Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

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...

  • Relationships Yossi Vardi Credits Pushy Jewish Mother for His Startup Success

    Yossi Vardi Credits Pushy Jewish Mother for His Startup Success

    Millionaire entrepreneur Yossi Vardi credited his success in start-ups to his Jewish mother continuously pushing him to do better, Daily Mail reported on Thursday. “Jewish mothers are never satisfied and nothing is ever good enough,” he said, adding that his mother, who died 15 years ago, used to compare him with his cousins and say he was “an idiot.” “For most of my life I have been trying to show her I’m not,” he continued. “I keep on trying even now.” Vardi, […]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Seth Rogen Unveils New Christmas Movie — ‘Will Open on Thanksgiving, Made by Jews’ (VIDEO)

    Seth Rogen Unveils New Christmas Movie — ‘Will Open on Thanksgiving, Made by Jews’ (VIDEO)

    Famed actor Seth Rogen on Tuesday unveiled with typical comic fanfare the trailer for his new Christmas film. The movie “was made by Jews… and opens on Thanksgiving,” Rogen pointed out on Twitter. The Night Before tells the tale of three “ride or die homies” celebrating one last debauchery-filled Christmas Eve reunion before they become too busy to keep up their annual tradition. In an effort to make the night as memorable as possible, they set out to find the “Nutcracka Ball – the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish History Art Can Inspire Faith; It Can Also Empower Destructive Ideologies

    Art Can Inspire Faith; It Can Also Empower Destructive Ideologies

    A June 2015 art exhibit, “The Transformative Power of Art,” at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, harnessed the universal language of art to convey an important message: “Our fragile Mother Earth faces the devastating consequences of climate change, a defining challenge of our time.” The exhibit also included sixteen portraits of people from all over the world who have “contributed to the common good of humanity in one way or another and have transformed the way we […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports Israeli Muslim Cage Fighter Says He’s Proud to Fight Under Jewish State’s Flag

    Israeli Muslim Cage Fighter Says He’s Proud to Fight Under Jewish State’s Flag

    A 32-year-old Circassian Israeli Muslim Mixed Martial Arts fighter from Abu Ghosh says he takes pride in fighting under the Israeli flag, Israel’s Walla reported on Sunday. Like most Circassian Israelis, Jackie “the Punishment” Gosh was born Sunni Muslim. He became observant about eight years ago, and is now scrupulous in following his religion’s tenets, praying five times a day and fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Gosh is also very proud of his Israeli nationality, and sees no contradiction between […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music New Mark Skinner Documentary Explores Jewish, Arab Rap Scene in Israel (VIDEO)

    New Mark Skinner Documentary Explores Jewish, Arab Rap Scene in Israel (VIDEO)

    A new documentary explores the lives and work of Jewish and Arab rappers in Israel and how the ongoing conflict in the region has impacted their lyrics, the U.K.’s Jewish Chronicle reported on Thursday. Hip Hop in the Holy Land is a six-part series co-directed by Mike Skinner, the British frontman of hip-hop group The Streets, and produced by Noisey, a music channel published by Vice news. The first episode, published last week, shows Skinner meeting with Tamer Nafar, the founder of one of […]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada 49ers Running Back Jarryd Hayne Apologizes for ‘Hurtful’ Jesus Tweets

    49ers Running Back Jarryd Hayne Apologizes for ‘Hurtful’ Jesus Tweets

    New 49ers running back and Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne apologized on Wednesday for a tweet in which he raised the age-old myth that Jews were historically responsible for Jesus Christ’s death. Reaching out to his Jewish fans, and the chairman of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission, Hayne tweeted: “To the Jewish community @DvirAbramovich #WeAreAllOne.” Underneath, he keenly included a screenshot of a text message to elaborate on his apology: “I sincerely apologize for my tweets on July 1. I […]

    Read more →
  • Theater Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Recalls Being ‘Extremely Surprised’ at Winning Miss Israel Contest

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Recalls Being ‘Extremely Surprised’ at Winning Miss Israel Contest

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot reminisced about her childhood in Israel during an interview published in this month’s edition of Vanity Fair. “I don’t remember this, but my mom told me that when I was three they threw a party on the rooftop of the house. They put me to bed, and I heard people coming into the house and no one came to me. I went to the rooftop and took a hose and I started to spray water on everyone, just […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Wounded Israeli Soldiers Unite With American Veterans to Help Their ‘Brothers for Life’ Heal (INTERVIEW)

    Wounded Israeli Soldiers Unite With American Veterans to Help Their ‘Brothers for Life’ Heal (INTERVIEW)

    An Israeli organization is helping wounded U.S. veterans move past their physical and psychological challenges by connecting them with injured Israeli soldiers who understand what they’ve been through. “What we discovered very early is that there’s no ‘professional, psychiatrist, social worker’ or anything like that [or] pills that can come even close to helping a soldier who fought in combat, who was wounded, who lost his friends. No one can help him like another person who’s been through exactly what he has,” Rabbi Chaim Levine, […]

    Read more →