How Israel teaches its children to hate
Rabu, 28 Ogos 2019 5:08:42 PG
scholar Nurit Peled-Elhanan’s important academic study, “Palestine in
Israeli School Books” is essential reading for anyone who wants to
understand some important realities about the Israeli state and Israeli
As a settler-colonial entity, real change can
never come from within Israeli society. It must be imposed from the outside.
Much like white South Africans, Jewish Israelis will never voluntarily give up
their privileged position as settlers.
South African apartheid was defeated by the
masses of South Africa (with the support of some white dissidents), and their
political leaders, in alliance with a global solidarity campaign.
In the same way, Israeli apartheid will be
defeated by the Palestinian struggle. This struggle is supported by a minority
of Israeli dissidents, and by the international solidarity movement –
especially the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Peled-Elhanan’s book was a major study of 17 Israeli
school textbooks on history, geography and civic studies. As you can see from
what she says in the interview above, she came to some stark conclusions.
even mention Palestinians at all, Israel’s official schoolbooks teach a “racist
discourse”, which quite literally wipes Palestine off the map. Maps in the
schoolbooks only ever show “the Land of Israel”, from the river to the sea.
explained that not a single one of the schoolbooks included “any positive
cultural or social aspect of Palestinian life-world: neither literature nor
poetry, neither history nor agriculture, neither art nor architecture, neither
customs nor traditions are ever mentioned.”
Of the rare
times that Palestinians are mentioned, it is in an overwhelmingly negative and
stereotypical fashion: “all [the books] represent [Palestinians] in racist
icons or demeaning classificatory images such as terrorists, refugees and
primitive farmers — the three ‘problems’ they constitute for Israel.”
concluded that the children’s schoolbooks “present Israeli-Jewish culture as
superior to the Arab-Palestinian one, Israeli-Jewish concepts of progress as
superior to the Palestinian-Arab way of life and Israeli-Jewish behaviour as
aligning with universal values.”
All this is
quite the opposite of the stereotypical and misleading story about children’s
schoolbooks in Palestine. The books printed by the Palestinian Authority since
the 1990s are frequently portrayed in anti-Palestinian demonology as
putting forth the worst anti-Semitic calumnies about Jewish people.
this narrative is a crude fabrication instigated by anti-Palestinian propaganda
groups, such as that run by Israeli settler Itamar Marcus and his
“Palestinian Media Watch”.
Peled-Elhanan’s book comprehensively demolished a second,
complementary, Israeli myth: that Israelis – by way of contrast to the
dastardly Palestinians – instead “teach love thy neighbour”, to quote Israel’s
war criminal ex-foreign minister Tzipi Livni.
Seven years ago, when Peled-Elhanan’s book
was published, she warned that, in contrast to liberal hopes for change from
within Israeli society, things were moving “backwards and backwards” and that
the then-current textbooks were little more than “military manifests”.
“We have three generations of students who
don’t even know where the borders,” between the West Bank and the rest of
historic Palestine are, she despaired in the interview above, filmed back in
Seven years on from the book’s publication,
things have only got progressively worse.
That can be seen
in the video that circulated on social media this week of young Israeli
soldiers celebrating and cheering after they dynamited Palestinian homes east
of Al-Quds (Jerusalem). Those same soldiers are a product of Israel’s education
As Israel’s violent oppression of an entire
indigenous people become more and more blatant for the world to see, so public
opinion is increasingly shifting against Israel – even among the previously
supportive voter and activist base of the Democratic Party in the US.
As Israel can rely less and less on outside
support, it becomes more important for the apartheid state to circle the
wagons, and ensure the next generation of settlers and soldiers are inculcated
into the Israeli state’s official ideology – Zionism. Last month it emerged that
Israel has begun requiring all high school students – including those
Palestinians who are second-class “citizens” of Israel – to pass an online
government propaganda course before they can participate in overseas
According to the
Palestinian human rights group Adalah, the course “promotes racist
ideology”, brainwashing students with the myth that Palestinians are inherently
says that one question asks: “How do Palestinian organizations use digital
social networks?” The required answer is “encouraging violence.”
“Another question asks students to identify
the origins of modern anti-Semitism,” Adalah explains. “The exam’s
correct answer is ‘Muslim organizations’ and the BDS movement.”
In this way, Israel is teaching its children
to hate: hate Palestinians, hate Muslims, hate the Arabs in general and hate
anyone who supports or stands in solidarity with them against oppression.
Source: Middle East Monitor