Palestinian propaganda T-shirts that distort history and appear to glorify terrorism are brazenly sold by vendors in Jerusalem.
By Tsivya Fox
Visitors to Israel’s capital may be shocked to find Arab vendors in Jerusalem’s Old City hawking souvenir T-shirts that glorify terrorism, rewrite the Holy Land’s history, and promote Palestinian propaganda. Amazon, eBay, and Sears have also offered similar anti-Israel items.
Palestinian souvenir T-shirts sold in Jerusalem include bootleg images of infamous street artist Banksy’s “Balloon Girl” painting, which is no coincidence since Palestinian terrorists have repurposed balloons and kites into implements of terror and the British artist is vocally anti-Israel.
Since 2018, Hamas-directed cells in Gaza have used balloons to send incendiary devices into Israel, burning thousands of acres of farmland and nature reserves, causing millions of dollars in irreparable damage. With this technique gaining popularity among factions in Gaza, images of balloons and kites, like the ones found on souvenir T-shirts in Jerusalem, appear to allude to this form of terrorism.
“These T-shirts are a brilliantly insidious, seemingly innocuous and effective Arab propaganda technique. They contain dangerous, anti-Semitic and anti-Israel aesthetics,” said Avi Dobuler, an American-born, veteran tour guide in Israel.
Dobuler added, “As a tour guide who regularly brings visitors to the Old City, one of the many shops selling propaganda T-shirts is strategically located at the junction of Christian Quarter Road and Street of the Chain leading to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount.”
International security expert Joshua Wander expounded on the primary themes of these souvenirs, explaining, “I think that the message of many of these T-shirts is lost on the vast majority of tourists who walk by and may even purchase them.”
“Many of these T-shirts have subliminal or even politically overt messages that mean one thing to the Arab world and a completely different thing to the average tourist,” Wander told UWI. “It’s similar to speeches given by Arab leaders who say one thing in English and something completely different in Arabic.”
Terror Balloons and False Narratives
Other images on Palestinian souvenir T-shirts include the entire map of Israel covered with the Palestinian flag or with Arabic names replacing the Hebrew names for cities, the motto “Make Israel Palestine Again,” and a “Google search” for Israel that reads, “Did you mean Palestine?”
One of the shirts features another pilfered Banksy image of a man with his face covered, tossing a bouquet of flowers instead of a Molotov cocktail, the projectile of choice at many Palestinian riots.
“The portrayals of young men or children tossing flowers or balloons distorts acts of terrorism that Israelis have faced for decades,” Dobuler told United with Israel (UWI). “Instead, they portray their acts as peaceful, beautiful and graceful, belying that their balloons are laced with explosives that can kill, burn, maim and have destroyed thousands of of acres of agriculture and forests as well as killing animals and destroying property.”
There are other T-shirts for sale that openly or covertly promote violence. These include the image of a slingshot decorated in Palestinian colors and a red hand print intended to evoke a scene in 2000 when Palestinian terrorists who had just lynched two Israelis held their blood-soaked hands out of a window in Ramallah.
Another shirt bears the motto, “PALESTINE WILL BE FREE, FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA,” a euphemism for the complete elimination of the Jewish state.
“Our neighbors don’t try to hide their thoughts and beliefs,” David Wilder, former international spokesperson for the Hebron Jewish community told UWI. “In the age of being politically correct, they continue to spout their truth, which they call their ‘narrative’ and I call science fiction. We too must call it as we see it, that what they call ‘Palestine,’ is the Land of Israel.”
Samaria councilman David Ha’Ivri told UWI, “These T-shirts, with the whole map of Israel marked as ‘Palestine’ are similar to all other Palestinian logos and icons. Their literature shows that their goal is to replace the Jewish State of Israel with an Arab PLO state. They have no vision of compromise and coexistence with the Jewish State and have continuously offered no flexibility on this core issue.”