Monday, September 27, 2021

  • Monday, September 27, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Sabrina Miller writes in TheJC about how Jewish children aren't taught enough about Israel and Zionism to be well prepared when they go to campus.

She states the problem well. But her suggested solution is not the way to deal with it.

Miller suggests that groups that are critical of Israel be invited to lecture the kids on their viewpoint, and therefore muddy the waters.

I've said for a long time that Jewish schools must teach the Palestinian narrative - from the perspective of showing why it is wrong. As I wrote in 2010 (somewhat modified here):

It seems to me that only one thing needs to be taught to Jewish students: the truth. If Jewish schools completely ignore talking about some 600,000 Palestinian Arabs having left their homes, some of them (but far from the majority) forced out by the Haganah and IZL, they are failing. If they teach the skewed Palestinian Arab narrative of forced dispossession and unending massacres, they are failing worse.

Yes, teach the Nakba - but teach what really happened. Of course it was a catastrophe for hundreds of thousands of people, but the continuing catastrophe of what has happened to them since 1948 at the hands of their Arab brothers needs to be taught as well.

There were some massacres - usually exaggerated but still true - and Israel should regret some of the excesses of war. But there was also heroism, there were also miracles, there was also the overriding moral imperative to survive and beat back an onslaught that was literally meant to be genocidal.

Teach about how Palestinian Arab nationalism was weak to nonexistent in 1948. Teach how Jordan and Egypt's occupations of "Palestinian" land were not protested. Teach the history of the Mufti, his Nazi activities and his terror sprees against Jews (not Zionists - Jews.) Teach about how Arab refugees in Israel were integrated into society while those in Arab lands were treated like garbage, and still are. Teach about how UNRWA has ensured that the "refugee" problem will fester until Israel is destroyed. Teach about how the first people to lose their homes in the conflict were Jews, not Arabs.

All of these need to be taught. It doesn't mean that Jewish youngsters shouldn't feel the appropriate sorrow for the suffering of Palestinian Arabs, but it also doesn't mean that they should forget that they were still the enemy, and the moral imperative is to ensure your own survival before worrying about that of those who tried, and most still desire, to destroy you.

For an example of what must be taught, here is an article that I have quoted before, from Dorothy Bar-Adon in the Palestine Post, August 17, 1948 (click to enlarge). In it she discusses how she feels bad over the fact that her neighboring Arab village fled - but also says exactly why they cannot return. It strikes the perfect balance between humanity and self-preservation. Acknowledging the fact that 1948 was a disaster for Arabs in Palestine is not a violation of the Zionist narrative; it should be part and parcel of it - but it must be put in the proper context of the time and the place.

Because the alternative was unimaginably worse. 

Beyond teaching the truth, what also need to be taught is what the anti-Israel arguments are and how to answer them.  I once serialized some twenty answers to anti-Israel accusations I gave at a lecture.

Things might be a little different in England. As On The Dark Side notes, the 1996 Education Act requires controversial subjects to be taught offering ‘a balanced presentation of opposing views.’ In England, the truth might be considered too "controversial." Which means that teens must be taught the truth outside of school, which is more of a challenge.

The antidote to ignorance is education. But just as you don't tell a kid to Google Israel and figure it all out for himself, responsible parents and educators need to teach the truth in a way that the students know they are learning all sides of the issue.









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