Palestinian Textbooks Don't Vilify Jews, New Study Reveals

U.S.-Funded Report Says Both Sides Distort History

Reading, Writing, but No Demonizing: Do Palestinians learn to dehumanize Israelis from school textbooks? A new State Department-funded study says no — but accuses both sides of distorting history.
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Reading, Writing, but No Demonizing: Do Palestinians learn to dehumanize Israelis from school textbooks? A new State Department-funded study says no — but accuses both sides of distorting history.

By Naomi Zeveloff

Published February 04, 2013.
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Wexler’s study was co-led by professors Sami Adwan of Bethlehem University and Daniel Bar Tal of Tel Aviv University. Eight bilingual researchers, half of them Israeli and half Palestinian conducted the survey over a period of three years. To avoid researcher bias, two-thirds of the Israeli books were analyzed by Israelis and the rest were analyzed by Palestinians. The Palestinian books were also analyzed by both Palestinians and Israelis.

In order to analyze the books, the researchers isolated 3,000 units of data found within — poems, stories, photographs and illustrations. The researchers then looked at how the unit dealt with certain topics, and to what degree.

The study urges both school systems to assess their textbooks in light of the findings, and to consider, as a first step, adding more information about the other side in order to humanize it.

Contact Naomi Zeveloff at Zeveloff@forward.com or on Twitter @NaomiZeveloff


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