Palestine in Israeli School Books: Nurit Peled-Elhanan

Alternate Focus interviews Nurit Peled-Elhanan, author of the forthcoming book Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education. Nurit Peled-Elhanan argues that the textbooks used in the school system are laced with a pro-Israel ideology, and that they play a part in priming Israeli children for military service. She analyzes the presentation of images, maps, layouts and use of language in History, Geography and Civic Studies textbooks, and reveals how the books might be seen to marginalize Palestinians, legitimize Israeli military action and reinforce Jewish-Israeli territorial identity.



July 6, 2013 · 1:53 pm

6 responses to “Palestine in Israeli School Books: Nurit Peled-Elhanan

  1. Christopher Proudlove

    I’ll look into you post Trevor. At first glance I detect more Palestine Liberation Organization propaganda. Meanwhile how about this from the israel today (sic) magazine:
    Palestinian Authority TV last week broadcast a morning show featuring two young girls no older than seven or eight who recited what appeared to be an anti-Semitic poem that one source noted would put even former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to shame!
    Below is the full dialogue between the Palestinian reporter and the girls, translated by the anti-incitement watchdog, Palestinian Media Watch:
    PA TV reporter: “Let’s meet these girls who want to recite a short poem.”
    Girl 1: I do not fear the rifle because your throngs are in delusion and ignorant herds.
    Jerusalem is my land, Jerusalem is my honor
    Jerusalem is my days and my wildest dreams.
    Oh, you who murdered Allah’s pious prophets (i.e., Jews in Islamic tradition)
    Oh, you who were brought up on spilling blood
    You have been condemned to humiliation and hardship.
    Oh Sons of Zion, oh most evil among creations
    Oh barbaric monkeys, wretched pigs
    Girl 2: Jerusalem is not your den
    Jerusalem opposes your throngs
    Jerusalem vomits from within it your impurity
    Because Jerusalem, you impure ones, is pious, immaculate
    And Jerusalem, you who are filth, is clean and pure.
    I do not fear barbarity.
    As long as my heart is my Quran and my city
    As long as I have my arm and my stones
    As long as I am free and do not barter my cause
    I will not fear your throngs
    I will not fear the rifle.
    This recent case is just one of the endless examples of how the Palestinian Authority manipulates it media by use of their own children in order to actively promote religious hatred and anti-Semitism towards the Jewish people. It is a trend in Palestinian media to depict Jews as animals, in this case, as “barbaric monkeys and wretched pigs.”
    This is nothing new for Israeli ears; anti-Semitism and anti-Israel rhetoric ricochets throughout this region every day, just as it did for centuries in the nations where the Jews suffered in exile.
    However, to experience such episodes at a time of prospective negotiations understandably leaves Israeli leaders questioning whether the Palestinian people are really sincere about peace. The question most Israelis are asking: is true peace viable? Can there ever be genuine recognition of Israel’s right to exist – which is Israel’s chief peace demand – when there appears to be no real change coming from within the Palestinian camp in this regard?
    As Israeli Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan noted, there doesn’t seem to be a “genuine end to the anti-Israel incitement.”
    With that said, the issue therefore is not prevention, but control. Once it is recognized that this Palestinian education of brainwashing and hatred is impossible to eradicate, people may begin to understand why Israelis take their state security policies and premise for negotiations so seriously.

  2. “I detect more Palestine Liberation Organization propaganda.”

    Please elaborate?

  3. Christopher Proudlove

    Nurit Peled-Elhanan is an Israeli academic whose daughter was killed by a Palestinian Arab suicide bomber. In Israel she is free to express her views. Residents in the Palestinian Authority or the Gaza Strip would, at best, be run out of town. Text books tend to be patriotic no matter what nation. While there is much to cticise teaching in the Palestinian Arab territories, both sides must realise that if they are to live in peace then there must be positive things said about the other side.

  4. Christopher Proudlove

    Practically everything you write is in line with the PLO, Trevor.

  5. Christopher Proudlove

    In an article for headlined Genesis of an Anti-Semitic State David Bedein warned about a new anti-Semitic state in formation. He wrote:
    Imagine, if you would, if any nascent nation-state anywhere in the world was in formation, and that it had taken on the following features:
    * Selling land to a Jew would be defined as a capital crime.
    * Its new constitution would not allow for juridical status for Judaism and Jews would not even be allowed to live in the country.
    * The school system would inculcate children to make war on the Jews.
    * Those who murder Jews would become the heroes of the new country.
    * The designated head of state earned his Ph.D. on the basis of a published thesis arguing that the millions of Jews who were murdered during World War II were actually executed by the Zionists, who were allies of the Nazis.
    The reaction to such a “state in formation” would be an outcry from all of the Jewish groups that monitor anti-Semitism.
    Yet there has been no outcry from most Jewish groups in the case of the proposed Palestinian Arab state, based on the ideology of the Palestine Liberation Organization, even though the proposed state possesses these six characteristics, as described above.
    However, there are some influential non-Jews who have expressed concern about the anti-Semitism of the nascent Palestinian Authority.
    A case in point: Ten years ago, our agency (Israel Resource News Agency) covered a briefing for a visiting United States congressional delegation provided by the former Vatican representative to Israel, Archbishop Pietro Sambi. The Papal Nuncio warned US lawmakers that the new Palestinian Authority approved a draft state constitution, funded by USAID, which provided no juridical status for religions other than Islam in the new Palestinian Arab entity.
    The Papal Nuncio also warned that the Palestinian Authority had adopted a Shariah law that was modelled on the Sharia law that rules in Saudi Arabia, which dictates absolute supremacy of Muslims, as matter of law.
    Archbishop Sambi provided the text of that proposed PA constitution, with the hope that Jewish groups which would object to such a proposed Palestinian state constitution.
    In addition, Archbishop Sambi initiated a Vatican study of the new PA textbooks, which the Vatican would determine to be anti-Semitic in nature.
    As a result of the Vatican study of the PA textbooks, the Italian government withdrew its money from the Palestinian Ministry of Education textbook project.
    An expert whose research is impeccable on this subject is journalist Dr. Arnon Groiss, who earned his Ph.D. in Islamic studies at Princeton, and who worked for ten years as a researcher for, also known as the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, where Dr. Groiss became an expert on Arab school books.
    Over the past year, Dr. Groiss made presentations for staffers and members of the US Congress and the Canadian Parliament, in which he showed how the new textbooks of the Palestinian Authority, instead of educating for peace with Israel, promote the “armed struggle” to liberate Palestine — all of Palestine.
    From these textbooks, Groiss showed that the PA curriculum teaches the following fundamentals:
    * Jews are foreigners and have no rights in Palestine.
    * The Jews have a dubious, and even murderous, character.
    * Israel is an illegitimate usurper that occupied Palestine in 1948 and 1967.
    * Israel is the source of all kinds of evil done to the Palestinians.
    * Peace with Israel based on reconciliation is not sought.
    * Armed struggle for liberation is encouraged instead.
    * The exact area to be liberated is never restricted to the areas taken by Israel in 1967.
    * Jihad and martyrdom are explicitly encouraged.
    The list of accusations against Israel appearing in the new Palestinian Authority schoolbooks includes more than 25 allegations, including:
    * Israel contributes to Palestinian social ills and family violence.
    * Israel causes the increase of drug abuse cases in Palestinian society.
    * Israel pollutes the Palestinian environment.
    * Israel usurps Muslim and Christian holy places.
    * Israel strives to obliterate the Palestinian national identity and heritage.
    Over the past two years, New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith, a 34-year Republican veteran of Congress, announced that he would lead a campaign for the US to condition aid to UNRWA and the Palestinian Authority on the nullification of the anti-Semitic curriculum of the Palestinian Authority.
    Rep. Smith’s initiative was reminiscent of Archbishop Sambi, who died two years ago while serving as the new Papal Nuncio in Washington.
    Archbishop Sambi was never afraid to take a stand on the official anti-Semitism which he discerned in the Palestinian Authority.
    It remains to be seen whether mainstream Jewish groups will follow the lead of Rep. Smith and the late Archbishop Sambi to make such demands of the Palestinian Authority.
    Sometimes it takes a courageous gentile to speak up, so that Jews will not hesitate to follow their example. Perhaps the Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism will toast the legacy and the message of Archbishop Pietro Sambi, whose warnings about the anti-Semitism of nascent Palestinian Arab entity should be heeded.
    David Bedein is a community organizer who runs the Israel Resource News Agency. He is the author of Where Has All the Flour Gone: Whims and Waste of UN Palestinian Refugee Policy and producer of the movie, “Palestinian Refugee Policy: From Despair to Hope.”

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