Tuesday, December 21, 2021

  • Tuesday, December 21, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Here is a map of the Middle East from the children's book, Amazing Women of the Middle East:

You will notice that there is no Israel in this map. It is replaced with "Palestine."

Modern nations like Jordan and the UAE are mentioned, so it cannot be that the map refers to a time period before 1948. 

Iran and Turkey are shown, so this isn't a map of only Arab countries.

It is a clearly deliberate attempt to erase Israel from the map. 

The list of women that the book discusses seems to be missing a certain type of people as well:

• Scheherazade, Persia, narrator
• Nefertiti, Ancient Egypt, 1370 BCE, Queen of Egypt
• Queen of Sheba, 1050 BCE, modern-day Ethiopia
• Semiramis, ancient Iraq, 811 BCE, Queen of Babylon
• Cleopatra VII, Egypt, 69 BCE, last queen of Egypt
• Zenobia, Syria, 240 CE, Queen of Palmyra
• Theodora, 497 CE, Empress of Byzantium
• Rabiya al Adawiyya, Iraq, 714, poet
• Shajarat al Durr, Egypt, early 13th Century, Sultana of Egypt
• Hurrem Sultan, Ukraine, 1502, Sultana of Ottoman Empire
• May Ziadeh, Nazareth, Palestine, 1886, writer
• Nazik el Abid, Syria, 1887, activist
• Anbara Salam al Khalidi, Lebanon, 1897, activist and feminist
• Saloua Raouda Choucair, Lebanon, 1916, painter
• Fairuz, Lebanon, 1933, singer
• Zaha Hadid, Iraq, 1950, architect
• Anousheh Ansari, Iran/USA, 1966, astronaut
• Somayya Jabarti, Saudi Arabia, 1970, editor-in-chief
• Nadine Labaki, Lebanon, 1974, film maker and actress
• Amal Clooney, Lebanon/British, 1978, lawyer
• Manahel Thabet, Yemen, 1981, economist and mathematician
• Maha Al Baluchi, Oman, pilot
• Nadia Murad, Iraq, 1993, rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner
• Zahra Lari, UAE, 1995, ice skater
• Azza Fahmy, Egypt, jewellery designer

Hmmm. No Jewish women make the cut of Amazing Women of the Middle East. No Queen Esther or prophet Deborah or Golda Meir. 

Some people complained to a Canadian book chain, which removed the book from its shelves. The publisher, Michel Moushabeck who founded Interlink Publishing, wrote a snarky and demeaning response:

This past week, Interlink and my family were subjected to some vicious trolling by a small number of people on social media started by a pro-Israel group, which resulted in the removal of copies of a children’s picture book, Amazing Women of the Middle East, from the shelves of Indigo Books, a large bookstore chain in Canada. The book was banned because the group complained that it was anti-Semitic because the word Palestine—instead of Israel—appeared on the accompanying map that helped identify to children where the women featured in the book originally came from (one was from Palestine). 

We are saddened to see such an important book that celebrates Middle Eastern women of all faiths, be disparaged online. Unfortunately, this is not the first time we have been recipients of false accusations of anti-Semitism and this will likely not be the last. The notion that Palestinians are intrinsically anti-Semitic is a harmful and false narrative rooted in racism. This stereotype is harmful to not only Palestinians, but ignores the very REAL problem of anti-Semitism happening around the world. The books we publish amplify marginalized and underrepresented voices, including indigenous Palestinians, who are often left voiceless in Western media. We also publish talented Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, agnostic, etc. authors who further our cultural understanding of their lived experiences. 

He then went on to make fun of one tweet. 

One of the women profiled is Scheherazade, from Persia. Persia is not listed on the map, which means the children won't be able to identify where she came from!  So from the outset, we can see that the publisher is not being intellectually honest in his defense of a propaganda map that erases Israel.

Moushabeck goes on to misrepresent and demean the feelings of the people complaining. No one is saying that "Palestinians are intrinsically antisemitic." If the map drew Palestine as being in the West Bank, no one would have cared.

But the decision to erase the Jewish state is indeed antisemitic. 

Including women who represent all religions and areas of the Middle East except for members of one religion and one nation is indeed antisemitic. (And saying that women of "all faiths" are celebrated means that to the publisher, Jews don't count.)

There is also another implication in this letter: that women from ancient powerful empires like Egypt, Persia and the Ottoman Empire represent "marginalized and underrepresented voices," that Christians and Muslims who make up billions of people are "marginalized." Is Cleopatra really that marginalized? But the tiny number of Jews from a small ancient kingdom to a small modern democracy are not worth mentioning.

Let's be honest. The reason there are no Jews or Israel in the book is because the author and publisher do not believe that Jews have any rightful place in the region, historically or today. 

Let's be even more honest. If the book treated Jewish women on par with the others, and included Israel in the map and Israeli women like Nobel Prize winner Ada Yonath or Israel Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch or poet Leah Goldberg, the book would be boycotted by the target audience

So cut the crap. This has nothing to do with Palestinians and everything to do with what can only be considered a deliberate mindset that Jews are outsiders, colonialists - in short, the enemy. 

That's why this book is antisemitic. 

The publisher's letter that twists the arguments about the book and belittles the Jews who were insulted by it proves the underlying antisemitism more than the book itself does. 

I don't like censorship but this book promotes the idea that Jews do not belong in the region, and it is therefore utterly unsuitable to be bought by anyone who supports the liberal stance that Interlink Publishing pretends to espouse.

(h/t Jim W)

UPDATE: The UK publisher has pulled the book from its website after a legal action by UK Lawyers for Israel.

UK Lawyers for Israel warned Pikku Publishing the book, called ‘Amazing Women of the Middle East: 25 Stories from Ancient Times to Present Day,’ could be in breach of education laws if used as a teaching aid in schools because it featured no Israeli women and had erased Israel from a map of the region.

The book, which is marketed to children over the age of nine, is listed on a web page marked “Teachers’ Resources” on the publisher’s website.

UKLFI warned self-publishing company Pikku if the book were used as a teaching aid in schools it would be likely to result in a breach Section 406 of the Education Act 1996.

This forbids ‘political indoctrination’, which is defined as the promotion of partisan political views in the teaching of any subject in the school.

The UK Lawyers for Israel requested the publishers both in the UK and the USA withdraw the book and re-publish it with the correct map and featuring at least one ‘Amazing Woman’ from Israel.

The title has been withdrawn both from Pikku’s website and the teaching resources based on the book have also been removed from the ‘teachers’ resources’ section.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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