The official Palestinian flag in 1939 was a Union Jack

By: Arron Williams
December 7 2023

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The official Palestinian flag in 1939 was a Union Jack

Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts


The Verdict False

In 1939, Palestine was under the British Mandate and used the Union Jack as its official flag. The official flag did not use the Star of David.

Claim ID 7074b3f3


A recently emerging claim on X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook shows an image from a 1939 copy of the Larousse French dictionary. In the image, the Palestinian flag has a Star of David in its center and a blue and white vertical bisection design. 

X post of image shared alongside claims supposedly showing flags in 1939 Larousse French Dictionary. (Source: Twitter).

Alongside this image are claims this was the official flag of Palestine in 1939. These claims are usually followed by comments that the 1939 flag was Jewish.

In fact

According to the United Nations, the League of Nations placed Palestine under British administration in 1922, known as the British Mandate of Palestine. In 1939, Palestine was still under the control of the British mandate. The mandate lasted until 1948, but in 1947, following rising violence, Jewish immigration, and demands for Arab Independence, the British reached out to the United Nations. The United Nations proposed terminating the mandate and creating two independent states with Jerusalem internationalized. However, the state of Israel declared its independence in 1948.

Dr. Anthony Gorman, a senior lecturer in Modern Middle East History at Edinburgh University, told Logically Facts, "There seems little doubt that the only official flag that Palestine had during the mandate right up until 1948 was the Union Jack, with variations of it, for example, used for particular occasions."

Encyclopedia Britannica also states that the official flag of the mandate was the Union Jack. Other mandate flags were used with a civil ensign that utilized the British Red Ensign and another that used the British Blue Ensign. These flags were defaced with a white disk inscribed with the word "Palestine." 

The Palestinian British Red Ensign used in the British Mandate. (Source: Wikimedia Commons/User: Greentubing, User: AnonMoos). 

A photograph of another flag is also available on the Imperial War Museum website, showing the flag of the Palestine High Commissioner. It is a Union Jack with a white disk inscribed with the word Palestine in its center. 

The flag of the Palestine High Commissioner. (Source: Imperial War Museum/ © IWM FLA 6).

All the official flags of the mandate use the Union Jack; no official Palestinian flags used the Star of David in 1939.

Dr. Gorman also told Logically Facts, "The flag with the Star of David that you reference seems to have been featured by Larousse, perhaps as early as 1924 and up to 1939, chosen for reasons best known to itself. It didn't have official status and given the political circumstances in Palestine in 1939, it is not possible to think that it might have such status. Rather, it was one of a number of Zionist flags used by the movement during the interwar period."

Many claims sharing the Star of David Palestinian flag also carry the same photo of flags supposedly shown in the 1939 edition of the Larousse French Dictionary. A reverse image search of this photo led to an image uploaded to Wikimedia Commons in 2015. The source of the image links to a Russian-language article on the Israel-based Orenu website. This article credits the flag to another website called "Factual Israel," which is no longer active. Beyond the flag supposedly appearing in the 1939 Larousse French Dictionary, there is no evidence that this flag was used in any official capacity. 

Logically Facts contacted the Larousse French Dictionary team for comment but has yet to receive a response.

The verdict

The official flag of the British Mandate of Palestine in 1939 was the Union Jack. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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