Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Nurit Peled-Elhanan: Biased new study skirts around racism in Israeli school books

Mention of Israeli colonization in Palestinian textbooks was faulted in biased study.

A new report on Palestinian and Israeli school books has elicited much debate (“Israel shoots back: ‘Look beyond the textbooks,’” The Times of Israel, 6 February).
The report — by academics in Tel Aviv, Bethlehem and the American university Yale — is short. Yet it raises some poignant questions (“Victims of our own narratives? Portrayal of the other in Israeli and Palestinian school books,” Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land, 4 February [PDF]).
Israeli educators who hastened to pronounce it biased were quite right. Such a study cannot be symmetrical, for it examines two education systems, one of which is entirely subjugated to the other. A reminder of this situation is found in the introduction of the report. It notes that the Wye River Memorandum — signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 1998 — included an “explicit statement about incitement.”
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