'PA promotes hatred, terror towards Israelis, Jews'

Israel attacks study comparing Palestinian and Israeli textbooks, while Washington tries to distance itself from report.

February 6, 2013 01:45
3 minute read.
Illustration in Palestinian textbook

Palestinian incitement in textbooks 311. (photo credit: IMPACT-SE)


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“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 are “rare.”

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.

Yosef 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.

He accused 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.

Wexler’s research consists of “taking textbooks out of context,” Kuperwasser said.

“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 schools.

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.

He 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 said.

“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 said.

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.”

Kuperwasser 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.

“We’re not 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.

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