Stop Lying to Us, Rachel Kleinman

Updated: Jul 5, 2019

If only it were as simple and true as Highland Park native Rachel A. Kleinman makes it out to be in her May 9, 2019 op-ed. If only the "racist" Jewish community of this small New Jersey town valued education and diversity. If only they understood the colorfully-illustrated message of "peace" on the cover of Golbarg Bashi's "P is for Palestine," they would welcome Bashi to Highland Park's library and learn something from listening to her read this supposedly apolitical book designed to "teach kids about Palestinian culture.” Instead, members of the local Jewish community objected to the scheduled reading so that now "bigotry [. . .] is threatening the integrity" of Highland Park.


Unfortunately, the deceptive cover of Bashi's book, like Columbia University’s Apartheid Divest Campaign, conceals a profound hatred of Israel and a vengeful, murderous rage. The aphorism "You cannot judge a book by its cover" has never been truer.

Bashi, who Kleinman describes as "a children's book author," is in reality a hate-mongering Iranian-born history professor at Pace University, with a Columbia Ph.D. in Middle Eastern Studies. In a tweet dated May 9, 2019, she asserts that Israel is a “racist fascistic settler colony built on the stolen land of another people." She adds that the purpose of her book is to “empower” children that “Zionists target for murder.”

Bashi refined her hatred of Israel at Columbia University, which has a long and extensive history of anti-Semitism, especially its Middle Eastern Studies Department, where BDS thrives. 

BDS pays lip-service to non-violence in much the same dishonest way as the cover of Bashi's book purports to advertise peace. BDS takes direction from the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine (PNIF), which tops the list of members on the BDS website. The Council was created to support the Second Intifada in which hundreds of Israeli civilians were successfully targeted for murder. PNIF's members include the terrorist groups Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine along with Columbia Jewish Voice for Peace created a joint Facebook page entitled Columbia University Apartheid Divest. On May 4, 2019, Palestinian terror groups fired hundreds of rockets from Gaza into Israel. Israel responded with air strikes targeting Hamas and Islamic Jihad. True to form, Hamas falsely accused Israel of killing a 14-month old baby, though the death appears to have been caused by a failed terrorist rocket fired from a civilian area. On the day of these terrorist attacks, justifiable responses, and yet another blood libel, Columbia Apartheid Divest published the following image of a mother whose son was killed in one of the Israeli raids: 

The comment below the photo notes the blood-stained hands raised in the air and the bloody hand prints on the wall behind, serving as a “reminder” that “Israel killed her son.” 

This not-so-subtle demand for blood revenge calls to mind a similar image from the year 2000, when two imprisoned IDF soldiers were lynched by a bloodthirsty Palestinian mob. The event was captured in an infamous photo the Palestinian Authority tried desperately to confiscate and destroy. The photo bears a striking resemblance to the photo posted by Columbia Apartheid Divest while rockets were raining down on Israel. The bloody hands are likewise upraised, this time stained with Israeli blood, in a similar but now celebratory pose; the murderer shouts in triumph as the crowd below cheers. 

Hate and thirst for vengeance lurk beneath the smiling veneer of the so-called "children's book,” with the author's tweets serving as proof of her pernicious intent. Rather than designed to teach about the culture of an "underrepresented group of Americans" the book propagandizes Americans to hate Israel and motivates young Palestinian children to become throwers of rocks and fire, exploders of bombs, and launchers of rockets from mosques, hospitals, and other areas populated by civilians. 

The book’s promoters are either malicious or profoundly ignorant. They cloak themselves in the discourse of social justice and project their malevolence onto those who dare object, accusing them of racism and bigotry. 

Bashi's Palestine is the Palestine envisioned by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and by Iran and its former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who was invited to speak at Columbia in 2007 by a Columbia Middle Eastern Studies professor. The inciteful language of Bashi’s tweet can justify hundreds of rockets indiscriminately fired at Israeli civilians, future intifadas, bloody-handed lynchings, even the nuclear elimination of Israel advocated by the Iranian president welcomed at Columbia by its Middle Eastern Studies Department.

Stop lying to us Rachel Kleinman. Stop lying to the hometown you profess to love. And if you have any decency within, if you do not harbor the malice of Bashi and of the depraved department that certified her as Doctor of Philosophy, wake up and stop lying to yourself. 

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