Education is always on the minds of those who want to initiate change, but the concrete acquisition of knowledge begins much earlier than many assume. Those focusing on college are two decades too late, and being that far behind makes it all the more difficult to make progress in a timely manner. While much of what is seen in the news lately focuses on the activism of college students at universities such as Columbia, UCLA, Yale, and Harvard, the sweeping influence these protestors have had on their peers is due to several factors, most of which have to do with K-12 education. 

A key factor in successfully coercing someone into following a cause is not just what one learns in the moment, but what one has not learned in their past to prepare them for processing new information. The greatest tool at an activist teacher’s disposal is schema. The psychology of education is crucial in understanding the ‘why’ question so many are now asking as America witnesses the support of Hamas’ terrorism across the country. In this case, not having learned about the Israel-Palestine conflict has left a void in the minds of many that is now being filled by those with a flawed interpretation of history based on the agenda of radicals who wish to see the annihilation of Israel. 

According to Merriam-Webster, schema is “a mental codification of experience that includes a particular organized way of perceiving cognitively and responding to a complex situation or set of stimuli.” Structural Learning defines it as “schema is a mental framework that helps individuals organize, process, and store information about their environment. These mental structures are essential for understanding the complexities of the world, as they allow us to interpret new experiences through the lens of pre-existing schemas.” In even simpler terms, however, schema can be said to simply be the building of background knowledge. This crucial aspect of education is what radicals take advantage of, knowing that most students are learning about many topics, people, places, and events for the very first time in their lives. 

How are anti-Israel advocates using the foundations of education to their advantage? They are beginning to influence children as young as kindergarten, and even earlier, with the most basic form of knowledge acquisition: books. 

The following list covers several anti-Israel books researched by The Locke Society, all of which came up in simple searches and suggestions. It is interesting to note that several symbols and images appeared almost universally in all of them, with some repeating symbols and images consistently throughout the book. These symbols and images include a key (which stands for the “right to return”), olive branches, the keffiyeh, a cat, white doves or pigeons, a map of Israel, the year 1948, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Additionally, nearly each book is written expertly for children with the use of rhyme as well as techniques that draw in young readers, such as including laughter, joy, and fun. Across all books, the authors and illustrators do expert work on targeting the five senses, an exceptional way to reach young readers, by helping them see, feel (emotionally), hear, taste, and smell what they are reading, and in this case they are being connected to Palestine. The learning resources included in most books for learning key vocabulary words are also essential in ensuring comprehension. 

Zain & Mima: Stand For Palestine

Written by: Eman Kourtam, Illustrated by: Sophia Soliman (Generally recommended for ages 6-8) 

This book begins by drawing young readers in with a familiar and friendly experience of returning home from school to their favorite dinner and dessert. Quickly, the book takes a turn towards “Mama’s” sadness. The book then takes the children on a journey to an anti-Israel protest where they learn and see phrases such as, “FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA PALESTINE WILL BE FREE!” Mama gives her children, who are hesitant to join at first, a sense of urgency and goes on to equate Jews with Nazis, and suggests that one of the problems with Hitler was that he “made zionism thrive.” The images in the book are captivating yet alarming, with swastikas and false depictions of Jews, that can cause readers to make false connections, most disturbingly that Israel is no different than Nazi Germany. One quote from this book is, “The sad thing is the cruelty is being repeated, by Zionists treating Palestinians the same unfair way they were treated [by the Nazis].” The book ends with a call to action for readers to join the movement to boycott, divest, and sanction (BDS) Israel, as well as raise posters and march on the streets to advocate for the annihilation of Israel. The children, in proudly joining the protest at the end of the book, have notedly made their mama proud, something many children likely want to do themselves. 

This book appears in two university libraries as well as one public library in California, at the time of this publication.

Baba, What Does My Name Mean? (A Journey to Palestine)

Written by: Rifk Ebeid, Illustrated by: Lamaa Jawhari (Generally recommended for ages 5-12)

This book helps readers associate Palestine with virtue through its consistent use of positive descriptive words that blurs reality. The author uses the following words, among others, to describe Palestine: pride, divine, heavenly, pretty, gorgeous, old, peace, and “like a dream.” Also included in the book is the line, “We will continue to outline the map of Palestine, from the river to the sea.” 

The book concludes with the main character being draped in a “superhero kufiiyyah cape” that she can “wear with pride.” The main character then reveals that she knows what her superpower is: 

“I know what my superhero power will be! I will fly all around the world and open people’s minds using my key. I will unlock all the truths about Palestine and educate everyone about its true history. Through persistence and perseverance, I know one day we will be free.”

The main character will likely become a teacher. 

This book appears in nearly 70 public libraries, at the time of this publication. 

You are the Color

Written by: Rifk Ebeid, Illustrated by: Noor Alshalabi (Generally recommended for ages 4-8) 

In this follow up book to Baba, What Does My Name Mean?, author Rifk Ebeid makes a direct hit on Israel. Captivating illustrations that fuel all sorts of emotions makes this book particularly memorable and approachable by children. That aside, the author does not hold back any hatred of Israel, Zionists, and the Jewish people. 

The main character is a child who is miserable and is reprimanded by his mother for trying to draw pictures in color to bring happiness into his mind and lighten his heart. Two particular pages in the book take you on a whirlwind of happiness as the boy draws all of the memories that make him happy. When he shows his mother at home, she “tosses” the drawings aside, telling the sad child, “Colors aren’t going to take us back home.” 

This book also depicts Jews as similar to German Nazi’s in their appearance and actions. 

Another part of the book worth noting is that the boy’s teacher is the one who helps him find happiness, not his mother. His teacher tells him how he can be happy, by leaving pictures up in the classroom to look at when he feels sad. The child then gets the idea to paint the outside of the buildings where he lives in color with the memories that make him happy. His mother then has a change of heart and embraces the colors her son has brought into her life. 

The most disturbing part of this book is in the author’s note, which is the case for many of these books. One line worth noting is in the author’s statement on Israel that it is “one of the most brutal regimes of our times.” 

This book appears in 32 public libraries, at the time of this publication. 

These Olive Trees: A Palestinian Family’s Story

Written by: Aya Ghanameh (Generally recommended for ages 3-5) 

Although this book is not as colorful or as exciting as the others, its message and design appeals to readers, especially teachers, who want children to sympathize with anti-Israel protesters. The book focuses on the life of one girl in a refugee camp who learns about the significance of olive trees to her “homeland” and witnesses the resilience of the people around her in their effort to survive “the occupying state and settlers” who have “destroyed” their way of life, including their olive trees. The book depicts what is obviously Israel, yet is inferred, with ghostly hands carefully grabbing at the ground to move what is there. With this book, the author and illustrator have developed a high quality book for inquiry into the Palestinian conflict with a heavy anti-Israel bias. 

This book appears in more than 250 public libraries and numerous universities, at the time of this publication. 

My Name is Palestine

Written by: Nadine Foty, Illustrated by: Wathmi de Zoysa (Generally recommended for ages 2-9) 

This book expertly replicates a Disney-like feel, which is highly attractive to young readers and will likely draw their attention. From a fairy-like main character with a magic wand and sparkles, the images of the book are familiar and compelling. The author writes the book in short rhyme, and turns it into a game where children have to guess the main character’s superpower, which is Palestine. 

One quote from this book suggests that Palestine is the example of what is good and virtuous in the world: “Palestine is in my eye. It helps me to see. What is fair and kind.”

This book appears in two public libraries, one in Ohio and one in Illinois, at the time of this publication. 

Homeland: My Father Dreams of Palestine

Written by: Hannah Moushabeck, Illustrated by: Reem Madoh (Generally recommended for ages 4-9) 

This book is the most threatening of all because it is presented very well, and The Locke Society covered it by itself in an article that appeared on This book has sold out on First Book marketplace, a highly popular platform for teachers or schools to purchase books at discounted prices, and has since been restocked. The book covers every angle necessary to breed a new generation of anti-Israel advocates using brilliant techniques to captivate young readers and bring them on a journey that fosters a love of Palestine and a hatred towards Israel. Despite Israel not being mentioned once in the book, there are several parts in which a teacher must provide that background information themselves as students wonder why the childrens’ father can not return home…yet. 

This book is available in nearly 300 public libraries across America, and undoubtedly countless schools as it has been sold out, and now restocked, on First Book marketplace. 

While awareness is important, especially knowing the ideas and beliefs behind one’s opposition, it is more important to take action to make a difference. It is often said that silence encourages those who are doing the wrong thing. If the people who know the real history of the Israel-Palestine conflict remain silent, then those who wish to annihilate Israel will be empowered to spread their narrative to those who don’t know any better and will blindly support their advocacy. 

The best way to fight the anti-Israel activism sweeping through many schools across the country is not to ban any of these books, but to have conservative and moderate teachers in the classroom who will not use any of these books for the purpose of building anti-Israel sentiment among youth. If these books end up in schools, radical or uninformed teachers may use them, but those who know better will turn them into nothing more than dust collectors. It is for this reason that America needs conservative and moderate teachers in schools across the country who will not fuel the indoctrination of the radical left, but ensure that students are given every opportunity to make their own informed decisions and discover their own values.