Harriet Sherwood finds her favorite kind of Israeli – the anti-Zionist variety

How many ways can the Guardian legitimize the defamation that Zionism is Racism?

The infamous UN Resolution (3379), passed in 1975, claiming that Zionism is an inherent form of Racism may have been repealed in 1991 but the ideological influence of the notorious document – inspired by a cynical alliance between Arab and Soviet-Bloc states – clearly lives on in the ideological orientation of Guardian editors, commentators, and reporters.

In the past week alone, they’ve posted essays and reports which have advanced, or at least legitimized, characterizations of the Jewish state as “colonial”, “apartheid”, “racialist”, “exclusivist, and supremacist, and provided a platform to an extremist who is on record morally justifying the murder of innocent Israeli teenagers and expressing enthusiasm at the prospect of Iranian nuclear weapons raining down on Israel.

Most recently, the paper’s Jerusalem correspondent, Harriet Sherwood, was able to find, and uncritically quote, an Israeli academic characterizing Israel as a “supremacist” state which treats Palestinians as slaves.

The remark was made by Nurit Peled-Elhanan, in Academic claims Israeli school textbooks contain bias (Guardian, Aug. 7th), about incitement in school textbooks in the region.

Peled-Elhanan, during the course of explaining to Sherwood that the biggest problem in the region in not, as most believe, the PA Education System’s systematic inculcation of their students with hostility towards Israel but, rather, Israel’s racist depiction of Arabs, is quoted as explaining suicide bombing as “the direct consequence of the oppression, slavery, humiliation and state of siege imposed on the Palestinians.”

Sherwood’s Israeli academic also supports the academic boycott against Israel, supports the “Right of Return” of Palestinians to Israel and has called the Jewish state immutably racist– that is, racist by its very definition.

In other words, she’s the Guardian’s favorite kind of Israeli: citizens of the state who revel in leveling the most incendiary, baseless charges to the Western left – often to the point of denying their own nation’s very moral legitimacy.

What Peled-Elhanan tells Sherwood about the issue of incitement in textbooks, it turns out, is quite similar to what she told Kelly James Clark in an interview posted at Israel-Academia Monitor, that “Israeli text books are using stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims that incite Israelis to war and wanton murder of Palestinian.”

When challenged by Clark, all Peled-Elhanan could provide was the allegation that Palestinians are never portrayed as a doctor or teacher, only, she claims, racist icons.  When pressed to cite examples of such “racist icons”, Peled-Elhanan could only cite two: one cartoon displaying an Arab riding a camel and another as a primitive farmer.

And, in her interview with Sherwood, other than broad charges that Israelis are inculcated with the belief that Palestinians are people “whose life is dispensable with impunity”, there is no specific example provided, nor a source cited and, most remarkably, Peled-Elhanan denies to Sherwood (as she did to Clark) that Palestinian textbooks promote hate, intolerance, and violence:

“Asked if Palestinian school books also reflect a certain dogma, Peled-Elhanan claims that they distinguish between Zionists and Jews. “They make this distinction all the time. They are against Zionists, not against Jews.” [emphasis mine]

So, we should no doubt take comfort that Palestinians don’t inculcate their children with hatred for Jews, merely against the more than six million Israeli (Zionist) Jews and, presumably, their supporters abroad.

Indeed, had Sherwood attempted to check the veracity of claims made the radical academic, she may have come across a detailed research by The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE), – an organization which reviews textbooks from Israel, the Arab world and Iran.

IMPACT-SE just unveiled its 2011 report on PA school textbooks, at a press conference in Jerusalem which Sherwood must have missed, which reviewed 118 textbooks currently used in Palestinian schools – 71 of which are for students in grades one through 12, and 25 that are taught in religious schools in the West Bank and issued by the PA Ministry of Wakf and Religious Affairs.

Among their findings:

  • There is generally a total denial of the existence of Israel…in geography textbooks, Israel usually does not appear in maps of the Middle East, instead “Palestine” is shown to encompass Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Jaffa is also shown on maps of Palestine, but Tel Aviv and other predominantly Jewish cities, such as Ramat Gan, kibbutzim and moshavim, are not displayed.
  • Palestinian textbooks include many references to martyrdom, death, jihad and refugees returning to cities and towns in Israel – and frequently demonize Israelis and Jews
  • Other textbooks told students that “the rank of shahid stands above all ranks,” and included a Muslim hadith about the destruction of Jews by Muslims on the day of the resurrection, which also appears in the Hamas charter.

Peled-Elhanan, during the course of being interviewed by Clark at Israel-Academic Monitor, when asked about such incitement, dismissed it thusly:

“Palestinian education cannot be racist because it is so controlled and monitored by the world, even if they wanted to.”

What precisely such an argument even means is impossible to discern.

But, as Clark said about his interview with Peled-Elhanan:

“Even by the standard of critical scholarship, Peled-Elhanan writings stand out as an extreme example of using scholarship to support a political agenda.”

And, even by the standards of the Guardian, the degree and volume of hate directed against Israel, which has been published and legitimized in the paper over the past week, standout as an extreme example of using the veneer of journalism to support an extreme ideological agenda.

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