Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Were Jewish children taught that Palestinian Arabs didn’t exist, as Seth Rogen claims?

Comedian Seth Rogen showed off his ignorance about Israel and Judaism in an interview on some podcast with an equally ignorant Jew.

I want to look at one statement he said:

And I also think that as a Jewish person, like I was fed a huge amount of lies about Israel my entire life. You know, they never tell you, that oh by the way, there were people there. They make it seem like it was– just sitting there, oh the fucking door’s open!…Literally they forget to include the fact to every young Jewish person: Basically, oh yeah, there were people living there.

Do Jewish kids not learn about the existence of Arabs in British Mandate Palestine?

There are not too many Zionist textbooks about Israel’s history meant for children, but I found one – The Story of Modern Israel for Young People by Dorothy F. Zeligs, published in 1950.

story israel


If any Zionist history book would erase Arabs, it would be one written in the afterglow of Israel’s 1948 victory.

But while this book is undoubtedly Zionist, it not only discusses Arabs often –it is sympathetic towards innocent Arabs. (It is not sympathetic at all towards the Arabs that tried to push the Jews into the sea.)

This photo in the book says it all:



It is literally impossible to teach Israel’s history without mentioning the Arabs who were the majority before 1948. The riots in 1920, 1921 and 1929; the mini-civil war of 1936-9, the reasons for the British White Paper limiting Jewish immigration, the partition plan, the fighting in 1947-8 and the refugee issue – these topics cannot be avoided if one is taught even a perfunctory history of Israel, no matter how Zionist that history is.

But I would bet that Seth Rogen is utterly unfamiliar with the 1929 riots or the 1936 Arab uprising or any detail of the 1948 war beyond “Israel won.” He is completely and totally ignorant about Israel’s history, because if he knew 1% of what he pretends to know he would never say such a stupid thing.

It is entirely  possible that Rogen grew up knowing nothing about Israel – he’s proving it today. But it is far more likely that he slept through class (according to The Forward, he attended a Jewish elementary school and a Zionist summer camp) than that he was taught that there were no Arabs there.