“The Palestinian Authority continues to promote incitement... and a culture of
hate, terror, and non-acceptance toward Israelis and Jews,” government officials
told foreign journalists on Tuesday.
The officials were beginning a press
offensive aimed at discrediting an American- funded study that asserted that
instances of demonization and dehumanization of Jews in Palestinian school books
The study, titled “Victims of Our Own Narratives,” was
directed by Professors Bruce Wexler of Yale University, Daniel Bar-Tal of Tel
Aviv University and Sami Adwan of Bethlehem University.
Kuperwasser, the deputy director-general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry,
presented Israel’s critique of the report during a briefing held for foreign
correspondents at the Government Press Office in Jerusalem.
Wexler of trying to “whitewash the Palestinian books,” and said that the
professor had “attempted to create an artificial balance” between Israeli and
Palestinian Authority texts.
“Any attempt to compare [Palestinian texts]
with our textbooks and narratives is strange,” Kuperwasser said.
research consists of “taking textbooks out of context,” Kuperwasser
“The Palestinians have a full system of indoctrination” including
government-sponsored television programs, PA youth magazines and summer camps. He
further argued that the lessons of the Palestinian educational system can be
best illuminated by the content posted on the Facebook pages of Palestinian
Kuperwasser displayed an image culled from the Facebook page of
the Palestinian Authority Education Ministry in which a snake with a star of
David on its forehead could be seen strangling a young Palestinian.
also cited a PATV children’s program in which a young girl exclaimed that “our
enemy, Zion, is Satan with a tail.”
On another such page, a Palestinian
teacher had posted a picture of a suicide bomber and challenged students to
identify her in exchange for chocolate.
Articles, such as one from the
February 2011 issue of PA-funded children’s magazine Zayzafuna, in which Adolf
Hitler is depicted as telling youths that he “killed [the Jews] so you would all
know that they are a nation which spreads destruction all over the world,” were
further proof of the extremism of Palestinian education, Kuperwasser
“The study omits important examples of incitement and
delegitimization found in official PA schoolbooks. This raises questions as to
the validity of the selection process and analysis of the texts,” he
The report’s “methodology is flawed in that it misses or obscures
critical differences between Israeli and Palestinian texts. For example, it
equates historical descriptions in Israeli text books of pogroms or terrorist
attacks with statements in PA textbooks declaring that Zionism and Israel’s
existence are illegitimate,” Kuperwasser said. “The document doesn’t count what
is missing. There is nothing about peace.”
At the end of the day,
Palestinian intransigence will only be strengthened by this report’s
conclusions, he said. “Whitewashing [incitement] means that the Palestinians do
not have the incentive they need to change their message.”
said he believed that the American government was moving to distance itself from
Wexler’s findings. “Americans said long ago that something is wrong with this
project,” he said.
Edgar Vasquez, a State Department spokesman, told The
Jerusalem Post on Monday that “the US government provides grants for independent
textbook analyses and curricula development to a number of different
organizations,” and that such “studies are not US government policy documents,
and are not endorsed by the US government.”
State Department spokeswoman
Victoria Nuland agreed, telling reporters in Washington that the report’s
“results are not necessarily endorsed by the US government.
taking a position one way or another on what the study found... We haven’t done
an independent analysis of this report ourselves. It was funded at the request
of some of our Israeli partners. If it’s not useful to them, then they don’t
need to use it,” Nuland said.