Israeli textbooks portray Palestinians as ‘terrorists, refugees, and primitive farmers’
By Omar Barghouti
This insightful research by respected Israeli scholar Nurit Peled-Elhanan will confirm what Palestinian researchers have always known: Israel’s prevailing culture of racism, fundamentalism, support for war crimes, and apartheid against Palestinians is mainly a product of an educational system that indoctrinates Jewish-Israeli students with militant colonial values and extreme racism that turn them into “monsters” once in uniform.
Those who see this as an aberration of Zionism seem to lack sufficient understanding of what Zionism really is and the central role it plays as a patently racist ideology in justifying ethnic cleansing and racist domination over Palestinians.
One should not wonder then why, at the height of the Israeli massacre in Gaza 2008-09, a Tel Aviv University poll (reported in the Jerusalem Post, Jan. ’09) of Jewish-Israeli opinion showed a shocking 94% support for the assault, despite full knowledge of the enormous suffering this Israeli aggression had inflicted upon the 1.5 million Palestinians incarcerated in the Gaza “prison camp” and of the massive destruction of their civilian infrastructure.
As in every other colonial system, only sustained and effective pressure from within as well as from without can put an end to this downward spiral of criminality, impunity and unspoken racism. More BDS is needed to end Israeli occupation, colonialism and apartheid. Other than the obvious benefits to indigenous Palestinians, suffering more than six decades of this three-tiered system of Israeli oppression, an end to this system of oppression may well transform most Israelis from colonial “monsters” into normal humans.
(note: Nurit Peled-Elhanan is author of Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education. International publisher I.B.TAURIS. Description: “She analyzes the presentation of images, maps, layouts and use of language in History, Geography and Civic Studies textbooks, and reveals how the books might be seen to marginalize Palestinians, legitimize Israeli military action and reinforce Jewish-Israeli territorial identity. This book provides a fresh scholarly contribution to the Israeli-Palestinian debate, and will be relevant to the fields of Middle East Studies and Politics more widely.”)
PissedOffAmerican, August 7, 2011
But of course. This makes the transition from little adolescent bigots to full fledged teenage “Netanyahu Youth”, goose-stepping their way into performing evictions all that much easier.
Ya gotta start ‘em young to nurture the proper mindset and hatred. Flooding your neighbor’s property with your raw sewage, and shitting in their homes and appliances is not a behaviour that comes naturally. It takes special training to create the model Israeli citizen
annie August 9, 2011
this sounds like a ground breaking study. hats off to Nurit Peled-Elhanan and thank you very much Omar Barghouti for bringing us this important info and for everything else you do.
Keith August 9, 2011
ANNIE- While the study is certainly a welcome confirmation of known existing conditions, I don’t know that I would characterize it as ground breaking. Much of what is confirmed is fairly well known even if denied by Mondo Zionists. In his 2004 book “Towards an Open Tomb,” Michel Warschawski notes:
“When he formed his new government Ariel Sharon was prepared to let the Labor Party have foreign affairs and defense, but not education. He gave this ministry to Limor Livnat, one of the leaders of Likud’s right wing.
In the space of a few months Livnat carried out a thorough housecleaning of the school system. Under the motto, ‘More Zionism, more Bible,’ she reorganized the curriculum and scrubbed all ‘defeatist’ odors out of the manuals for history and civics instruction. In particular she banned the history books that the Rabin government had introduced a decade earlier, in which the ‘new historians’ influence was detectable, and eliminated the courses on peace and democracy.”
The goal was the ‘reeducation of Israeli society, which (had) acquired a taste for peace, security, prosperity, and the beginnings of normality during the last two decades.’ Therefore, Israeli society was re-indoctrinated with the fighting spirit of Zionism circa 1948 to maintain its status as a warfare state, the Middle East Sparta. This is, of course, consistent with the roots of “blood and soil” Zionism.
Interview with Nurit Peled Elhanan
“Peled-Elhanan, a professor of language and education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has studied the content of Israeli school books for the past five years, and her account, Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education, is to be published in the UK this month. She describes what she found as racism– but, more than that, a racism that prepares young Israelis for their compulsory military service.
“People don’t really know what their children are reading in textbooks,” she said. “One question that bothers many people is how do you explain the cruel behaviour of Israeli soldiers towards Palestinians, an indifference to human suffering, the inflicting of suffering. People ask how can these nice Jewish boys and girls become monsters once they put on a uniform. I think the major reason for that is education. So I wanted to see how school books represent Palestinians.”
In “hundreds and hundreds” of books, she claims she did not find one photograph that depicted an Arab as a “normal person”. The most important finding in the books she studied – all authorised by the ministry of education – concerned the historical narrative of events in 1948, the year in which Israel fought a war to establish itself as an independent state, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled the ensuing conflict.
The killing of Palestinians is depicted as something that was necessary for the survival of the nascent Jewish state, she claims.”