Upper Dublin High School Versus the Arab Israeli Conflict

January 31, 2013 1:21 pm 0 comments

Toulouse University. Photo: Damsof31.

John Dewey of Columbia University and Arthur Lovejoy of Johns Hopkins University came together with other educators in 1915 to found the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), an organization designed to preserve the integrity of the academy from a donor-driven agenda.

Their 1915 Declaration of Principles set standards that we should all abide by:

[T]he freedom of the academic teacher entail[s] certain correlative obligations…The university teacher…should, if he is fit for his position, be a person of a fair and judicial mind; he should, in dealing with such subjects, set forth justly, without suppression or innuendo, the divergent opinions of other investigators… and he should, above all, remember that his business is not to provide his students with ready-made conclusions, but to train them to think for themselves.

Unfortunately, Dewey and Lovejoy’s message has fallen on deaf ears when it comes to most teachers who attempt to teach the Arab-Israeli conflict and commonly adopt the Palestinian narrative as the embodiment of the underdog who have suffered a great wrong under the hand of Israel and the US. The notion of allowing our students to be free thinkers, and of exposing them to a variety of opinions is many times censored by the “sensitivities” of the teacher.

A case in point: I was recently invited by one Mr. Jules Mermelstein, a Social Studies Teacher at Upper Dublin High School, to take part in a panel on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is something I welcomed and do regularly as a lecturer around the world as well as locally in the greater Philadelphia area. But after accepting the invitation, I received an email from Mr. Mermelstein that he had come across one of my articles that dealt with Arab-Palestinian refugees and came to the conclusion that he does not believe I am ” the right speaker to be addressing high school students on this issue… I will be inviting other speakers to take your place, beginning with my rabbi.”

Substituting a rabbi for a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern history is an effort to control the message being delivered to high school students. Putting himself in the position of judging the message before it is delivered, and ignoring both civility and qualifications, is a fairly shameless tactic. It seems designed to produce an obvious result, a message delivered to students that Israel was and is responsible for the Arab-Israeli conflict. The hostile environment seen on college campuses flows directly out of the manipulations of teachers like Mr. Mermelstein who are uncomfortable with diversity of opinion.

The obvious lack of balance in academia and now in many public high schools like Upper Dublin, produces pseudo-scholarship that consistently fails to examine, much less condemn, terrorism or jihadism, and creates an atmosphere where these intolerable ideas are accepted as normative. Willful blindness under the guise of thoughtful education seems to be the preferred course of action when teachers like Mr. Mermelstein don’t think his students deserve or can handle another view of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The fact that more and more Jews feel uncomfortable with the State of Israel and modern day Zionism to a point where they feel the need to apologize for Israel’s actions and at times existence and adopt the Palestinian narrative is very concerning.

This state of affairs needs to be confronted by all those concerned about the health of academia, as well as the continued well-being of Israel and the Jewish people.

Like Israelis, Americans have varied political preferences. While they may not all unconditionally support everything Israel does, the land of Israel is the Jewish state and has the right to exist in security. We must help our students (the future voters) expand their knowledge about the Arab-Israeli conflict and ensure that our tax payer dollars are actually providing a balanced education when it comes to a topic that has many long reaching foreign policy implications.

This article was originally published by The Times of Israel.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Blogs 10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    Ten major film studios are currently in production on projects that promote a decidedly pro-Israeli narrative. In famously liberal Hollywood, such a development has left mouths agape and set tongues a wagging. Since the Jewish State began defending itself from the thousands of rockets that Hamas has hurled at it – as well as ongoing terror attacks and murders, the overwhelming number of Tinseltown’s producers, directors, actors, and studio moguls have remained indifferent to the plight of millions of Israeli [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Sports So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    Israeli Judoka Yarden Gerbi (63kg), 25, of Netanya, on Thursday lost the final round at the Judo World Cup, and her world title to Clarisse Agbegnenou of France, at a match held in Russia. “I have mixed feelings,” Gerbi told Israeli Army radio. But, “I shouldn’t assume that I’d win the world Judo championship twice in a row,” she admitted. Gerbi won gold in Rio De Janeiro last year. “When I made my decision, I knew it was going to [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    “Jews Out!” was just the name of a child’s game that three little girls played in World War II Europe. But all is not as it seems because the three girls were Jewish, but hiding their true identities. In award-winning author R. D. Rosen’s riveting non-fiction work, Such Good Girls, “Jews Out!” wasn’t a game; it was a struggle for survival. The girls, Sophie, Flora, and Carla, grew up at a time and a place that did not allow them [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    JNS.org – “He was part hippie, part yippie, part beatnik, and part New Age,” wrote Elli Wohlgelernter in a Jerusalem Post eulogy in 1994, following the Oct. 20 passing of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Twenty years later, more robust accounts of Carlebach’s life have come to the surface. Earlier this year, Natan Ophir published the book Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Life, Mission & Legacy. This past summer, Rabbi Shlomo Katz’s The Soul of Jerusalem hit the shelves. But even the authors will admit [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    As Hamas loses its grip on power in the Gaza Strip as a result of war, poverty and disillusionment, the Islamist terrorist group has developed an ingenious way to raise the morale of the 1.7 million Palestinian Arabs it was elected to serve. While currently focused on delivering a rocket into every Israeli home, Hamas has not left its own people behind. To gently wipe away the tears of children strategically placed inside kindergartens as human shields, the Hamas Interior Ministry [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    In a strong statement that challenges the historic divide between Christianity and Judaism, Pope Francis recently proclaimed, “Inside every Christian is a Jew.” But if you look at Renaissance artworks that depict Jesus, you will not find any evidence of a Jew inside the Christianized Jesus — even though the Gospels in the New Testament tell us that Jesus was Jewish to the core. Getting that point across to the public is a daunting task, as I learned in interviews I [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Recycling His Roots

    Recycling His Roots

    JNS.org – Having started his career playing on his family’s pots and pans, Jewish musician Billy Jonas has maintained this homemade performance ethic while spreading his messages of simple living and environmentalism to a shared home throughout the world. After beginning in the kitchen, Jonas soon moved to the music room, where he picked up the piano, guitar, and trombone. These days, the multi-talented multi-instrumentalist plays on with pretty much anything he can find, including cans, bottles buckets, and other recycled-object [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    JNS.org – Sara Davidson’s The December Project is a new book that should be read by all senior citizens, and by those who hope to live a long life, for it raises a question that most of us have not been taught how to answer: What should we do in that final stage of our lives? Many of us continue working past the traditional retirement age of 65, not because we need the money and not because we find the [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.