Photo: AP
What is happening in the Palestinian educational system is alarming. A school in Ramallah (archives)
Photo: AP
Ben-Dror Yemini

Just another anti-Israel educational conference

Op-ed: When bodies like the Education International World Congress start treating the Palestinians as equal people who should be criticized for incitement, the chance for reconciliation and a compromise will be much bigger.

The Education International 7th World Congress opened in Ottawa, Canada on Monday, and like in almost every congress of this kind, some of the discussions – and sometimes the main discussions – aren't dealing with education, but with incitement against one country in the world: Israel, who else?



These bodies have an automatic majority of dark countries. And the darker they are, the more blatant their anti-Israel sentiments. The only meaning of the "rights discourse" in these kinds of congresses is to throw false accusations at Israel. And so, representatives of educational systems and teachers' organizations, who are in charge of obeying oppressive regimes, unite to preach morals to a state which also has school principals who are radical left-wing activists.


The problem is that dark countries are not the only ones raising dark proposals. The English representatives, for example, also raised a radical anti-Israel proposal.


As part of the preliminary discussions, the Israeli Teachers Union succeeded in removing some of the hostile clauses, and it should be praised for that, but it turns out that the proposal which will be submitted to the congress will include, for example, a clause stating that "the continued Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the existence of illegal Israeli settlements there and their impact on the lives of Palestinians, including access to water along with the siege of Gaza, impose severe constraints on the potential for Palestinian economic and social development."


As opposed to media reports, the Israeli Teachers Union says it did not agree to the settlement clause.


Palestinian schoolchildren. Ignoring incitement rewards incitement (Archive photo: AFP)
Palestinian schoolchildren. Ignoring incitement rewards incitement (Archive photo: AFP)


The Israeli Teachers Organization, which is also participating in the conference, adopted a different method – offense rather than defense. It asked the Palestinian Media Watch organization to prepare factual background material on the Palestinian educational system.


There is no need to be alarmed by every imam in an unknown mosque, who includes anti-Semitic calls in his sermons, but we should be alarmed by what is happening in the Palestinian Authority's educational system. It includes statements which turn the Jews into "the most despicable creatures on the planet," which declare that "Muslims must wage an eternal war against Israel," that "Israel will disappear and Palestine will be established in its place," and that "the Jews are the sons of apes and pigs."


In Israel, on the other hand, the educational system is making an effort to turn the Arab and the Muslim into an equal person worthy of respect.


It should be stressed that not all schools in the PA take part in the incitement against Israelis or Zionists. But children's television programs, textbooks and what are supposed to be educational activities include laudation of Jews' murderers and incitement against Israel's existence.


The PA has promised in the past few decades, again and again, that these motifs will be removed from the educational systems, but very little has actually been done. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he is against violence. That's an important statement. But the educational system he is responsible for sometimes runs an indoctrination which praises and encourages terror and violence.


These are the facts, and they must not be concealed or covered up. They should be presented in all their severity to the Education World Congress.


The Palestinians' problem is not Israel. Their problem is incitement and brainwashing, which only drive the Palestinian public in general, and the young ones in particular, away from accepting a decent compromise which will allow Palestinian prosperity. Israel and the settlement enterprise should and can be criticized, but not through false claims and not through incitement.


On the day international bodies, like the Education World Congress, start treating Muslims in general, and Palestinians in particular, as equal people who should be criticized for incitement instead of ignoring it or justifying the nurture of hatred, the chance for reconciliation and a compromise will be much bigger.


Education for peace is definitely important, but ignoring incitement rewards incitement.


פרסום ראשון: 07.22.15, 10:53
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