UPDATES 7 pm Israel time Wednesday:
**Heavy rains continue in Israel. The area around Eilat has been particularly hard hit with severe storms this afternoon. The international airport in the city was temporarily closed due to hail and flooding.
**Ahmadinejad continues visiting Cairo–with two interesting declarations today. First, Ahmadinejad asserted that Iran already has nuclear capability but “is not interested” in attacking “the Zionist entity”. Second, the Iranian president told Mahmoud Abbas in a meeting that Iran will “annihilate the Zionist entity” if it attacks any Muslim country.
**In a pathetic aside, Ahmadinejad revealed the depths of the Iranian Jewish obsession as he virtually read a page out of the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion: “Zionists are playing a special role in deceiving the world and they know what they are doing in the US and Europe. They are taking over the places of wealth, money, and politics in deceiving the world and strive to dominate all of these sectors through the destruction of cultures, economies, and wars.”
**In a humorous aside, Abbas committed a huge gaffe while attempting to thank President Morsi for supporting the Palestinian cause. He referred to “Morsi” as “Hosni” much to the dismay of the Egyptians.
**So much for the Tunisian Arab Spring. This morning Shokri Belaid, the main opposition leader to the Islamist party now in control of the country, was assassinated as he stepped outside of his home.
Today we have the final installment of the Israeli-Palestinian textbook caper. If you recall from yesterday’s blog, a long-awaited report entitled titled “Victims of Our Own Narratives? Portrayal of the ‘Other’ in Israeli and Palestinian School Books” was published on Monday by the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land. The report purports to show that Palestinian and Israeli textbooks are “equally bad: in portraying “the other”.
As this blog pointed out yesterday, the report is the product of extreme bias against Israel. Its main author, Bruce Wexler of Yale, and its main researchers, Daniel Bar-Tal of Tel Aviv University and Sami Adwan of Bethlehem University have all demonstrated an acute animus against Zionism.
The fact that the research project was funded by a U.S. State Department grant from money that was supposed to be allotted to research about “religious freedom” is also egregiously appalling.
Today, your humble servant wants to focus briefly on the project’s methodology and actual findings.
In the first place, there was an extraordinary attempt to “dig up” something negative in the Israeli textbooks. Out of 627 total books examined, 486 were Israeli.
Bar-Tal and Adwan hired another research team of six bilingual people–three Jewish Israelis and three Palestinians to review the books. Of course, these sub-researchers reflected the same extreme anti-Israel, anti-Zionist bias of Bar-Tal and Adwan.
To “avoid researcher bias”, half of the books were analyzed twice before being logged into a computer program. Obviously this was a meaningless exercise since the primary researchers were so biased to begin with.
To have listened to the report findings on Monday, one would have thought that the Israeli textbooks incited Israeli schoolchildren to hate Palestinians–hence numerous headlines around the world proclaiming the same.
However, when one looks at what the researchers actually found, despite their bias, one is left scratching one’s head. It turns out that neutral depictions of Palestinians were discovered in 40% of Israeli textbooks, but that neutral depictions of Israelis were found in only 15% of Palestinian textbooks (your humble servant wonders how far researchers had to stretch the term “neutral” to find even that 15%).
Buried in the report was also the “discovery” that Israeli textbooks are more “self-critical” of Israel than Palestinian textbooks are “self-critical” of “Palestine.” And by the way, the report discovered that “the negative presentation of the other, the positive, noncritical presentation of the self, and the absence of images and information about the other, are more pronounced in Israeli ultra-Orthodox and Palestinian school books than in Israeli state school books.”
In short, textbooks used in Israeli public schools present information in a substantially more objective way than textbooks used by Israeli ultra-orthodox and textbooks used by the Palestinian public school system.
The reactions to the report have been interesting to say the least.
For example, Victoria Nuland of the U.S. State department went to great lengths on Monday to disavow any connection to the study: “We don’t get ourselves in the middle. The United States pays for scores of such studies around the world, but doesn’t necessarily take any view of the outcome. We haven’t done an independent analysis of this report ourselves. . . The study itself was undertaken by an NGO, not by us, called A Different Future, and it was partnered with the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land in doing this study. . .we’re not taking a position one way or another on what the study found.”
Even some members of the Scientific Advisory Panel, appointed by Professor Wexler himself, took Wexler to task for not submitting the final report to the Panel for review and critique before publishing it.
So what are we left with?
A study undertaken by a group of researchers with expressed antagonism to the present Israeli government and to Zionism in general; a methodology that was deeply flawed; and a result that is unclaimed by even the funder of the project.
A daily feature of this blog is the recognition of those of you who support Israel by donating to this website. Each month, your humble servant (or his son) places each name on this wall of support into the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Today we welcome 4 new flags on our wall: Denzel of Dublin, Ireland; Yuko of Osaka, Japan; Josiah T of Auckland, New Zealand; and Yaron L. of Herzliya, Israel.
To have your own Israeli flag, simply follow two steps:
Step 2: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
What you want on your flag: