In my own write: Playing pretend

Pity our children, who will have to contend with the results of an ongoing, indefinite suspension of reality.

Palestinian children in school 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian children in school 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
We go to the cinema or the opera ready to pretend that people and situations are different from real life. We accept a film scenario in which a person might, under certain circumstances, fly under his own steam; or an opera climax in which the heroine, fast expiring from consumption, robustly engages in a long and taxing farewell aria.
Our pretense that these things are possible is called “suspension of reality,” and we do it willingly.
But it’s a different matter entirely when the existence of a country and its people is suspended from the reality of entire Muslim populations; and when their political leaders and institutions, egged on by religious authorities, labor hard to keep that reality suspended.
IT WAS first entertaining, then sobering, to watch a YouTube clip of a Lebanese tot identifying with confidence a string of Arab and world capitals as his father, off-camera, cued him with the countries’ names.
Hassan, aged no more than three, stuffed his mouth with popcorn in between enthusiastically shouting out the capitals of some 25 countries, including those of Mauritania and Djibouti and others many of us would be hard put to recall, if indeed we ever knew them.
But when his father asked about the capital of Israel, the cute party trick took an ominous turn. Little Hassan made a sweeping movement with his arm and, tiny index finger upraised, intoned: “There is no Israel! It’s Palestine!” Well-versed, he was reflecting, to his father’s gratification, what he had been taught at home or in kindergarten.
This Arab toddler may or may not be an intellectual prodigy, but his performance before the camera indicates potential far above the norm. With his innocent young mind sullied by lies adults have implanted there, that potential is already being grossly misused.
How will Hassan employ his inborn gifts when he grows up? Some of the possibilities make one shudder.
MANY OF the attitudes that accompany us into adulthood are inculcated during our first five years of life, child psychologists say. Further, and astonishing though it may sound, we amass more information – neurological, intellectual and emotional – during our first five years on earth than we do during the whole of the rest of our lives. These facts alone make the hate-indoctrination of small children a heinous moral crime.
Multiply little Hassan by hundreds of millions of children in Arab societies being raised from infancy through adolescence on a diet steadily sprinkled with Israel-negation and other suspensions of reality – and one is left feeling very troubled about the region, the “Arab Spring” notwithstanding, and about Israel’s future in it.
In the mindset of those for whom Israel does not exist – including, tragically, a generation and more of Palestinian children brought up to dismiss the reality of Israel – Israelis/Jews deserve to be eliminated. Like characters in a computer game – fearsome, devouring monsters – they have no rights, no human substance. That they are hated and feared only makes their destruction more obligatory.
There are Palestinians and other Arabs who understand that Israelis, while only too real, are human beings like themselves with the right to life and liberty. But when the prevailing mentality is totalitarian, everything is portrayed in black and white. The “other” is allowed no redeeming characteristics. Those who would speak up for tolerance and sanity and against the negation of Israel do so at their peril.
A PHONE-IN quiz program on Palestinian Children’s TV, translated by Palestinian Media Watch, tested young viewers’ knowledge of a “world without Israel.” In the quiz, Haifa, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Jaffa and Eilat were named as “Palestinian ports”; a question about the size of the West Bank and Gaza elicited the heartily commended answer of 27,000 sq. km. (the whole State of Israel, plus Gaza and the West Bank). To the question “What’s the name of the only sweet water lake in Palestine?” a young viewer called Ayyam answered “The Tiberius Sea” – Lake Kinneret – earning praise and a smile from the quizmaster.
This past December, PMW released a 269-page book called Deception: Betraying the Peace Process detailing systematic hate speech in Arabic by the Palestinian Authority from May 2010 through April 2011 – at cultural events, in leaders’ statements and in educational media, including children’s magazines. Emphasized is the contrast between what the leaders say in Arabic and their peace talk in English to the international media.
At a press conference launching the book, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and human rights leader Robert L. Bernstein condemned the PA’s indoctrination of children to glorify terror.
In the book, authors Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik point out the direct link between the PA’s demonization of Israelis and the perception of Hitler as a positive role model. As an example, they cite an essay submitted by a Palestinian teenage girl to a PA-funded educational magazine presenting Hitler as a hero because he killed Jews.
In the essay, Hitler tells the girl in a dream: “I killed them so you would all know that they are a nation which spreads destruction all over the world.”
It is surely important that, at the very least, PA leaders be denied the ability to exploit Nazi ideology against Israel while, at the same time, depicting Israelis as the new Nazis who are victimizing the Palestinian people.
IN AN official environment where public squares and children’s holiday camps and sporting events are named after coldblooded murderers – last month PA President Mahmoud Abbas met privately with released Palestinian terrorist Amna Muna in Turkey – it’s hardly surprising that the mufti of Jerusalem should feel free to call on Muslims to kill Jews.
Seventy years after the plan for the Final Solution was hatched at Wannsee, a video of a January 9 Fatah rally, distributed by Palestinian Media Watch, shows the cleric, Mohammed Hussein, reading out an exhortation attributed to the prophet Muhammad: “The day of Judgment [redemption] will not come until you fight the Jews. The Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will call, ‘O Muslim, O servant of God, this is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’”
As Herb Keinon reported in the January 23 issue of The Jerusalem Post, the rally was introduced by a speaker saying, “Our war with the descendants of the apes and pigs is a war of religion and faith. Long live Fatah!”
Hussein denied he had incited to murder Jews, saying he was just reading religious texts (!) whose wording he couldn’t change.
Palestinian Religious Affairs Minister Mahmoud al- Habash “confirmed the details of the rally as they appeared in the PMW video, but said: ‘We believe in peace.’” He added that the mufti “was simply quoting a [religious text] that talks about destiny, about what could happen in the future.”
It’s the kind of prevarication that makes one laugh, or cry.
PITY THE children of a people with leaders such as this. And pity our children, who will have to contend with the results of an ongoing suspension of reality that shows little sign of coming to an end.