Anti-Israel Group Peddles Children's Book That Glorifies Jewish State's Eradication

Council on American-Islamic Relations urges local libraries to adopt 'suggested Palestine reading list' for kids

Nihad Awad (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
January 4, 2024

An anti-Israel group whose founder said he was "happy to see" Hamas attack Israel is urging local libraries to feature children's books that push propaganda against the Jewish state—including one that contends all of Israel belongs to "Palestine."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in late December released its "Palestine Beyond Borders" toolkit, which it said aims to "encourage libraries and bookstores to feature book displays on Palestine" and foster "a deeper appreciation for the multifaceted aspects of Palestinian history." Included in the kit are a dozen children's books, one of which calls on kids to "unlock all the truths about Palestine and educate everyone about its true history."

That book, Baba, What Does My Name Mean?, takes a fictional child "refugee" on a "journey to Palestine," which, according to a map displayed prominently at the beginning of the book, includes all land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. The map displays Tel Aviv, Haifa, and other Israeli cities as part of "Palestine," the capital of which, according to the book, is Al-Quds, an Arabic name for Jerusalem. The book ends by stating that "through persistence and perseverance," Palestinians will "one day … be free."

CAIR, which did not return a request for comment, bills itself as "the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization." It has deep ties to the White House and Democratic Party, with the Biden administration earlier this year tapping the group as a partner in its "National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism." In 2019, meanwhile, scores of congressional Democrats privately issued letters of support for CAIR ahead of the group's Washington, D.C. gala, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote that CAIR has his "utmost thanks and appreciation" in a November 2022 letter.

Since then, CAIR's leader, Nihad Awad, has praised Hamas's Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

During a Nov. 24 speech, Awad said he "was happy to see" Gazans "break the siege" on Oct. 7 before arguing that "Israel, as an occupying power, does not have a right to defend itself." CAIR also blamed Hamas's attack on Israel, urging Congress to address the "root cause of Mideast violence," which it identified as the "Israeli government's apartheid policies."

In addition to Baba, What Does My Name Mean?, the group's toolkit features at least one children's book that glorifies Palestinian terrorism.

P Is for Palestine, for example, promotes Palestinian "intifada," which it says is "Arabic for rising up for what is right, if you are a kid or grownup!" Another book on CAIR's list, Zain and Mima: Stand for Palestine, depicts two young children who are encouraged to protest against Israeli "apartheid" and call for a "Free, Free Palestine."

The author of Baba, What Does My Name Mean?, Rifk Ebeid, has echoed Awad's praise of Hamas and its Oct. 7 attack. Ebeid in an Oct. 16 Instagram post lauded the "Palestinian struggle for freedom and liberation from the shackles of Zionist colonialism and violence," which she said "will be studied in history books and serve as a reminder to humanity of what human resilience looks like." Just two days later, Ebeid falsely accused Israel of bombing a Gazan hospital in an "Israeli massacre" that she said killed "1000+ Palestinians."

CAIR itself has been linked to Hamas. A federal judge in 2007 found "ample evidence to establish the association" between the two groups.