Dissenters on Panel Blast Study Claiming Palestinian Textbooks Don't Vilify Jews

Prof Calls Report 'Premature,' Others Blindsided By Release

Blindsided: Some members of an advisory panel say they were taken aback by the release of a report that cleared Palestinian authorities of using textbooks to encourage hatred of Jews or Israel.
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Blindsided: Some members of an advisory panel say they were taken aback by the release of a report that cleared Palestinian authorities of using textbooks to encourage hatred of Jews or Israel.

By Nathan Jeffay

Published February 04, 2013.
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Controversy quickly engulfed a new study that said Palestinian textbooks do not incite hatred for Jews with Israel blasting the report — with some members of the report’s advisory panel claiming they were blindsided by its release.

Bar Ilan University Talmud professor Daniel Sperber, a member of the panel, slammed the decision to release the report when Israeli-Palestinian relations are strained and when Israel is in-between governments. “These are tense times in the Middle East and the idea [of the study] was not to increase tensions,” he told the Forward.

He added that the release was “premature” and that some of the steps that were supposed to be completed before the information went public were not. Sperber, who was among the advisory panel members who said they didn’t receive the report, also suggested that as far as the methodology of the report is concerned “considerable areas [are] certainly problematic”

Several other panel members said they had not seen the study, and were shocked to read about its release.

Jerusalem reacted furiously to a U.S.-funded study on Israeli and Palestinian textbooks, which was made public this morning.

The study cleared the Palestinians of demonizing Jews in school textbooks and contends that both Israeli and Palestinian teachers use classroom materials that distort the history of the Middle East conflict.

A statement from Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry claimed that the study’s “approach methodology and findings are highly problematic and strongly misleading.” It claimed that the study “omits important examples of incitement and delegitimization found in official PA textbooks” and that it “provides a highly-distorted depiction of the PA’s systematic efforts to educate and indoctrinate Palestinian children to hate, violence and non-acceptance of Israel’s existence.”

The Education Ministry denounced the findings in a press release, calling the study “biased, unprofessional and significantly lacking in objectivity,” adding: “The attempt to create a parallel between the Israeli education system and the Palestinian education system is completely unfounded and lacks any basis in reality.” The ministry claimed that the results of the study showed that “the decision not to cooperate with [it] was correct.”


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