet with Palestinian culture, for example: "A is for Arabic, my tongue, a language that's the 4th biggest ever sung!" I assume that the Jewish mothers protesting the book would prefer something like: 'A is for Arabs – people who were invented to throw the Jews to the sea,' or maybe 'A is for American President – a democratically elected position available to any candidate who wins the trust of our lobby.'
But some of the phrases and illustrations are clearly anti-Israel as the NYPost claims. For example, "I is for Intifada, Arabic for rising up for what is right, if you are a kid or grownup!" It shows a child on her father's back standing before barbed wire and flashing peace signs. Peace, as we know by now, is offensive to people who do not like their neighbours.
In the world in which we live, we are all Palestinians. P is for us. Accordingly, I will make sure that I have a copy of P is for Palestine on my book shelf alongside my own ABC book, A to Zion – The Definitive Israeli Lexicon.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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