Taking moral relativism to immoral heights
As soon as the findings of a three-year study on Palestinian and Israeli textbooks were released on Monday, it became clear why the powers that be in Ramallah were as pleased as punch. In one fell swoop, decades’ worth of proof that Palestinian children are taught to deny the existence of the State of Israel and to commit jihad against the Jews was erased.
The study was initiated by the Council of Religious Institutions in the Holy Land, funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and conducted by political psychologist Daniel Bar-Tal of Tel Aviv University, director and cofounder of the Peace Research Institute in the Middle East Sami Adwan of Bethlehem University, and professor of psychiatry Bruce Wexler of Yale University.
Given the title of the study (“Victims of our own narratives?”), one need not have waited three years to read the conclusions of the “experts” whose goal is achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians through education. Indeed, as its name suggests, the study finds that, while neither Israel nor the Palestinians are guilty of “dehumanizing and demonizing characterizations of the other,” each side presents “the other as a violent enemy bent on destroying or dominating the self-community …”
One example of the latter is that Israeli textbooks depict Palestinians “negatively” by linking them to the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. (How this particular piece of history could be portrayed otherwise without rewriting it is beyond me.)
It is no wonder, then, that the Israeli Education Ministry decided not to cooperate in the study at its outset and now denounces its outcome. Just like the infamous 2009 Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, the Israeli government realized that this was going to be yet another “balanced” document equating the democratic Jewish state with its hostile counterparts.
Nor is it entirely surprising, as was reported in the Jerusalem Post, that many members of the Scientific Advisory Panel set up to review the study, and the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land, say they were not shown final drafts of the document prior to the press conference announcing its release.