The Anti-Defamation League has released a statement that criticizes a study released Monday by the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land that determined Palestinian textbooks do not incite hatred against Israel and that both sides use textbooks to distort the national narrative. The study, which received nearly $600,000 in funding from the U.S. State Department, took several years and was carried out and overseen by a team of American, Israeli, Palestinian Arab and international education experts.
Earlier Monday Israel’s Education Ministry rejected the findings, saying, “An evaluation, by professionals from the Education Ministry and from outside it, [shows…]that it is biased, unprofessional and profoundly unobjective.”
ADL’s National Director, Abraham Foxman issued the following statement:
“However well-meaning the sponsors and researchers of the textbook study may have been, the paucity of historical, social and geopolitical context distort the findings and render this study counterproductive. The report presents a dangerous premise of false equivalency – that both sides have problems in not accepting the other and, in order to enhance the chances for peace, both sides have to do more to change their textbooks.
This issue was meant to deal with the basic problem that is at the core of the conflict — Palestinian teaching of rejection of Israel and its legitimacy. By treating it as an equivalent problem for both sides, the issue has been blurred beyond distinction. It undermines the understanding of how critical this issue is — to get the Palestinians away from their historic hatred of Israel. This still has not happened, and this study, in treating the problem as the same for both, makes it more difficult to achieve that goal.
Educating Israeli youth about the Palestinian narrative is important. But it is not the root issue for Israel. For Israelis the very fact that Arabs and Palestinians have pursued the destruction of Israel was and remains at the core of the problem. The sponsors, funders and researchers of this study should have taken this into account when they formulated their approach.”