In case you missed it, Monday was World Keffiyeh Day. Started by Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, a Montreal-based pro-Palestinian organization, to accompany Nakba Day.
Nakba Day, the day of catastrophe, was inaugurated by PLO head Yasser Arafat in 1998 to emphasize the idea among Palestinians that the Biblical prophesied return of the Jewish people to their ancestral home and the resultant declaration of a Jewish state by the entire world was, in fact, a catastrophe for the Palestinian people. The celebration of Nakba Day in Israel is a criminal offense as it entails a call for the destruction of the Jewish state.
Originally a traditional Arab head covering worn exclusively by men, its connection with terrorism has changed the garment while connecting it indelibly with violence and bloodshed. Originating in the Arabian Penninsula, the keffiyeh is now worn through the region. Traditionally worn by Palestinian farmers, the keffiyeh became worn by Palestinian men and became a symbol of Palestinian nationalism during the Arab riots of the 1929 when Arabs in British mandate Palestine murdered hundreds of their Jewish neighbors. Its prominence increased during the 1960s with the beginning of the Palestinian resistance movement and its adoption by Palestinian terrorist Yasser Arafat.
Arab social norms were challenged when Leila Khaled, a female member of the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who participated in two airplane hikackings, wore the keffiyeh
Social norms were stretched even further when it was adopted by pro-Palestinian Jewish students, referred to as “keffiyeh kinderlach. ” This term may have first appeared in print in an article by Bradley Burston in which he writes of “the suburban-exile kaffiyeh kinderlach of Berkeley, more Palestinian by far than the Palestinians” in their criticism of Israel. European activists have also worn the keffiyeh..
The scarf became so poular that Chinese manufacturers began producing cheap version. Ironically, the Palestinian national scarf is produced almost exclusively in China with only one factory for its production left in Hebron, Israel.
Also ironically, the politicized version of the garment frequently features an image of the golden Dome of the Rock, a shrine built on the site of the Jewish Temple. The scarf may also feature a Palestinian flag which is identical to the Jordan flag save for a tiny white star.
The keffiyeh became popular in many countries and even transformed into a purportedly benign fashion accessory. Urban Outfitters and TopShop stocked them, marketing the keffiyeh as “anti-war scarves.”
This year, the keffiyeh took on even more bizarre incarnations. Congressman Rashida Tlaib, an American whose Arab parents emigrated from Israel, posted a photo of herself on Twitter celebrating Keffiyeh Day and Nakba
Happy World #KeffiyehDay!
It is a day to raise awareness of the #Palestinian struggle, the #NakbaDay, and to celebrate the beautiful Palestinian culture! @KeffiyehDay pic.twitter.com/WArBsTLJEj
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) May 11, 2020
Tlaib was sporting a keffiyeh in a distinctly untraditional manner, wrapping it around her shoulders. Apparently she decided that wrapping a keffiyeh around the dog she was holding would be inappropriate so she opted for a canine stars and stripes in a manner some would consider disrespectful to the company she is paid to serve.
To recall, Tlaib wrapped herself in a Palestinian flag upon learning that she won a seat in the House of Representatives back in 2018.
Another bizarre incarnation appeared in Bethlehem in the form of a graffiti produced by a street artist named CAKE$ depicting Jesus using a keffiyeh as a mask worn against the spread of the coronavirus. It should be remembered that Jesus figures heavily in Islam and is considered a major Muslim prophet named Issa. Several Palestinian leaders have declared Jesus to be the first Palestinian martyr in their struggle against the Jews.