Anti-Israel Stamps Featured in Israeli and Topical Judaica Philately

(5/2008; rev. 6/2010)

 

Geoffrey Horowitz

 

Introduction

 

In the spring 2008, three peers and I began to research Emory University’s The Sol Singer Collection of Philatelic Judaic, a comprehensive collection featuring Israeli and topical Judaica philately. Composed of three comprehensive series, the Collection already included many details provided as a result of the efforts of the staff of Emory Library, Dr. David Blumenthal, and Levi Stewart. From this point, Dr. Blumenthal led our group through the task of further classifying this extensive collection, with each of us focusing on a more detailed aspect from which to research. I chose to study the category of Anti-Israel Stamps, focusing on stamps within Emory’s collection, as well as from outside sources. Ultimately, this undertaking resulted in a much more comprehensive understanding of philately within this category.

 

“The Emory Stampchart of Israeli and Topical Judaica Postage Stamps”

 

            This stampchart was composed in a format designed by Dr. David Blumenthal and myself, classifying the collection of stamps both within and outside of the Sol Singer Collection. The following eighteen rubrics were observed, all of which were contained on an Excel spreadsheet:

 

Basic

Country of Issue

Date of Issue

Scott Catalogue number (or other catalogue number)

IPS (Israeli Philatelic Service) number (for Israeli stamps only)

Content

Title (usually from one of the catalogues)

Description (usually from one of the catalogues)

Additional Information (usually provided by us)

Internet Links (provided by us)

Categories (the purpose of this is to provide searchable categories)

Category A

Category B

Category C

MARBL Categories (provided by the Library cataloguers)

Philatelic

Format

Denomination

Color

Locators

Volume (in the Singer Collection)

Sequence (within each volume of the Singer Collection)

Non-Emory Source (for stamps added to the stampchart not in the Singer Collection)

 

“The Emory Stampchart of Israeli and Topical Judaica Postage Stamps” is available online.

 

Additionally, Professor Blumenthal created a subsequent stampchart designed to eliminate repeated entries. This compilation contains only one format per catalogue entry. It is called A General Stampchart of Israeli and Judaica Topical Postage Stamps” and is also available for online viewing in various forms.

 

Methodology

 

Following the methodology of Levi Stewart and David R. Blumenthal, I set out to create a comprehensive topical collection of Anti-Israel stamps. I first sorted through Singer Collection and categorized each stamp that was associated with the Anti-Israel topic. I also looked for stamps that were outside the Emory collection, utilizing Isaac Borodinsky, Judaica in Philately: An Annotated Checklist,[1] the Judaica Post, Volume 6, No. 3,[2] and the Scott Catalogue.[3] This generated "The Stampchart for Anti-Israel Topical Judaica Postage Stamps," arranged by country and date.

I, then, proceeded to group all the Anti-Israel Stamps into three progressively detailed categories. Category A was “Anti-Israel.” Category B either named the referent of the stamp or the category of the depiction on the stamp. These categories included “Conflicts,” “Buildings,” “Emblems,” “Flags,” “Maps,” “Monuments,” and “People.” Finally, Category C was the specific identity of category B. This generated "The Stampchart for Anti-Israel Topical Judaica Postage Stamps," arranged by category B and then "The Stampchart for Anti-Israel Topical Judaica Postage Stamps," arranged by category C.

In the course of my research, I found that some stamps such as the “Deir Yassin” collection, were clearly issued as a statement against the state of Israel and were therefore undoubtedly to be labeled as Anti-Israel. However, some stamps supported the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people, but were not Anti-Israel. Examples of these include the “Palestinian Solidarity Day” stamps. I labeled these stamps as “Pro-Palestinian” and moved them to separate sheet for further research by other students who will find it necessary to do much work to complete this project.[4]

Still other stamps proved more difficult to classify. For example, many stamps that dealt with the Palestinian refugees could either be considered Pro-Palestinian or Anti-Israel. Seeing the actual stamps sometimes helped in classifying them; often, that did not help. I decided to categorize stamps as Anti-Israel when they seemed to blame Israel for the plight of the Palestinians.

 

“The Stampchart for Anti-Israel Topical Judaica Postage Stamps”

 

All in all I have found a total of 172 stamps that would be included in an Anti-Israel topical collection. Of this number, 39 stamps we currently have in our Emory Collection; the non-Emory collection includes another 133 stamps. The following conclusions seem warranted:

• Anti-Israel stamps were not really issued before the 1960s (only 1 stamp in our collection is from before this point – Egypt (Scott #404)). Furthermore, the number of Anti-Israel stamps started decreasing dramatically during the 1990s (only 14 stamps issued in this decade).

• Almost all of the Anti-Israel stamps were issued by either Arab or Muslim countries. There were no Western/European (with the exception of El Salvador) countries who issued Anti-Israel stamps, and only a select few other countries issued Pro-Palestinian stamps.

• According to the original selection listed in Borodinsky, Egypt has the most Anti-Israel stamps. After looking at these stamps, however, I did not consider many of them Anti-Israel in nature. Most of the stamps that I discarded as non-Anti-Israel came after the 1970s probably as a result of the treaty between Israel and Egypt.

• Some countries used Israel as a scapegoat in their issued stamps. One example is Iran (Scott #2307). This stamp shows bombs with Iraqi flags hitting Iranian children surrounded by pencils with the following quote: "The tragic bombardment of schools by the Zionist regime of Iraq". Stamp assertion: Iraq is Pro-Zionist and therefore Pro-Zionist Iraq bombed and killed Iranian school children. Thus, Iraq and Israel are the cause of the children’s deaths. It should be noted here that Iraq was in no way Pro-Israel or Pro-Zionist; Iran and Iraq were not on peaceful or even friendly terms during this time period (1988).

• Interestingly, there are no recorded anti-Israel stamps issued by the Palestinian Authority.

• Editor's note on the Deir Yassin Collection: On April 9, 1948, the Arab village of Deir Yassin was attacked by elements of the Jewish Underground resulting in the killing of innocent civilians.This alleged massacre became (and remains) a "cause célèbre" in Palestinian-Israeli-Arab relations. For the generally accepted story of this incident, see Wikipedia, "The Deir Yassin Massacre". For an intelligent counter-presentation, see Maurice Ostroff, "A Response to the Independent re Deir Yassin." In 1965/66, at the decision of the Arab Postal Union, during the year of the 17th anniversary of the Deir Yassin incident, a series of stamps were issued by the countries of the Arab League. All but one had the same motif: the State of Israel with a knife in its center and blood dripping from the knife (see sample from Singer Collection). The Sol Singer Collection originally had one of these stamps. We slowly acquired all of them (see the following chart). [DRB, 6/2010]

 

We welcome comments on our stampcharts as well as articles written on philatelic Judaica that utilize our stampcharts. Correspondence should be directed to Geoffrey Horowitz PO Box 12527, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA; or to my e-mail. Correspondence can also be addressed to Professor David R. Blumenthal, Tam Institute for Jewish Studies, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322; or to his email.

 

Bibliography

 

1.     Borodinsky, Isaac. Judaica in Philately: An Annotated Checklist. 3rd ed. 3 vols. 2003.

2.     Shaath, Nabeel Ali and Hasna' Mikdashi. Palestine: Stamps (1865–1981). Beirut: Dar al-Fata al-Arabi. 2nd ed. 1985

3.     Wolonetz, Harvey. Arab Philatelic Propaganda Against the State of Israel. Ann Arbor, Michigan.1975.

4.     Carol, Steven. Judaica Post. Vol. 6, No. 3. Holbrook, New York. May/June 1978.

Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue. 6 volumes. Scott Publishing Co. New York, New York. 2005.

5.     Abuljebain, Nader Khairiddine. Palestinian history in postage stamps. Beirut: Institute for Palestine Studies/Welfare Association. 2001.

 



[1] Borodinsky, Isaac. Judaica in Philately: An Annotated Checklist. 3rd ed. 3 vols. 2003.

[2] Carol, Steven. Judaica Post. Vol. 6, No. 3. Holbrook, New York. May/June 1978.

[3] Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue. 6 volumes. Scott Publishing Co. New York, New York. 2005.

[4] I excluded Anti-Semitic postage stamps such as those issued during the holocaust on the grounds that they were not against the state of Israel.