A huge cheer of joy erupted Monday in the General Assembly room of the
Paris-based UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) after "Palestine" was voted in as the organization's 195th member.
event was, in reality, not a cause for celebration but another lamentable
example of the moral bankruptcy of the UN and its organizations.
the US, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Israel voted against it, such
bastions of human rights and freedom as China, Russia and Brazil voted in
Disappointingly, Austria and France two states which should have
known better voted in favor, while Britain could do no more than
In its rush to aid the Palestinians in their unilateral bid for
internationally recognized statehood status, UNESCO completely disregarded its
own declared educational and cultural standards based on equality and mutual
Instead, UNESCO effectively endorsed the warped, hate-mongering
Palestinian national "narrative" as reflected in the Palestinian Authority's
official school textbooks, cultural policies and popular
Impact-SE, a research organization that monitors and analyzes
schoolbooks and curricula across the Middle East, with an eye toward determining
their compliance with international standards on peace and tolerance like
those set by UNESCO found shameful examples of anti-Semitism being taught in
the Palestinian educational system.
Indeed, textbooks used in PA schools
conveyed rabidly anti-Semitic messages (Jews are described as violators of
treaties, deceivers, murderers of children, disembowelers of women and
impersonators of snakes) erased Jewish peoples' ties to the land of Israel
(Rachel's Tomb is presented as the Bilal bin Rabah Mosque, and the Kotel is
described simply as Al-Buraq Wall) and supported jihad while, completing
ignoring the option of a negotiated peace settlement with Israel.
study quotes the following paragraph from a eighth-grade book: "Today the Muslim
countries need urgently jihad and jihad fighters in order to liberate the robbed
lands and to get rid of the robbing Jews from the robbed lands in Palestine and
in the Levant." Nowhere in official PA textbooks is the Holocaust mentioned,
though there is an entire chapter on World War Two.
One ambiguous passage
states: "The Jewish question is first and foremost a European problem." Before
the UNESCO decision, there might have been a chance, through international
pressure and dialogue, to influence the PA to gradually revamp textbooks so that
they more closely reflected reality.
Perhaps a new generation of
Palestinian children could have been raised not on anti-Semitism, stereotypes
and lies, but on respect for those who are different, the value of peaceful
negotiation and recognition of the Jewish people's ties to the land of
But by accepting "Palestine" as a member, UNESCO has effectively
given its stamp of approval to the sort of vicious indoctrination undergone by
Palestinian schoolchildren at a young, impressionable age.
Can we honesty
expect any future Palestinian leader to criticize the abhorrent messages that
appear in PA textbooks if UNESCO failed to? Any leader who dared to introduce
reforms would be fighting an uphill battle, not only against Palestinian
prejudices and its culture of violence and self-victimization, but also against
a respected UN institution's decision.
What's more, according to UNESCO's
own rules, accepting "Palestine" as a full-fledged member means that UNESCO
essentially waives its right to interfere in or even criticize Palestinian
education policies. If anything, Palestinian schoolbooks will inculcate children
with even more uncompromisingly anti-Semitic, anti-Israel messages.
the messages presented in school will continue to be reinforced in Palestinian
media and in mosques. Consequently, the chances for peace between Israelis and
Palestinians will get even slimmer.
Seen in this light, PA President
Mahmoud Abbas's statement that the UNESCO decision "is a vote for peace" is
Rather, it is a vote for bigotry, hatred and