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February 5, 2013 1:40 am
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Palestinian Incitement Is Not Comparable to Israeli Textbooks

avatar by Gidon Ben-zvi

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In a recent report for the Guardian (Israeli and Palestinian textbooks omit borders, Feb. 4), Harriet Sherwood exposed Israel’s education system for the world, or at least her loyal readership, to see, noting that: “In Israeli textbooks, 76% of maps show no boundaries between Palestinian territories and Israel.

Once again succumbing to the bigotry of low expectations, Sherwood doesn’t take umbrage with repeated Palestinian incitement against Israel in public declarations, media and textbooks.

Instead, Sherwood serves the cause of absurd moral equivalency by implying that while Palestinian textbooks portray a world without Israel, refer to Jews as “Zionist gangs” and rewrite the Holocaust to ignore atrocities committed against Jews, Israel’s no better since it doesn’t recognize the non-existent borders of a country which doesn’t exist.

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Sherwood’s piece suggests that Israel is teaching hatred by virtue of the fact that its educational system doesn’t propagate the Palestinian national narrative, one which depicts the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 as an original sin that dispossessed the land’s native people. Over the years this Nakba narrative has metastasized into an international coalition of Islamists and leftists which celebrates the Palestinians as the quintessential “Other”, the last victims of Western racism and colonialism.

Sadly for Ms Sherwood and her fellow travelers, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.“  So, beyond the guerrilla chic appeal of movements for social justice that are only heard if they are loudly anti-Western, and superficially pro-democratic – yet remarkably mute when it comes to the vast majority of crimes against humanity inflicted by the once colonized against their own people – here are some pesky facts to consider:

  • Palestinian textbooks describe the land (from the river to the sea) as being comprised of Muslims and Christians. No mention is made of Jews or the centuries-old Jewish communities of Palestine. The city of Jerusalem is described as exclusively Arab. Israel is not recognized as a sovereign nation and all maps are labeled “Palestine.”
  • Former United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, a major proponent of the two-state solution, has said that the Palestinian school books do “…not give Palestinian children an education, they give them an indoctrination.”
  • Regarding the idea of a peaceful, demilitarized Palestinian state existing side-by-side next to Israel, Palestinian school books make no attempt to educate for peace or coexistence with Israel. Instead Israel’s right to exist is adamantly denied and the Palestinian war against Israel is presented as an eternal religious battle for Islam.

While Sherwood finds it noteworthy that school books of societies in conflict tend to contradict one another, she finds the following facts too inconsequential to even bear repeating:

  • Israel’s Ministry of Education has implemented many programs where Israeli and Arab students work together on joint projects in an effort to learn more about each other, their heritage and culture.
  • The Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (CMIP) issued a report covering the 2012 set of Israeli textbooks. The report showed that many textbooks focus on education towards reconciliation, tolerance and peace.  Peace is presented not only as a Utopian aspiration, but also as a reachable political goal.  The new textbooks give information about the peace agreements between Israel and Arab countries and the Palestinians, in particular on the question of the borders between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.   The Palestinians’ struggle is presented as that of a national movement whilst not identifying with their aims. The conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians continues to be presented as a clash between two national movements, thus legitimizing the existence of the Palestinian national movement. None of the new textbooks contains indoctrination against the Palestinians as a people.

At its core the Palestinian liberation movement stands neither for the Palestinians nor liberation. It is very much defined by what it’s against: the sovereignty of the Jewish State over ALL lands seized, conquered or liberated (insert your preferred verb here…) from 1948 onward. Sherwood and her political fellow travelers realizes that since Palestinian independence needs to be created Ex nihilo – out of nothing – the only surefire way to do so is by undermining Israel’s legitimacy by a thousand cuts.

Today, it’s Israel’s education system. Rest assured that once school is out for the summer, Sherwood and like-minded fighters for freedom will dig up another half-baked canard, dust it off and fashion it into the latest whip to be inflicted upon Israel and its citizens.

This column was originally published by CiF Watch.

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  • Hi, its good paragraph on the topic of media print, we all be familiar with media is a impressive source of facts.

  • joe

    “Palestinian independence needs to be created Ex nihilo – out of nothing ”

    Well that sounds quite remarkably like how Israeli independence was created. The key difference being that Palestine existed as a modern sovereign nation prior to 1948 and Israel did not.

    • Gidon Ben-Zvi

      Hi Joe. Thank you for reading and responding to my piece. Respectfully, I must point out a few inconvenient facts from recent as well as distant history. First, the Jewish peoples’ connection to the land now known as Israel goes back over 2,000 years. So central is the land to the Jewish people that even after the Romans destroyed the Second Temple and drove most of the land’s Jewish inhabitants into a two-thousand-year exile, the continued to base their entire religion and identity based on an eventual return to Zion. In short, we didn’t choose to leave our sovereign home, we were expelled. The very term ‘Palestine’ was a fiction invented by the Romans and imposed upon the land in an attempt to erase any Jewish historical connection. Evidently, Joe, the Romans did a good job since the concept of Palestinian nationhood enjoys international consensus without debate or further investigation. Sadly, history leaves clues and here are some to consider: 1) At no point between the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE and the establishment of modern-day Israel in 1948 did there exist an sovereign Palestinian nation. While Arab Muslims did constitute the majority of the population that occupied the land for many centuries they were always a tiny, insignificant part of empires: Roman, Ottoman, British, etc. 2) Between 1948-1967 your poor, persecuted Palestinian people were indeed underneath simultaneous’occupations’: Gaza was ruled by Egypt and the West Bank (Judea & Samaria if you’re a fan of fact) by Jordan. Again, at NO POINT was there and independent Palestinian entity. 3) The vast majority of Arabs who occupied the land when hostilities broke out between the nascent Jewish state and five Arab armies that actively sought its destruction had in fact immigrated to what was then part of British Mandatory Palestine for the oldest reason in the world: economic opportunity, which leads to my final point: 4) Beginning in the 1880s Jewish people, seeking to reclaim their birthright began to return to the land, arriving mostly from Eastern Europe. These ‘interlopers’ turned an abandoned piece of Earth that had interested NO ONE for over 20 centuries into an economic success. More importantly, it laid the groundwork for independence. Nowadays, ‘Palestinians’ very loudly proclaim independence but are ruled by corrupt autocrats who have done nothing do take the concept of Independence and make it a reality: the Palestinian Authority would implode tomorrow if the Israeli army pulled the support it provides on security matters and if the billions of dollars in foreign aid dried up. Joe, I suggest you consider the following: the Palestinian independence movement ONLY arose AFTER the Jewish people had firmly re-established themselves in the land. And what better way to divert international attention from the Arab governments systematic oppression of their own peoples then by constantly raising the ‘Palestinian’ issue? I look forward to your reply. Thank you.

  • She writes for The Guardian…the Der Sturmer of our time….nothing else need be said….Hating Jews is de rigueur for every employee of The Guardian.

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