An Israeli and Palestinian flag at a protest rally (file image)
Neither of these flags officially represented Palestine in 1922. Image by EPA PHOTO

Experts flag various issues with standard claim

Blair Simpson-Wise March 4, 2024

The 1922 flag of Palestine was a Zionist flag featuring the Star of David.


False. The flag in 1922 was the British Union Jack.

A century-old chart is being shared online as proof that a Zionist flag featuring the Star of David was once used to officially represent Palestine.

This is false. Experts told AAP FactCheck the 1922 flag of Palestine was the Union Jack, as the territory was then under the British Mandate.

Multiple Facebook posts (here, here, here, here, here, here and here) feature the claim (archived here) along with an image of an old chart of national and nautical flags.

The captions state: “1922 Philips Flags of All Nations – centre right – Palestine with the Star of David flag. Why? Because #PalestineMeantJewish“.

A screenshot of one of the Facebook posts.
 Experts say the posts are peddling misinformation. 

The chart was originally published about 1922, according to antique map dealer Geographicus.

However, AAP FactCheck has previously explained the only official flags during the 1918-1948 British Mandate were the Union Jack and the Civil Ensign, which featured the Union Jack on a red flag with Palestine written inside a white circle.

Steven Wagner, a lead researcher on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict at Brunel University in the UK, said any post claiming otherwise “amounts to misinformation”.

He said the chart featured a Zionist flag which “was never an official symbol of Palestine”.

“Mandates were not sovereign states and did not have national flags,” Dr Wagner told AAP FactCheck.

A screenshot of the alleged Palestine flag from 1922.
 The flag in the 1922 chart was never Palestine’s official standard. 

Dr Wagner said the Jewish and Arab communities used different flags to represent themselves and their aspirations during the mandate.

A history of the flags used during the mandate explains the Arab and Zionist flags have become the modern standards used by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

“The Zionist movement also made efforts to have their flag and symbology represent Palestine in publications such as Philips, but also even Encyclopedia Britannica,” Dr Wagner said in an email.

“Palestinian leaders worked through UK-based partners in 1927 to have the Zionist flag removed from its entry on Palestine (this is sourced in my book, Statecraft by Stealth p77).

“Thus, the spread of this symbol and the attempt to have it represent Mandatory Palestine was part of a Zionist campaign to reinforce Britain’s Zionist policy, as embodied in the 1917 Balfour Declaration.

“It also reinforced their ambition to found a Jewish state in Palestine.”

The flag of Israel (file image)
 The Israel flag as is known today was made official in 1948. 

Emeritus Professor John B. Quigley, an expert on the Arab-Israeli conflict at Ohio State University, also said the Union Jack was the only official flag during the mandate.

“The flag with the Star of David was a flag made up by the Jewish community, not the flag of Palestine,” Prof Quigley told AAP FactCheck.

Prof Quigley said the flag chart maker in 1922 may have mistakenly listed the Zionist flag as the Palestine flag or could have been a supporter of Zionism.

Emeritus Professor Michael Lynk, a law expert at Western University Ontario and former UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in the Palestinian Territories, was “highly sceptical” about the claim.

He questioned how a flag featuring the Jewish Star of David could have been Palestine’s official flag at a time when 78 per cent of the population were Muslim Arabs.

“It is inconceivable that it would have been the flag of mandate Palestine – representing the aspirations of the Zionist movement – at a time when the population was overwhelmingly Palestinian Arab, and strongly opposed to the Zionist project to create a Jewish state in Palestine,” he told AAP FactCheck.

The Verdict

The claim the 1922 flag of Palestine was a Zionist flag featuring the Star of David is false.

Experts told AAP FactCheck the official flag of Palestine at the time was the Union Jack as the territory was under British Mandate.

They say the Zionist flag was likely listed for Palestine in an old chart either by mistake or as a result of Zionist lobbying.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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