Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.
A new study funded by the U.S. State Dept. unsurprisingly concludes that both Israel and the Palestinian Authority textbooks ignore the other side even though it admits that Israeli textbooks tell their students more about the Palestinian Authority and are more self-critical.
A PA education ministry official, Jihad Zarkarneh, blamed Israel for Arab textbooks being negative. He reasoned that it is impossible to have a positive view of Israel so long as the “occupation” continues.
Israeli officials dismissed the claims that the PA texts do not incite hatred and incitement, according to the Associated Press.
“On both sides, the chief problem is the crime of omission. It’s the absence of a clear, outright recognition of existence and the other side’s right to exist,” said Gershon Baskin, an Israeli member of the study’s scientific advisory panel.
The coverage of Israeli schools included those in the Haredi community, which were cited for almost totally ignoring the Palestinian Authority. The researchers apparently did not understand that the same schools also teach a limited curriculum on Israeli civic affairs.
The study did not equate Palestinian Authority school maps’ denial that the State of Israel exists, with the exception of three books, with incitement.
On the Israeli side, 24 percent of the maps that were studied showed wither the Palestinian Authority or an area with different colors from those of the rest of Israel.
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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