Behind a Jon Donnison recommended article

Readers may remember that back at the beginning of February the BBC Jerusalem Bureau’s Jon Donnison recommended to his Twitter followers an “interesting” New York Times article headlined  “Academic Study Weakens Israeli Claim That Palestinian School Texts Teach Hate”. 

Writing in the latest edition of The Tower, Adi Schwartz takes a closer look at the content of the report upon which that NYT article was based.

“Almost every major news outlet zeroed in on the report’s finding of mutual culpability, producing headlines like the AP’s “Textbook study faults Israelis and Palestinians.” A more clearly political presentation of the study was found in the New York Times headline: “Academic Study Weakens Israeli Claim that Palestinian School Texts Teach Hate.” ” […]

“What I found isn’t pretty. The report is not only flawed, but also dishonest. It systematically exaggerates the faults in Israeli textbooks and downplays those found in the Palestinians’. Its methodology tends to distort the raw data rather than analyze it, usually to the detriment of the Israeli education system. Put simply, it makes every possible effort to create the impression that Israeli and Palestinian attitudes toward each other are the same, even when this is demonstrably untrue—according to the study’s own research data. It is no surprise that the State Department, which funded the study in its early phases, has endorsed neither the composition of the committee nor the report’s findings.”

Read the whole article here

One comment on “Behind a Jon Donnison recommended article

  1. The likelihood of a US report on these text-books being a fair reflection on their content is practically zero. Furthermore, from a quick look of the information available in the report, I’d have said there was far more propaganda in the Israeli books than the Palestinians.

    For instance, the 1st Israeli example is plainly untrue: “Since its establishment, the State of Israel sought to make peace with its neighbors, the Arab countries, through Israeli-Arab negotiations. Its efforts, however, have failed in the first thirty years of Israel’s existence …

    Whereas the 1st Palestinian example (supposedly equivalent) is biased but essentially true: “The conference reaffirmed again that the Zionist occupation and its usurpation of Palestine and its people’s rights comprise the core of the conflict in the Middle East” …

    The 2nd Israeli example strikes me as of quite limited historical value: Referring to a 1941 pogrom in Iraq: “On the holiday of Shavuot, Arabs attacked Jews and murdered them, including women and children…. The slaughter of the Jews of Bagdad continued for two days without interruption”

    While the 2nd Palestinian example contains a rather pointless lie but is far more to the point: “…facilitating Jewish migration to Palestine to turn it into a Jewish state after evacuating or exterminating its people, and before this Zionist, imperialist plan… The struggle with the Mandate government and Zionism continued until the Nakba (Catastrophe) took place in 1948… The Palestine war ended with a disaster of which history had not seen the like [untrue]

    Reported on Mondoweiss, Israelis do not learn of the Nakba; it’s not even a term used in their K-12 textbooks; it had recently [pre-2009] been banned in Arab Israeli textbooks.

    I’d imagine there were much bigger problems in the Israeli textbooks, no matter how the US tries to fudge the issue.

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