Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
The Schmooze

Malala Yousafzai Talks About Palestinian Freedom While At The Anne Frank House

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani women’s education activist and youngest person to have won the Nobel Peace Prize, visited the Anne Frank House on Sunday, December 10. Yousafzai, a student at Oxford University who has launched major education initiatives, was personally targeted and shot three times by a Taliban gunman on her school bus as a 15 year-old. On Sunday, which was U.N. Human Rights Day, Yousafzai visited the annex apartment in Amsterdam where Frank hid from the Nazis with her family and other Jews for over two years during World War Two, and where the teenager wrote her diary.

Standing in the annex holding a copy of the famed diary, which is one of the best-selling books of all time, Yousafzai tweeted an image of herself at the museum with this caption:

“The words Anne Frank wrote in this room still remind us to cherish and defend human rights. Today, I am thinking of Palestinian and Rohingya children — and all around the world still struggling to achieve Anne’s dream of freedom.”

Oy. Vey.

One tweet, so many questions.

Is Yousafzai casually conflating the genocide of the Jews and the genocide of the Rohingya with the situation of the Palestinian people? Or is she simply saying that Anne Frank’s desperate years trapped in an attic in some ways resemble the difficult circumstances of many Palestinian youths? (After a day trip to Hebron would you tell me that’s an unjust comparison?) Should we just let it be because Yousafzai is just a University student? Or take it seriously because she is a major and effective activist?

Although Yousafzai and Frank were born 70 years apart they were both targeted as teenagers because of their identities and robbed of their human rights. Both changed the way the world thought through work they did before they turned 20.

One can’t help wondering if, under different circumstances, they could have become friends.

Jenny Singer is a writer for the Forward. You can reach her at or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny




    NY-12 Candidate Forum


    Aug 10, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    Will the last Jew left in New York’s congressional delegation be reelected? Will New York’s senior congresswoman receive another term? Or will one of the newcomers upend Manhattan politics?

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit the Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, images, and credit to the Foward. Have questions? Please email us at

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.