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MK Anat Berko

MK Dr. Anat Berko (Likud) on Wednesday started an international crisis when she told the Knesset plenum that the Arabs who live in Israel and elsewhere cannot pronounce the name they’ve picked for their future state, “Palestine.”

The Arab alphabet has a variety of beautiful sounds which are created in areas of the human mouth and throat that European languages never visit. But Arabic does not have the “P” sound, and Arabs, for the most part, have a hard time pronouncing words with the letter P in them, opting usually for the letter B instead, which is also created by the human lips.


Which is why, as MK Berko pointed out, it’s pretty embarrassing when your national leaders pick for your new nation and country a name you can’t pronounce — Palestine.

The name was initially picked by the Romans, looking to eradicate every remnant of Jewish history from the land, they were in such a rage over the bloody nose they got from those pesky rebels in 132-35 CE. So they went with Palestine, a Latin mispronunciation of Eretz Plishtim, named after an invading nation that had itself disappeared 600 years earlier.

So Arabs can’t say Palestine, and in Arabic the name is pronounced Falastin. There are many other Arab mispronunciations of European words, like Napoli (Naples), the name of a Roman built city in Samaria, they call Nablus, which is also known as Shechem of Biblical lore. Israeli folklore is rich with jokes about the words Arabs can’t pronounce, including the pro-Arab group Beace Now, and household gadgets made from Blastic.

Apparently, Anat Berko’s slight hit a raw nerve, and the entire left side of the aisle began shouting at her, calling her racist (grammatical racism — is that a thing?), and accusing her of incitement (to what? Brober bronunciation?). Several Arab MKs left in a huff (they usually have a huff waiting for them in the hall for just that purpose). Foreign Policy, that bastion of quality journalism, carried the story under the headline: Israeli Lawmaker: “There Can’t Be a Palestine Because Arabic Has No ‘P.’

Berko’s best taunt Wednesday was when she said, “Can you even imagine that the Jewish national liberation movement were named Zionism if the letter Z didn’t exist in Hebrew?”

Actually, the name in Hebrew is “Tziyonut,” and the letter is “Tzadik,” but you get the point.

In the end, Berko made her point quite well regarding the obvious lack of authenticity of the entire Palestinian narrative, made out of whole cloth by Arab politicians in an attempt to erect a barrier before the Jews’ return to Eretz Israel. The name Palestine back then was in popular use (Golda Meir once pointed out that she, too, at one point had been a Palestinian, because the British mandate of 1918-48 was named Palestina-E.I., the ending being the abbreviation of Eretz Israel).

Finally, the most important and really funny part about the Arabs of Eretz Israel using the name Palestine and Palestinians: the name Plishtim, the source of the Roman pick for occupied Judea, is a Hebrew word originating in the root P.L.Sh., as in Polshim-Invaders. The Plishtim were not Semites but Hellenic tribes who sailed the Aegean Sea to Canaan and settled along the coast between Gaza and Ashdod.

So that the Arabs of Eretz Israel picked the name “Invaders” to describe their right to the land stolen by the Romans from the Jews.

Now you really, really know everything you need to know about the Palestinian Liberation Movement.


The ‘P’ excerpt from MK Dr. Berko’s speech:

The full Knesset speech:

For a full history, watch this:


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  1. In Hebrew, the letter פ is pronounced both “p” and “ph” (f). I believe it is the same with Arabic. In fact, Israelis pronounce the word Palestine as “Phalasteen”, even though there is a “p” in Hebrew. It is therefore apparent that we are just seeing the right-wing version of Ha’aretz’s pathetic attempts at political humor while trying to make it look like they are writing substance (see the article where they “analyze” Netanyahu’s personality and policy based on his combover).

  2. Neopolis not Naples:
    Nablus (Arabic: نابلس Nāblus [næːblʊs] ( listen), Hebrew: שכם Šəḵem, Biblical Shechem ISO 259-3 Škem, Greek: Νεάπολις Νeapolis) is a city in the northern West Bank, approximately 49 kilometers (30 mi) north of Jerusalem,[2]

  3. You really should know, and not just believe, that there is no P in Arabic. And the word Palestine was given to this area by the Romans, and referred to all of its population, Jews included. You might want to catch up on some history before making your assumptions.

  4. In 1988, IN FACT, Yasser AraBfaRt, יש״ו, said to the world, I quote, “I announce tourism”, and the whole stupid world said – and the leftists believed – that he had “renounced terrorism”. I wonder if there are any other recordings beside an old VHS cassette that I keep somewhere…

  5. Michael Bergman: you OBVIOUSLY have never hang around much with the Arabs, and have NO IDEA what you are talking about! Hebrew here is not the issue! Arabic is! 22 years ago, on Israeli TV, there was a VERY funny interview to Arab MK Abdulwahab Darawshe, in which, in Hebrew, he was going back and forth with the funny interviewer who was asking him if he was sure that it was open, if it was sure or open. In Hebrew open is Patuach, and sure is Batuach, which in Darawhse’s speech became BOTH Batuach, since he could not pronounce the letter “P” just like almost all the local Arabs. Even he, an intelligent man – very anti-Israel, but with a good sense of humor – realized it and laughed wholeheartedly.


  7. Mark Brecker When I built my house in Kedumim, I bought the stone from a distinguished Arab family from Schem (Nablus). I had a very good relationship with owner. One day we were siting and chatting in English and he told me that he lives in a "bent house". It took me a while until I figured out that he was saying "penthouse".

  8. By the way, I notice every morning when I ride the train to work in Tel Aviv that in this Apartheid nation, the voice of the recorded announcements on the train is probably an Arab because when they announce the transfer points for the train to the airport, the announcement says "…Bassengers wishing to travel to Ben Gurion…."

  9. No, the Sages taught, the Plishtim, were not Hellenic tribes from the Aegean but the bastard offspring of Patrusim and Casluchim who were wife-swappers in the line of Ham, like the Canaanites, and their homeland was North Africa. Otherwise, a most enjoyable piece.

  10. OK…so there's no letter P, so I guess the name is Bail-estine. That's a sound they can make and if they repeat it a number of times they may get the subliminal message to BAIL OUT to one of the other 22 Arab Countries who are waiting for them with open arms.

  11. MUTUAL DIS-RESPECT – is what a "normal" Knesset session is all about – it is simply inconceivable, that ANY recommendation or decision, by the Right or the Left could pass without even More recriminations, angry outbusts, insults, accusations, rude disregards – miss anything ?!

  12. As a child, I was once beaten up because I, as a Jew, allegedly couldn't pronounce the w and said 'vater' instead of 'water' It was just an excuse for anti-semitism, I had no problem with the pronunciation.

    It's sad to see that Jews now find this kind of idiotic racist sterotyping to be so amusing. Perhaps that's the whole point of Zionism, to make Jews feel good by being the bullying racists instead of the victim.

  13. Islam itself must be outlawed and eradicated.

    And just because there are 1.8 billion Muslims, that does not make the problem insurmountable but rather simply a larger problem. And thus it needs to be dealt with initially in a different fashion.

    Search for the following: "Learn about Islam. That is the most important thing for people to do. Learn who it is that you are not." – Samuel Lurie

  14. Agreed. And outlawing Islam should be relatively easy in every Western society where polygamy is illegal. In every jurisdiction where there is a mosque, patriotic citizens should file a complaint with the proper authorities because the mosque fosters polygamy. Court orders could then empower marshals and sheriffs to padlock these illegal operations The Mormons repeatedly petitioned the US Congress to make the Utah Territory a state for 40 years but were refused every time because they were polygamists. In 1890, they finally, officially, rejected the practice, and in 1896 received statehood. Yes, Islam must be outlawed.

  15. You understand nothing. Dr. Berko was making the point that never in history was there a country called Palestine never a government of Palestine run by people who called themselves “Palestinians” or were called that by others. Never was there a “Palestinian” people; never a “Palestinian” language. The name is perfectly absent from the Koran. In fact, the leader of the Arabs in Eretz Yisrael for 40 years after WWI was Grand Mufti Haj Amin who was adamant that there was no such country called Palestine. It was all southern Syria, he said, and he was absolutely right — from an Arab point of view. Dr. Berko was making the point that Palestine is so meaningless to Arabs, they can’t ever pronounce the name properly. And you, sir, are an antiJew in the same category as Jimmy Carter or anyone else who attaches the words “racist” and “apartheid” to Israel. And that you were born a Jew means nothing. Some of the greatest antisemites in history were Jews like you.

  16. Phantom Nation: Inventing the "Palestinians" as the Obstacle to Peace 1 – you said I used 'apartheid' – I didn't. 2. You say I accused all Jews in Israel racisty bullies. I didn't. But don't let the facts stand in the way of your name calling. I better tell my extended Jewsih family, including the cousins and old friends in Israel, that I am now an official anti-semite!

  17. It is always amusing when people think that by pretending to be intelctual they can deny truth and still sound right. Do you seriously think that anyone will believe the lie you just stated "that there is no mention of a land called ISRAEL in any genuine record before 1947"? Israel is mentioned in every reliable history in every nation on earth that had contact with the region. There are litterally stacks of documents in museums all over the Midddle East and for that matter the world that record the history of Israel and not one of them mention Palestine. Get a life.

  18. Excellent article. It is very telling that Palestinians and the pro-Palestinian crowd think that the truth is an enemy of their cause. It is sad really, for truth would have been sufficient for justice. The truth is that whether Palestinian or Arab, they are human beings who deserve to be able to live with dignity, self determination, and hope. But these rights are determined by a willingness to let others have the same rights. If the Palestinian people would make it their ambition to see that the Jewish nation of Israel gets to live securely, peacefully, and permanently, and then expect or even demand that they also get the same treatment and respect as the Palestinian nation they would succeed overnight. Respect and rights are earned.

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