This is a cross-post from Just Journalism’s blog The Wire.
Comment is free’s latest Middle East instalment incorrectly claims that Palestinian Authority schools use a pluralistic text book banned in Israeli schools.
‘Learning the Historical Narrative of the Other’ offers both Israeli and Palestinian perspectives on the foundation of the State of Israel.
Daphna Baram says:
‘The current administration in the Israeli ministry of education, headed by the Likud minister Gideon Sa’ar, was less than sympathetic to this liberal endeavour. The book was not authorised for use in schools and the staff of schools that decided to use it were admonished.’
She later links to a Haaretz report, published on 11 October which reported that the Palestinian Authority was allowing the book to be used in its schools:
‘In this sense, Sa’ar is struggling to shut the barns doors after the horses are already out and roaming all over the field. One cannot indoctrinate a generation using North Korean methods when the world is wide open to them. In Palestinian Authority schools, by the way, the book is being used.’
However, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education publicly denied allowing use of the book on the same day, as reported by the Ma’an News Agency.
The Ma’an News Agency article has been brought to Daphna Baram’s attention. On the Cif comment thread she says:
I’m looking into the Maan report and will update hwen I have a conclusive answer. However, the question whether the PA is using it or not is marginal to the story. Knowing the Palestinian narrative is in the interest of Israelis. The Israelis are the ones with their hand on the palestinian lifelines, and the Palestinians are the ones fighting a war of liberation. Comparing between Israel and the PA as if their were equal sides in a war is ludicrous. That said, if indeed the PA banned the book – I will let you know shortly.
The standfirst of Baram’s Cif piece is ‘A row over a textbook that tells both sides of Israeli-Palestinian history shows a shift in some Israelis’ thinking – but not others’.
She since announced:
Off to lunch, will aspire to be back later afternoon.