A new study funded by the US State Department and conducted by the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land titled “Victims of our own narrative: the Portrayal of the Other in Israeli and Palestinian School Books” has declared that dehumanizing characteristics of the other are rare in Palestinian textbooks. This conclusion is surprising, given the large amount of evidence showing how ‘hatred of the other’ is rampantly spread throughout the Palestinian Authority schools.
Evidently, in order to reach these conclusions, scientific advisory panel member Dr. Arnon Groiss claims that 40 significant items that attest to incitement in the Palestinian textbooks were not included in the study. Additionally, Groiss had severe reservations about the methodology of the study. In fact, according to one scientific adviser panel member, who chose to remain anonymous, this document has the potential to be “another Goldstone report.” Indeed, like the Goldstone Report, this study was conducted by biased sources and thus came up with questionable results.
Israel Academia Monitor, an organization dedicated to monitoring anti-Israel academics, has asserted that Daniel Bar Tal, the Israeli researcher for this project, “helped organize a 2006 conference where Johan Galtung served as a keynote speaker, in spite of the latter’s well known anti-Semitism. Indeed, Bar-Tal sat on the podium next to Galtung who launched into his standard Israel- bashing routine. In 2012 Galtung alleged that the Mossad was linked to the recent massacre in Norway and quoted from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion; he was roundly denounced and fired by the Swiss Academy of Peace. In spite of IAM calls, however, Bar-Tal refuses to condemn Galtung or apologize for letting the latter to engage in “nazification of Israel” at the 2006 conference.”
Given that Israel Academia Monitor has documented the anti-Israel radicalism of Daniel Bar Tal, the fact that his conclusions aren’t based in reality shouldn’t be surprising. The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, which published over 20 studies on how Middle Eastern school textbooks portray the other in order to examine whether they uphold international standards set by UNESCO, has asserted, “Our own study of Palestinian and Israeli textbooks, has found that while Israeli state-approved textbooks include a respectful depiction of Muslim, Arab and Palestinian history narratives, Palestinian textbooks present no such parallels. […] The situation regarding the attitude towards the “other” remains a significant problem, and sadly continues to deteriorate.”
Thus, given this, the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education raised “some questions, mainly regarding the council report’s methodology and the texts and quotes omitted from its analysis.” They found it “difficult to reconcile the wide gap observed between the quotes mentioned in the report and the conclusions derived from them. The report’s overall “forgiving” nature regarding the textbooks approved by the Palestinian Ministry of Education, which still teach negation of the Israeli other and history, remains a major source of concern.”
The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education asserted, “According to our several studies on Israeli and Arab textbooks as well as the quotes given in the above mentioned report, it is clear that the Israeli education system and its educational world view cannot be compared with those of the Palestinian education system. While Israeli education teaches peace and recognizes the national or religious other, Palestinian textbooks emphasize a message of non-acceptance and justify fight and struggle.”
According to the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, Palestinian school textbooks routinely don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist under any borders, while several Israeli textbooks do in fact show Palestinian cities either based on the green line or based on the areas presently under Palestinian control due to the Oslo Agreements. In addition to denying Israel’s right to exist under any borders, the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education claims that Palestinian school textbooks dehumanize Jews and Israel, present history in a biased manner, encourage violence, and refrains from mentioning atrocities committed against the Jewish people, such as the Holocaust, massacres where Arabs killed Jews, or the suffering of Jewish refugees from Arab countries. To the contrary, Israeli textbooks do mention Palestinian suffering.
The list of examples of Palestinian textbooks dehumanizing the other is countless. Yet, just to give one the flavor of the sort of things Palestinian youngsters learn, in an exercise given to Palestinian ninth graders, students are asked to relate to the following two sentences: “Morning of glory and red redemption, nourished by the blood of martyrs” and “hope for the liberation of Palestine.” Another Palestinian text given to eighth graders reads, “Today’s Muslim countries need urgently jihad and jihad fighters in order to liberate the robbed land and to get rid of the robbing Jews from the robbed lands in Palestine and in the Levant.” Nevertheless, despite these facts, a US State Department funded study found that dehumanizing characteristics are rare in Palestinian textbooks.