Professor praises intifada in 'P is for Palestine' book

Toni Airaksinen
New York Campus Correspondent

  • A pro-Palestine children's book has outraged some Jewish groups by praising "intifada," an Arabic word that also refers to two violent uprisings against Israel that left thousands dead.
  • The author, a professor at Pace University, maintains that while intifada is “associated with the Palestinian uprising,” its real meaning is simply "rising up for what's right."
  • Image via Facebook

    A professor at Pace University recently published a children’s book praising “intifada,” which she claims is “overwhelmingly peaceful.”

    P is for Palestine was written by Golbarg Bashi, who teaches history at the university. In her new book, she uses each letter of the alphabet and illustrations to describe the history of the Palestinian people.

    "In my book, I wanted to highlight the peaceful side of intifada, so that the image that goes with that page is with a father and child showing the peace sign."   

    [RELATED: Muslim students disrupt pro-Israel event at UCI]

    “I is for Intifada, Arabic for rising up for what is right, if you are a kid or grownup!” Bashi wrote in a passage that has since come under fire from numerous Jewish outlets, including The Jewish Journal, Haaretz, The Forward, The Jewish Chronicle, and The Algemeiner.

    Bashi explained to Campus Reform that she wrote the book for her social-justice startup, called Dr. Bashi, which is dedicated to creating educational toys for promoting the Palestinian and Persian language.

    “I wrote it because I couldn't find any books in English about Palestine,” Bashi told Campus Reform. “I myself am a refugee child. My interest in social justice issues started early in life, in Sweden.”

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    While she acknowledged that intifada is “associated with the Palestinian uprising,” she argued that intifada is “overwhelmingly peaceful.”

    The Times of Israel, however, notes that “intifada” has a very different connotation for many Jewish people, evoking memories of the two Palestinian uprisings that resulted in the deaths of roughly 1,300 Israelis and 6,000 Palestinians.

    “In my book, I wanted to highlight the peaceful side of intifada, so that the image that goes with that page is with a father and child showing the peace sign,” Bashi told Campus Reform, saying the word simply refers to “rising up for what is right.”

    [RELATED: Pro-Palestine students shut down openly gay Israeli event]

    "Intifada is overwhelmingly peaceful. Protecting Palestinian trees is intifada. Wearing a Palestinian dress is intifada. Calling yourself Palestinian is intifada, when so many powerful people have said you don't exist,” she concluded, affirming that she’s “very proud” of her book.

    Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine recently praised the book on social media, calling it a “much needed representation of Palestinian culture in children’s literature,” after the owners of a local bookstore released a statement apologizing for the “pain and distress” that the book had caused within the community.

    Campus Reform requested a review copy of the book, but Bashi declined.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen





    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    New York Campus Correspondent
    Toni Airaksinen is a New York Campus Correspondent, where she reports on free speech issues and social justice research. She is a senior at Barnard College, majoring in Urban Studies and Environmental Science. She is also a columnist for PJ Media, and formerly held a post with USA TODAY College, The Columbia Spectator, and Quillette.
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