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Thursday, February 07, 2013

How the textbook study whitewashes Palestinian Arab hate (part 2)

Earlier this week, I looked at the report by the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land from the report comparing the textbooks of the Palestinian Authority and those used in Israel.

One section of the report shows, clearly, how biased it is and how the authors bent over backwards to find something positive to say about the Palestinian Arab textbooks and negative things about the Israeli textbooks.

Here is a very telling section of the report:
Examples of positive descriptions of the acts of the other from Israeli books:

One example from an Israeli State school book when discussing the pogrom in Hebron in 1929:
“If not for the brave stand of a British police officer and moderate Arabs who physically defended their Jewish neighbors, the slaughter would have been more awful” (State secular schools, National World 2 - Building a State in the Middle East [התיכון במזרח מדינה בונים - 'ב לאומי עולם], Grade 10, Part 2, p.30, LP345).
Another example:
 “‘I saw it as my obligation as a Muslim Arab to offer help to an Israeli soldier injured in an accident’ said Abdullah Yusef Yunes…who offered help and drove an Israeli soldier in his vehicle” (State secular schools, Through the Words: Book D [כנרת .'ד ספר :המילים דרך], 2009, Grade 4, Part 4, p.203, LP1892).
“Abu Salah had long been our friend and neighbor. Only a low stone fence separated our cemetery and his house. In the summer, Abu Salah would bring us coal for the bakery oven, and in the winter, when our car got stuck in the mud, he would bring the milk on his camels” (State religious schools, Open the Gate: Anthology for 6th Grade,[ו לכיתה מקראה :השער את פתחו '], Grade 6, p. 304, LP1254).

As illustrated in two of these examples, positive characterizations of Arabs or their actions in Israeli State books typically refer to individuals rather than to Arabs as a whole or as a nation.

An example of positive description of the act of the other from Palestinian books
The following divine books: 1 - "The messages of Abraham (peace be upon him) and Moses call for belief in God Almighty, worshipping Him, and following noble morals". 2 - The Torah: Was revealed to Moses (peace be upon him) to guide the children of Israel. 3 - The Zabour: Was revealed to David (peace be upon him) with sermons and guidance for the children of Israel. 4 - The Gospel: Was revealed to Jesus (peace be upon him) to guide the children of Israel, and to reaffirm what Moses (peace be upon him) had brought”. Islamic Education part 1 grade 3 p. 17
When it comes to the Israeli textbooks, they denigrate the positive messages by saying they were about individual Arabs and not Arabs as a whole. But humanizing the other side is of course much more effective and has greater impact than only referring to the other side as a nameless mass of people. If the researchers were not biased to find "balance" they would have praised the Israeli books' representation of Arabs.

But more egregious is the single example that they bring of a supposedly positive characterization of Jews in Arab textbooks. They don't refer to Abraham, Moses or David (or Jesus) as Jews - in Islam, they are considered Islamic prophets!

In other words, from what we can tell, there was not a single positive characterization of contemporary Jews in any Arab textbook, while there were quite a few positive characterizations of contemporary Arabs in Israeli textbooks!

Does that sound equivalent to you?