Three stories of note today.
Pervasive racism infects Israeli schoolbooks
First, a stunning account of racism in Israeli schools from Harriet Sherwood of The Observer:
Nurit Peled-Elhanan, an Israeli academic, mother and political radical, summons up an image of rows of Jewish schoolchildren, bent over their books, learning about their neighbours, the Palestinians. But, she says, they are never referred to as Palestinians unless the context is terrorism.
They are called Arabs. “The Arab with a camel, in an Ali Baba dress. They describe them as vile and deviant and criminal, people who don’t pay taxes, people who live off the state, people who don’t want to develop,” she says. “The only representation is as refugees, primitive farmers and terrorists. You never see a Palestinian child or doctor or teacher or engineer or modern farmer.”
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.
We urge you to read the rest.
What makes Peled-Elhanan’s advocacy for tolerance especially compelling are two facts from her own unique personal history:
- First, she’s the daughter of a famous Israeli general.
- Second, and most relevant, her only daughter was killed in 1997 by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem.
Does pervasive racism infect Israeli courts?
Our second story comes from Haaretz reporter Tomer Zarchin. Here’s the opener:
Arab Israelis who have been charged with certain types of crime are more likely than their Jewish counterparts to be convicted, and once convicted they are more likely to be sent to prison, and for a longer time. These disparities were found in a recent statistical study commissioned by Israel’s Courts Administration and the Israel Bar Association.
The study found that 48.3 percent of Arabs who were convicted of violence, property crimes or drug or weapons offenses received custodial sentences, compared to 33.6 percent for Jews. The average prison sentence was nine and a half months for Jews and 14 months for Arabs.
Haaretz qualifies the findings, noting that other factors might account for much of the gap. But we suspect that racism plays the most significant role, given the harsh findings about our own criminal justice [sic] system, where an endless amount of academic research in the United States has documented that African Americans are victims of similar sentencing and conviction disparities.
And given the portrayals of Arabs in Israeli schoolbooks, we’d be surprised if there weren’t disparities.
Jerusalem Post apologizes to Norway
Just as American bloggers and hardline Zionists delighted in blaming Norway for the murders carried out by Anders Behring Breivik, so too did the editorial writers and columnists at the hardline conservative Jerusalem Post.
And now they’ve been forced to apologize, declaring in a lead editorial that the Post scribes “hope that the Norwegian government and people will accept the Post’s apology and forgive us for any offense or hurt caused by our editorial and columnists at this sensitive time.”
An op-ed by Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide notes some of the Post’s more egregious rants, including this:
Many Norwegians. . .have been astonished by assertions recently made in The Jerusalem Post by two of its regular columnists, Barry Rubin and Caroline Glick.
For example, Barry Rubin wrote on Monday that “…the youth camp he attacked was engaged in what was essentially… a pro-terrorist program.”
According to Rubin, the camp was “justifying forces that had committed terrorism against Israel” by advocating an end to the blockade of Gaza and recognition of a Palestinian state.
Rubin even implicitly blamed Norway’s Middle East policy for the attacks in Norway. He wrote, “If terrorist murders by Hamas and Islamists did not stop well-intentioned future leaders of Norway from considering them heroic underdogs, an evil local man could think his act of terrorism would gain sympathy and change Europe’s politics.”
This was, Rubin claimed, an example of the “Oslo Syndrome” whereby rewarding terrorists with political gains promotes more terrorism.