Palestinian textbooks erase Israel. Harriet Sherwood erases moral distinctions.


A guest post by Gidon Ben-Zvi

National_Education

1st Grade PA Textbook: “Map of Palestine”

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.  

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.

88 comments on “Palestinian textbooks erase Israel. Harriet Sherwood erases moral distinctions.

  1. “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.”

    Mr Levick, can you please do your research and give us a list of these programmes: how many students did they reach, in which locations, in which year?

    • A good example would be Carcur (if this is how you spell it in English).
      Many Universities do just that as well such as TA Uni, Ben Gurion, Haifa higher education are one of most mixed in the country.

      Saying that, and going back to the topic, and I do portray it from a child’s view in the 80′s, the maps we had did not portray boundries with regards to the PA areas.
      There was a faint border around the 67 lines.
      Some maps it was more noticeable than others.
      Even in the recent tourist maps you can just about make it in some places because of the denisity of villages / towns around it and because it is not an actual border just yet.

      The OT were marked as Gaza strip, Judea and Shomron.

      We weren’t told much about these area even though adults used the words like Shtachim and hitnachluyot it meant very little to us (up in tyhe north).
      I’m sure things were very different to schools closer to the area involved.

      In secondry schools we covered the matter in great details and discussed the pros and cons of it all.

      Saying that, I do not believe there is much to compare between the Hamas education system and Israel’s.

      • What CIF Watch won’t publish: 2013 US State Department-sponsored study by Yale and Tel Aviv university shows that both Israeli and Palestinian textbooks present the “other” as the enemy, and have very negative depictions.

          • Itisk, education programmes in all of the Palestinian territory, including Gaza, are defined either by the Palestinian Authority (governmental schools) or by the UN (UNRWA schools).

            Hamas does NOT define education programmes in Gaza or anywhere else in the Palestinian territory.

            Education in both governmental and UNRWA schools is supported by international donors, and they would never fund anything related to Hamas.

            • “Education in both governmental and UNRWA schools is supported by international donors”
              A damning admission.

                • “…and Israel is supported by US financial aid, Jeff.”

                  Israel gets some military aid from the U.S. Most of that money is spent in the U.S.
                  By contrast, Palestinians are the highest per capita recipients of aid in the world. And just look at all they’ve accomplished with all that cold hard cash!

                  “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.”

                  I thought maybe you needed another look.

                • Again: a 2013 US State Department-sponsored study by Yale and Tel Aviv university shows that both Israeli and Palestinian textbooks present the “other” as the enemy, and have very negative depictions.

                  Palestinian textbooks are accessible and monitored. It is completely false to say that they promote antisemitism. What teachers tell their students, we don’t know, but the textbooks are being monitored.

    • Nat: “Mr Levick, can you please blah blah blah”

      You’ve got enough time on your hands. Do it yourself, you lazy good-for-nothing Jew baiter.

    • “Nat,”
      Could you please address your comments to the author of the piece, rather than to Adam Levick. This would require reading, mind you.

    • “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.”

      I repeat the question: Mr Levick, can you please do your research and give us a list of these programmes for Israeli and Palestinian students: how many students did they reach, in which locations, in which year?

  2. Hey Nat. Ask and ye shall receive:

    The 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. Examples include:

    “We and Our Neighbors” — Curriculum for grades three and four (in Hebrew and Arabic) designed to acquaint children in ethnically mixed neighborhoods with their neighbors. This program is part of the geography and Israel Studies curriculum and is integrated within the unit on “My Community.”

    “Jews and Arabs in Israel” — Curriculum for grades five and six, integrated within the unit on the northern region of Israel.

    “Arab Citizens of Israel” — Curriculum for secondary school students. The course textbook is part of the required curriculum for the matriculation examination in citizenship in Israeli high schools.

    “Families in Israel” — Curriculum for grades eight and nine, which explore the complexity of Israeli society. Along with family stories, the teacher receives lesson plans devoted to stereotypes and preconceptions, tolerance, cultural differences, etc.

    Thanks for reading and responding to my essay.

    • Gidon, Arab Israelis are fuly-fledged Israeli citizens. They’re Israeli students, not Palestinian students.

      CIF Watch mentions that Israel sponsors programmes for “both Israeli and Palestinian students”.

      Please show us EVIDENCE – give us a list of these programmes.

    • Your qualifications we all know, right, “nat”: you are a Jew-hater, a fraduster and sock-puppeteer. This gives you a lot of authority.

  3. You have completely misinterpreted Sherwood’s piece in failing to mention either that:

    1) She is quoting throughout from research carried out by Bruce E Wexler MD,
    Professor Emeritus of and Senior Research Scientist in Psychiatry at Yale University. I would tend to give more credence to research by an eminent (and I believe Jewish) Yale professor than to the ragbag of partisan sources you mention above.
    2) The research findings show that both Israeli and Palestinian textbooks misrepresent the truth but that, perhaps surprisingly, “extreme demonising or dehumanising characterisations of ‘the other’ are absent from all the textbooks,”.

    The aspect of the report that really sickened me was the reminder that Israeli Arab school textbooks are still produced by the Israeli ministry of education. Clearly the government feels it necessary to brainwash its Arab children by presenting them with a one-sided, Zionist view of history.

    • ‘misrepresented, would have been betterer than ‘misinterpreted’ above. I can only assume that the misrepresentation was deliberate.

    • sencar, Israeli Arab school textbooks are produced by the Israeli Ministry of Eduction because Israeli Arabs are Israeli.

      • Basically, we have:

        - one ‘CIF Watch’ blogger claiming that Israeli textbooks are not biased

        - A study sponsored by the US State Department which shows that both Israeli and Palestinian textbooks are biased, based on research by the universities of Yale (USA), Tel Aviv (Israel) and Bethlehem (Palestine).

        Who should we believe: the US State department, or ‘CIF Watch’?

  4. It`s another prove of your obsession with Jews: “(and I believe Jewish)”
    Your Antisemitism is appalling.

    The research was not carried out by Wexler, he initiated the research, the research was led by Daniel Bar-Tal and Sami Adwan, besides Wexler, five members of the advisory panel refused to support the final report.

    “A Palestinian member of the advisory panel, Mohammed Dajani, a professor at Al Quds University in the West Bank, countered that the new study was “a strategic vision rather than looking through narrow eyes at one side or another.”

    A vision rather than an empiric research?

    • “The research was not carried out by Wexler”

      Most serious research is carried out by a team led by a senior academic; this was no different.
      Mohammed Dajani didn’t counter anything. He was simply pointing out that the research supported a balanced perspective: both sides are guilty of distorting the truth but neither ‘demonise’ the other in their textbooks.
      You haven’t addressed Ben-Zvi’s major error in attributing views to Sherwood that were in fact reflecting a research report. I note also that you don’t comment on the brainwashing of Israeli Arab youth.

      • Dajani admitted that the empirical base of the study was limited in favour of ideological goals, a deception.
        You as Antisemite have to support such a ideological approach, but to consider that scientific can be called nowadays an oriental narrative and attitude towards facts and truth, following the bygone fascist thinkings in the west.

        • Fritz, are you seriously claiming that a blog written by one “guest post Gidon Ben-Zvi” has more credibility than a study sponsored by the US State Department?

            • Fritz, answer the question.

              How is “guest post Gidon Ben-Zvi” qualified to criticize a US State Department-sponsored report written by researchers at the universities of Yale and Tel Aviv?

              • It is not sponsored by the State Department, idiot.
                Your sloppy reading fits to your intellectual shortcomings, liar.
                Do you know what empirical research means? I bet you never read and understood a report based on serious research.

                • “Funded with a grant from the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor”
                  The State Department is not the official sponsor of this study, idiot, it is a grant.

                • To cite Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs:
                  The report states that the study received funding from the US State Department, creating the impression of official US support for the study. While the project did receive a State Department grant in 2008, the US government had no involvement with the methodology or findings of the study and has not lent its support to the actual report. Additionally the authors of the report attempt to provide it with an aura of respectability and authority by noting that it was commissioned by the ‘Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land’.

              • How is “guest post Gidon Ben-Zvi” qualified to criticize a US State Department-sponsored report written by researchers at the universities of Yale and Tel Aviv?

                It’s a weird & wacky concept called “freedom of speech.”

                Shit – even you are qualified.

      • Respectfully, Ms Sherwood wasn’t just reflecting the results of the newly released report. In fact, she cherry-picked certain aspects of an exhaustive study so as to perpetuate the world view of two equally intolerant, biased, repressive societies. Such a ploy does nothing to forward the cause of Palestinian independence and only whitewashes some alarming human rights abuses being inflected on Palestinians by their own leadership. Israel, very far from a perfect society, recently held free, open, democratic elections in which the public, to the tune of a 66% voter turn out, expressed their sentiments regarding their country’s leadership. When was the last time elections were held over the Green Line? A repressed people will remain so as long as its strongest ‘supporters’ continue to turn a blind eye to the dasatrdly deeds of a corupt leadership. Thanks for reading my piece!

        • Dear Gideon, considering that Area C, which covers 61% of the West Bank, is under Israeli military and administrative control, how come that Jewish settlers have the right to vote for their political rulers, but not Palestinians?

          Why can Jewish settlers living in Halamish settlement in Area C vote, but not Palestinians living in the Nabi Saleh village located right next to Halamish in Area C?

          • Here we go again. Same old, same old. Nat, need I remind you once again, that it is perfectly standard for the CITIZENS of a country to have the vote in their national elections, wherever they live – Area C, Rishon LeZion, Paris, Rome or Ulaan Baatar – and NON-CITIZENS of that country NOT to have the vote, wherever they live, and whatever their nationality. French citizens living in Petach Tikvah don’t get to vote in Israeli elections. Why should Palestinians living in Area C?

            Now quit diverting, and address Gidon’s point.

            • Labenal, Area C is under Israeli control.

              Why can Jewish settlers vote for their political rulers, but not Palestinians? All live in the same territory, don’t they?

              • Nat, French, British, German, Russian and Israelis living in Be’er Sheva all live under Israeli control. Of this group, only one can vote in the Israeli national elections. Disgraceful, isn’t it?

                • Labenal, expatriates cannot live in Israel because they’re only temporary residents.

                  However Palestinians are permanent residents in Area C of the West Bank.

                  I repeat the question: why can Jewish settlers living in Area C vote for the Israeli government which rules over Area C, but not the Palestinians living in the same Area C and being governed by the same Israeli Government?

                • Nat. I will repeat my answer (for the slow of understanding). It is not “Jewish settlers” who have the vote – it is ISRAELI CITIZENS. People who are NOT ISRAELI CITIZENS do not have the vote. Can I be any clearer?

                • If they’re Israeli citizens, why do yhey live outside Israel, in settlements built in the Palestinian territory in contravention of international law?

              • “Labenal, Area C is under Israeli control.”

                Yes, “nat,” and by agreement between the parties to the conflict as part of an interim agreement.
                Israelis living there is not in breach of those agreements.
                I don’t know how you forgot to mention this as you’re usually so honest and thorough. : D

  5. Pingback: Palestinian textbooks erase Israel. Harriet Sherwood erases moral distinctions. « Jerusalem State of Mind

    • Who’s this Gidon Ben-Zvi who claims he knows better than Yale researchers sponsored by the US State Department?

      What are Mr Ben-Zvi’s qualifications? Is he a specialist of textbooks?

        • How about you
          - answering the question re. claiming that CiFW did not mention Gerald Scarfe recently cartooning Assad – below an article doing exactly that?
          - explaining what “conspiracy theory” was involved in my pointing that out?

  6. 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

    She is merely pointing to Israeli maps that conveniently overlook the occupation – and suggest that Israel extends to the Jordan.

    How on earth does that constitute “teaching hatred”?

    • many Israeli maps deny the existence of the Palestinian people – they do not show the Palestinian territory, but a greater Israel in which Palestinians and Palestine do not exist. This is counterproductive to peace.

      • How the f**k do you know the Israeli maps and textbooks used in Israeli schools after your lies ave been exposed regarding your identity and your non-existent visits in Israel? Do you know Hebrew and checked our textbooks?
        Haven’t you realized yet that you are considered here an unfunny clown with a subzero IQ, with an intolerably slimy style and a caricature of a demented Jew-hater? Maybe you are a masochist?

    • I believe the answer is in the precise definition of “occupation”. Most fair-minded, progressive, educated people tend to refer to the lands captured during the Six-Day War. However, official Palestinian media outlets and the educational system in particular interpret the occupation as land that has been under Israeli rule since 1948. In other words, Israel – if you were to crack open a Palestinian text book – doesn’t exist. If this isn’t the eptiomy of hatred, then I don’t know what is. I appreciate your response to my piece. Thank you.

      • Gidon, if you were to crack open most Israeli text books, the Palestinian territory (West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza) does not exist, even though it is recognized by 100% of the governments in the world and b the UN. Is this the “eptiomy of hatred”, to quote you?

        • Beside, we’re still waiting for you to explain how you’re qualified to analyze the content of Palestinian textbooks, and to criticize a US Department State-sponsored report written by Yale researchers. Please clarify.

          • We are waiting Nat? What happened to you? Have you became lately two little pussycat playing with each other?
            BTW after you demonstrated your eternal love for Hezb’allah saying that the Bulgarians don’t consider them the perps of the Burgas attack you must read this and choke on your bile.

          • “Nat,”
            We’re still waiting for you to explain how you’re qualified to test his expertise and veracity, since you possess neither of those qualities yourself.

        • Perhaps I overslept and missed the newsflash, but the last time I checked, the United Nations General Assembly accorded Palestine non-Member Observer State status (the same category as the Vatican), a purely symbolic move that changed nothing “on the ground”. Such a unilateral decision not only nulified the Oslo Accords – based as they were on face-to-face negotiations regarding longstanding issues, such as settlements in disputed lands – it did not advance the cause of peace and in fact pushed the process backward. To quote U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, the “…decision did not establish Palestine as a state.” Finally, the reason that Palestinian “territory” is not included in most Israeli textbooks is that soverignty over these lands are currently being disputed. You seem intent on substituting narrative for fact. While Palestinian independence is an aspiration, that’s all it is. The fact that Israel doesn’t promote the dream doesn’t make the dream any more real. Thank you!

          • The USA is one of the only countries in the world which did not support the recognition of the State of Palestine, Gideon. And this recognition may have far-reaching consequences from a legal point of view.

      • You have – presumably deliberately – avoided my point.

        Where does Sherwood say that “Israel is teaching hatred”?

        Most fair-minded, progressive, educated people tend to refer to the lands captured during the Six-Day War.

        Comments beginning along the lines of “Most fair-minded, progressive, educated people tend to …” – and this goes for all parties to any debate – tend to be partisan posts that are not worth heeding.

        Please bear this in mind.

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