Study At Odds With Years of Research on Incitement in Palestinian Textbooks

February 7, 2013 3:45 am 1 comment

Palestinian boys raise their hands during one of the first classes of the new academic year at a school in Gaza supported by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Sept. 5, 2011. Photo: UN Photo/Shareef Sarhan.

A strikingly balanced report comparing prejudices in Israeli and Palestinian school textbooks was published this week, raising questions about the states of each ethnic educational system and public perceptions about the two peoples.

The study, entitled “Victims of our own Narratives” and initially funded by a grant from the U.S. State Department, concluded that both Israeli and Palestinian textbooks contain negative references toward “the other side,” despite the fact that the research itself demonstrated that negative references to “the other side” were much more prevalent in Palestinian textbooks than Israeli ones.

It is the conclusions of the study, not the research, that have been widely distributed. Those conclusions are at odds with the longtime assertion by Israelis that Palestinian textbooks are inciteful.

“The report creates a dangerous moral relativism by concluding a completely false equivalence between Israeli and Palestinian textbooks,” Brig. Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser, director general of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, told JNS.org.

Kuperwasser said, “It is a very big pity that the important issue of educating the other side for peace has been abused by this research report.”

“Palestinians don’t educate their children to establish peace, rather they teach hatred of Israelis. By contrast, Israelis educate their children toward the establishment of peace and to respect and accept that Palestinians live here with us,” he said.

For years, watchdog organizations have been monitoring the rampant incitement and hatred that can be found in Palestinian textbooks. Such incitement and the glorification of terror are among the principle barriers to peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

“The report is a complete whitewashing of Palestinian hatred of Jews and Israel, and is one of the worst developments for peace since the early days of the Oslo Accords,” Itamar Marcus, the director of Palestinian Media Watch, told JNS.org.

“I totally reject the findings of the report, which are meant to create a symmetry between the Israeli and Palestinian education system that simply does not exist,” Marcus said.  “Palestinian textbooks are filled with blatant delegitimization and hatred, and this report is doing a great disservice to any future prospects for peace by essentially encouraging Palestinians to continue their curriculum of teaching hatred to their children.”

“According to Palestinian textbooks, Israel has no right to exist, and Israel’s national narrative is one of occupation, massacre, torture and land stealing,” he said. “They teach that all of the land—including land on which Israel established its state in 1948—is occupied. This is a pattern that all but guarantees that the two sides will be unable to make peace in the near future.”

Furthermore the textbooks teach that Palestinians “have an Islamic obligation to fully liberate Palestine until eternity,” Marcus said.

“Israelis are routinely demonized and dehumanized in the worst ways,” he said. “By contrast, examples of demonization or dehumanization of Palestinians are extremely rare.  Israel does everything it can to preach tolerance and eliminate the demonization of Palestinians in Israeli textbooks.”

According to Kuperwasser, the report “fails to look at the context in which examples are taken.”

“For example, the report considers historical textbook references to Palestinian terrorists murdering 11 Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympic Games in Israeli textbooks as a negative reference toward Palestinians,” he said. “While at the same time, Palestinian textbooks that reference ‘invading snakes’ taking over the land are not considered to be negative references toward Jews because they do not directly reference Jews or Israel.”

The study is reported to have received a $500,000 grant from the State Department in 2008, and was conducted by professors from Yale University, Tel Aviv University, and the University of Bethlehem.

The State Department has not endorsed the findings, but it has not refuted the conclusions made by the study, either.

“The State Department should have explicitly come out against this report,” Kuperwasser said. “This is an issue we should raise with Secretary of State John Kerry, when he comes to Israel because Palestinian incitement is a main obstacle to peace.”

In 2007, a year before the study was initially commissioned, then future Secretary of State Hilary Clinton reviewed a Palestinian Media Watch report on Palestinian high school textbooks that detailed numerous examples of demonization and denying Israel’s right to exist.

At a press conference, Clinton stated, “These textbooks do not give Palestinian children an education; they give them an indoctrination… It is disturbing on a human level, it is disturbing to me as a mother, it is disturbing to me as a United States Senator, because it basically, profoundly poisons the minds of these children.”

“It is a total contradiction of the Oslo agreements, through which Palestinians are supposed to stop all incitement to violence, and hatred, and recognize Israel’s right to exist,” Kuperwasser said.

Incitement to violence and glorification of terrorism and martyrdom in Palestinian textbooks is not new, nor is it limited to textbooks.

“It is the entire educational system, summer camps and children’s television programs,” Kuperwasser added.

Marcus said, “There is no doubt that the direction of Palestinian schoolbooks, as well as Palestinian media, was initiated under the direction of Yasser Arafat.”

The textbooks, according to Marcus, represent the legacy Arafat left for Palestinian children.

“According to Palestinian textbooks, the founding of Israel was ‘a catastrophe unprecedented in history,’” Marcus said.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

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


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    Eddie Carmel, dubbed “The Jewish Giant” by American photographer Diane Arbus, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit opening April 11 at The Jewish Museum in New York. Arbus met Carmel, who was billed “The World’s Tallest Man,” at Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus in 1959 but waited until 1970 to photograph him at his parents’ home in the Bronx, according to the museum. The son of immigrants from Tel Aviv, Carmel posed for Arbus with his head bowed to [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    A Passover themed cover of hit songs Let It Go and Do You Want to Build a Snowman? from Disney’s Frozen has attracted tons of media buzz and a cool 65,ooo views on YouTube within days of going online. The work of Jewish a capella group Six13, the track is aptly named Chozen. We are celebrating “our freedom, our favorite festival, our fabulous fans, and aspiring Disney princesses everywhere” the group said. The Chozen music video tells the story of [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Retreat Gives Young Artists New Platform to Engage With Jewish Ideas

    Retreat Gives Young Artists New Platform to Engage With Jewish Ideas

    JNS.org – Many young Jewish artists struggle to define who they are personally, artistically, and religiously. Against the backdrop of that struggle, the recent Asylum Arts International Jewish Artists Retreat provided a space for some 70 young Jewish artists to explore Jewish ideas, to build community and a culture of reciprocity, and to learn skills to assist their career development. “We are trying to encourage and excite people to engage in Jewish themes,” says Rebecca Guber, director of Asylum Arts. [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Literature Darren Aronofsky Adds Psychological Depth, Little Else to ‘Noah’

    Darren Aronofsky Adds Psychological Depth, Little Else to ‘Noah’

    JNS.org – Has the era of large-scale biblical epics returned? Not since “The Ten Commandments” has there been so much torrential water on the big screen (not counting weather-related disaster films such as “The Impossible”) than in “Noah,” the latest blockbuster from writer and director Darren Aronofsky. “Noah” takes the traditional tale and splices it in an eco-friendly and psychologically driven plot. After Adam and Eve got booted out of the Garden of Eden and after Cain killed Abel, mankind [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Israel Israeli Arab Microbiologist Wins on Israel’s ‘MasterChef’ Reality Show

    Israeli Arab Microbiologist Wins on Israel’s ‘MasterChef’ Reality Show

    JNS.org – An Israeli-Arab microbiologist and mother of three won the fourth season of Israel’s most popular reality TV show, “MasterChef.” Nof Atamna-Ismaeel, 32, who holds a PhD in microbiology and is from the Israeli-Arab town of Baqa al-Gharbiyye, described winning as the “the most exciting moment in her life.” She said she plans to use the prize money to open up an Arab-Jewish cooking school. MasterChef is a popular reality TV show that originated in the U.K. It is [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Theater Play About Muslim Man Who Discovers His Parents Are Jewish Seeking Funds

    Play About Muslim Man Who Discovers His Parents Are Jewish Seeking Funds

    Jewish comedian and writer David Baddiel is seeking public support to help produce a musical based on his film about a British Muslim man who discovers his parents are Jewish. London’s Theatre Royal Stratford East is in development to premiere The Infidel in October, London’s Evening Standard reported on Wednesday. However, the theater needs another £55,000 on top of around £200,000 already raised in order to produce the show. Baddiel, 49, retained the stage rights to the story when he wrote the [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Relationships Love Guru Says Kaballah Practitioners Tend to Have ‘Less Satisfactory’ Relationships

    Love Guru Says Kaballah Practitioners Tend to Have ‘Less Satisfactory’ Relationships

    British relationship expert Andrew Wallas said Kaballah practitioners are likely to be less satisfied in their personal relationships than other couples, Britain’s Daily Mail reported Wednesday. “All the research is that individuals who have an interest in psychology or spirituality or who practice something like Kaballah (the branch of Jewish mysticism popularized by Madonna) are less likely to have satisfactory relationships,” he said. “A lifetime spent doing self-improvement workshops can just be a case of someone running away from reality.” [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Meet New York’s 6’7″ Jew Who Will Rap for You (VIDEO)

    Meet New York’s 6’7″ Jew Who Will Rap for You (VIDEO)

    He’s a 6’7″ Jewish freestyle rapper who roams the streets of New York delivering his rhymes to unsuspecting passersby. Te’Devan, who calls himself the “6’7″ Jew who will rap for you” was recently profiled by the Gothamist blog. In a video posted Monday on YouTube, as part of the website’s No Your City eight-part series created by Nicolas Heller, Te’Devan is seen rapping about “not trying to conform to the status quo” and his mission to “be what I’m supposed to be.” [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.