Saturday, July 09, 2005
Executive Summary of CMIP report on PA textbooks: don't meet international standards
This is the fifth in a series of surveys by the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (CMIP) on the new school textbooks published by the Palestinian Authority (PA) as part of the general project that began in 2000 ...The findings are as follows:
· Though Christianity and Judaism are presented as Heavenly religions like Islam, very little is taught about them in the textbooks ...Islam and the Muslims are portrayed as superior to all other religions and their respective followers. ...
· The Jews are hardly mentioned in historical contexts .... At the same time, the Canaanites, and all other ancient nations in the region, are presented as Arab nations, the forebears of the Arabs, including the Palestinians, of today.
· ... Zionism is depicted as a racist movement with a strong connection to Western Imperialism. Moreover, the infamous "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" are treated as a historical document, said to constitute an integral part of Zionism, and described as the confidential resolutions of the first Zionist congress.
· As in earlier school books published by the PA, there is no recognition of any Jewish holy place as such.
· Similarly, Israel is not recognized as a sovereign state. Its name does not appear on any of the maps where, in some cases, the name "Palestine" appears instead. ... Regions, sites and cities within pre-1967 Israel are described as Palestinian ....
· Israel's image is wholly negative: It has been an occupying entity since 1948, exclusively responsible for the Palestinian Catastrophe of that year and the source of violence. Israel shells schools, arrests and tortures people, demolishes Palestinian houses, blocks roads, oppresses the Palestinians - including by means of the "racist annexation and separation wall", steals Palestinian land and water, strives to destroy Muslim and Christian holy places, tries to impoverish the Palestinians and destroy their agriculture and economy, maltreats its own Palestinian citizens, etc. .....
· The presentation of the conflict is biased. Israel is made exclusively responsible for the 1948 war and the ensuing refugee problem, and there is no mention of any Arab responsibility...A new line of argument appears in this latest issue of textbooks: the religious importance of Palestine to Muslims and Christians is given a political meaning within the conflict....
· As regards the 1948 refugee problem - besides Israel's exclusive responsibility for its creation, the textbooks emphasize the refugees' miserable living conditions in camps and their determination to return to their former homes within today's Israel.
· The struggle for liberation, though referred to less in these latest textbooks, still exists. But, unlike the earlier textbooks, areas and sites within pre-1967 Israel are not mentioned in this context (though it should be remembered that, according to the textbooks, Israeli occupation
began in 1948 not in 1967, and Israeli sites and cities are regarded as Palestinian).
· The city of Jerusalem is portrayed as exclusively Arab. Nothing is said about the strong connection of the Jews to the city historically and at present, both religiously and nationally. The facts that the Jews constitute the absolute majority in the city today, and have done so for some 120 years, and that it serves as Israel's capital are ignored. Jewish holy places there are not mentioned as such. Rather, it is said that Jerusalem is facing Israeli attempts at Judaization.
· Tolerance is an ideal taught in the PA schools, mainly from an Islamic perspective. The present conflict and the Jews, however, are not mentioned within that context, save for a brief sentence in a Christian Education textbook that implies tolerance toward Israelis.....
· Peace with Israel is never mentioned, let alone encouraged. Indeed there is at least one text that holds out the hope of final victory and the disappearance of the Israelis as such from the region. The Oslo Accord of 1993 is now presented as part of the violent struggle against Israel and inserted between the two Intifadhas of 1987 and 2000.
· Instead, there are several favorable references to war and power, enhanced by the glorification of Jihad and martyrdom.
· As before, terror against Israel is not mentioned. But there are positive references to martyrs" and "prisoners-of-war" within the context of the struggle against Israel.
· This latest issue of textbooks includes much more objective information about Western history and civilization than before...There are other cases that betray a non-sympathetic attitude to the West, such as the ...the portrayal of Western knowledge as potentially harmful to Islam.
In summary, the above findings ...indicate only too clearly that this latest issue of PA textbooks too does not meet international standards as far as the attitude to the "other" and to peace is concerned. ....The PA project of school textbook publishing has not contributed, and still does not contribute, to peace and reconciliation with Israel....
The multiple, simultaneous explosions that took place today on the London transportation system were the work of perpetrators who had an operational capacity of considerable scope. They have come a long way since the two attacks of the year 1998 against the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar-Es-Salaam, and the aircraft actions of September 11, 2001.
There was careful planning, intelligence gathering, and a sophisticated choice of timing as well as near-perfect execution. We are faced with a deadly and determined adversary who will stop at nothing and will persevere as long as he exists as a fighting terrorist force.
One historical irony: I doubt whether the planners knew that one of the target areas, that in Russell Square, was within a stone's throw of a building that served as the first headquarters of the World Zionist Organization that preceded the State of Israel.
....We are in the throes of a world war, raging over the entire globe and characterized by the absence of lines of conflict and an easily identifiable enemy. There are sometimes long pauses between one attack and another, consequently creating the wrong impression that the battle is all over, or at least in the process of being won.
Generally speaking, the populations at large are not involved in the conflict, and by and large play the role of bystanders. But once in a while, these innocents are caught up in the maelstrom and suffer the most cruel and wicked of punishments meted out by those who are not bound by any rules of conduct or any norms of structured society. For a while, too short a while, we are engrossed with the sheer horror of what we see and hear, but, with the passage of time, our memories fade and we return to our daily lives, forgetting that the war is still raging out there and more strikes are sure to follow.
....There will be supreme tests of leadership in this unique situation and people will have to trust the wisdom and good judgment of those chosen to govern them. The executives must be empowered to act resolutely and to take every measure necessary to protect the citizens of their country and to carry the combat into whatever territory the perpetrators and their temporal and spiritual leaders are inhabiting.
The rules of combat must be rapidly adjusted to cater to the necessities of this new and unprecedented situation, and international law must be rewritten in such a way as to permit civilization to defend itself. Anything short of this invites disaster and must not be allowed to happen.
The aim of the enemy is not to defeat western civilization but to destroy its sources of power and existence, and to render it a relic of the past. It does not seek a territorial victory or a regime change; it wants to turn western civilization into history and will stop at nothing less than that.
It will show no mercy or compassion and no appreciation for these noble values when practiced by us. This does not mean that we can or should assume the norms of our adversaries, nor that we should act indiscriminately. It does mean that the only way to ensure our safety and security will be to obtain the destruction, the complete destruction, of the enemy.
......In the past, governments have been expected to provide security to their citizens. The responsibility is still there, in principle. But in practice, no government today can provide an effective 'suit of protection' for the ordinary citizen. There can be no protection for every bus, every train, every street, every square. In these times the ordinary citizen must be vigilant and must make his personal contribution to the war effort. Private enterprise will have to supplement the national effort in many walks of life.
The writer, who heads the Center for Strategic and Policy Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, is a former head of the Mossad.
Friday, July 08, 2005
With the start of disengagement of Israel from Gaza less than six weeks away, the differences between the Israeli and Palestinian Authority approaches could hardly be any greater.
On the Israeli side, the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is carefully preparing for Aug. 15 -- the day it will begin to remove 8,500 men, women and children from 21 settlements in Gaza and more than 500 from four settlements in the northern West Bank.
To bolster the sagging fortunes of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Mr. Sharon, who transferred the West Bank cities of Jericho and Tulkarm to Palestinian security control in the spring, wants to do that in Bethlehem, Ramallah and Qalqilya before the withdrawal begins.
On the Palestinian side, for all of Mr. Abbas' stated good intentions about making peace with Israel, he hasn't done much.
Palestinian security forces remain in disarray. Lt. Gen. William Ward, the American soldier who four months ago was tasked with the responsibility to help the Palestinians rebuild their security forces, last week described his experience in trying to help reorganize a "dysfunctional" system of command. He told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that only about 22,000 of the 58,000 persons in the security forces actually bother to show up for work. But on paper, even 22,000 security officers should be quite capable of taking on Hamas and the other rejectionist groups.
One reason the security forces have failed so badly, Palestinian Interior Minister Nasser Youssef candidly told the Palestinian Legislative Council recently, is that they include terrorists and gangsters responsible for creating the lawlessness that has enveloped the West Bank and Gaza.
Instead of disarming terrorists, Mr. Abbas has tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade groups like Hamas to take their gunmen into his security forces. Earlier this week, Hamas rejected Mr. Abbas' offer to join his government. It has responded to his efforts to halt the anti-Israel violence by firing rockets at the Gaza settlements and Israeli towns in the Negev Desert.
Even more ominously -- both for Mr. Abbas and the Israelis -- Hamas has taken advantage of the Israeli decision taken earlier this year, to help Mr. Abbas, to refrain from offensive military operations against Hamas.
The Israel withdrawal from Gaza and the northern West Bank next month will be extraordinarily difficult. The Israeli military is bracing for an extensive campaign of civil disobedience by settlers. The terrorist attacks and threats emphasize the remarkable risks Mr. Sharon is taking to achieve historic compromise with the Palestinians.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
- Look at how much Israel gives to mankind: medical advances, agricultural invention, high-tech brilliance. Look at the value added to world culture and comfort by resourceful Israelis. But denigration and defamation are likely to nullify any positive images of Jewish generosity, creativity, and good works if misinformation is left unchallenged.
- When Chris Hedges wrote in Harper's in the fall of 2001 that Israeli soldiers in Gaza "entice [Palestinian] children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport," would those who read or heard Hedges' false charges be persuaded to like the Jewish state on the basis of learning that it leads in nanotechnology?
- When basic facts such as the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 242 are misreported to claim that Israel is required to cede the entire West Bank and Gaza, what are news consumers to think but that Israel is obstructing peace? When the terms of the so-called "road map" are continually misrepresented to cast Israel as a violator and the Palestinians as the aggrieved, what is the cumulative effect on readers?
- When Hamas and Islamic Jihad are depicted as seeking an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza rather than working to extinguish Israel, Israeli measures in self-defense appear excessive.
- There are lessons to be learned from the world of public relations, but they come from such instructive examples as the "war room" of former president Bill Clinton's election campaign. There, media coverage was monitored intensively, and every news account deemed incorrect, distorted, or incomplete was swiftly challenged.
- No less an effort is necessary in defending the facts about Israel. Just as all that is required for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing, so too, distortions and lies about Israel triumph when they go unchallenged.
The writer is executive director of CAMERA, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.
(07-05) 21:34 PDT ATLANTA, (AP) --
The United Church of Christ voted Tuesday to use 'economic leverage' to promote peace between Israel and Palestinians and to call for the dismantling of the Jewish state's security fence.
The resolutions were criticized by some Jewish leaders, who called them anti-Semitic.
...Peter Makari, the church's executive director for the Middle East and Europe, said the church remains committed to religious dialogue and participation among Jews, Christians and Muslims.
"These resolutions condemn all acts of violence on both sides and indicate a clear desire by the Synod to end violence and promote peace," Makari said.
However, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, called the resolutions "functionally anti-Semitic." He accused the UCC, which has 1.3 million members and 5,700 congregations, of holding Israel to a different moral standard.
"The UCC has disqualified itself as a legitimate partner for a just and equitable peace in the Holy Land," Cooper said.
.....The second resolution calls for the Israeli government to stop construction of the security barrier ....David Elcott, the American Jewish Committee's U.S. Director of Interreligious Affairs, criticized the measure. "We understand Christian concerns about a wall, but we believe that saving human lives is more significant than property," he said. "That wall has saved the lives of Jews, Christians and Muslims."
Saudi King Fahd is sinking. He is unconscious and hooked to a breathing machine.
Wednesday, July 6, his doctors decided to carry out a tracheotomy to help him breath.
Saudi official spokesmen claim the king is on the mend from a bout of pneumonia. But news of his deterioration spread through the oil kingdom and caused sharp drops on the Riyadh stock exchange.
(thanks to Doron for passing this on.....)
Indeed it is difficult for all other nations of the world to live in the presence of the Jews. It is irritating and most uncomfortable. The Jews embarrass the world as they have done things which are beyond the imaginable.
They have become moral strangers since the day their forefather Abraham introduced the world to high ethical standards and to the fear of Heaven. They brought the world the Ten Commandments which many nations prefer to defy.
They violated the rules of history by staying alive, totally at odds with common sense and historical evidence. They outlived all their former enemies, including vast empires such as the Romans and the Greeks.
They angered the world with their return to their homeland after 2000 years of exile and after the murder of six million of their brothers and sisters.
They aggravated mankind by building, in the wink of an eye, a democratic State which others were not able to create in even hundreds of years.
They built living monuments such as the duty to be holy and the privilege to serve one's fellow men.
They had their hands in every human progressive endeavor, whether in science, medicine, psychology or any other discipline, while totally out of proportion to their actual numbers. They gave the world the Bible and even their "savior".
Jews taught the world not to accept the world as it is but to transform it, yet only a few nations wanted to listen. Moreover, the Jews introduced the world to one God, yet only a minority wanted to draw the moral consequences. So the nations of the world realize that they would have been lost without the Jews. And while their subconscious tries to remind them of how much of Western civilization is framed in terms of concepts first articulated by the Jews, they do anything to suppress it. They deny that Jews remind them of a higher purpose of life and the need to be honorable, and do anything to escape its consequences. It is simply too much to handle for them, too embarrassing to admit, and above all too difficult to live by.
So the nations of the world decided once again to go out of its way in order to find a stick to hit the Jews. The goal: to prove that Jews are as immoral and guilty of massacre and genocide as some of themselves are. All this in order to hide and justify their own failure to even protest when six million Jews were brought to the slaughterhouses of Auschwitz and Dachau; so as to wipe out the moral conscience of which the Jews remind them.
And they found a stick.
Nothing could be more gratifying for them than to find the Jews into a struggle with another people (who are completely terrorized by their own leaders) against whom the Jews, against their best wishes, have to defend themselves in order to survive. With great satisfaction, the world allows and initiates the rewriting of history so as to fuel the rage of yet another people against the Jews. This in spite of the fact that the nations understand very well that peace between the parties could have come a long time ago, if only the Jews would have had a fair chance. Instead, they happily jumped on the wagon of hate so as to justify their jealousy of the Jews and their incompetence to deal with their own moral issues.
When Jews look at the bizarre play, taking place in The Hague (sandgroper says: and in the Presbyterian and Anglican Churches, and in so many ways.....) they can only smile as this artificial game once more proves how the world paradoxically admits the Jews uniqueness. It is in their need to undermine the Jews that they actually raise them.
The study of history of Europe during the past centuries teaches us one uniform lesson:
That the nations which received and in any way dealt fairly and mercifully with the Jew have prospered; and that the nations that have tortured and oppressed him have written out their own curse.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
As an Anglican I note with deep concern that the ...resolution ...passed unanimously at the meeting in Nottingham last week of the Anglican Consultative Council...
.....it raises all of the three basic concerns that I have about Christian Aid’s stance on the conflict.
- The singling out of Israel. Although the ACC passed other resolutions on political issues, and notably on the situation in Zimbabwe, none calls for economic pressure to be put on any other state.....In an orgy of destruction lasting just a month Robert Mugabe’s regime has left one and a half million Zimbabweans homeless, according to the UN’s estimate. Their crimes? Poverty, powerlessness and voting for the opposition. The ACC's resolution has strong words about the regime's record, but...no suggestion of disinvestment or any other form of economic pressure. And it "asks" the government to mend its ways - a courtesy not extended to Israel.
- The one-sided apportioning of blame, manifested in the assumption that only one side needs to be pressured into seeking peace and justice. Yes, there is the phrase about “violence against innocent Israelis”, but what an empty gesture of even-handedness that is – as if the C of E might have investments in companies that deal directly with Islamic Jihad! Much more to the point is that investment in “a future Palestinian state” is commended without any suggestion of its being made conditional on an end to terrorist violence.And note that, whereas the right to their land is asserted for Palestinians collectively and unconditionally, Israelis are divided into sheep and goats – the “innocent” who deserve to be spared from being blown up, and, implicitly, the guilty who don’t.
- The absence of the humility that should inform post-Holocaust Christians’ dealings with the Jewish people. Instead, we find Christians arrogating to themselves the right to pass judgment, without a hint of self-criticism, on the way Jews have tried to deal with their experience of persecution and ultimately genocide at the hands of a Christian culture.In present-day Germany there is a strong feeling that it is not for Germans - especially, not for the German state - to criticize Israel. One can argue whether the taboo has been taken too far, but the point is that it represents an owning of collective responsibility for the sins of the past – something deplorably lacking in the ACC’s stance.
......The ACC has met in an atmosphere of division and crisis unparalleled in the history of the Anglican Communion. In the identification of a common enemy, however, they have been enabled to achieve not just unity but unanimity. The psychological mechanism of scapegoating is familiar enough. That the common enemy turns out to be the ancient enemy of the faith speaks, at the very least, for an alarming lack of self-awareness.
... when the First Crusade set out on its journey to Palestine in 1096 (incidentally following a period of chronic division within the Church), it first turned its zeal on the Jewish communities of the Rhineland. ...they were presented at swordpoint with the choice between conversion and death. Loyalty to their faith cost 1300 men, women and children their lives in the city of Mainz alone.
Make no mistake, an unbroken thread links the prejudices of the eleventh century with those which helped the Nazis to power and enabled them to carry through the Final Solution with minimal resistance from the churches. And now it seems to me we are seeing something very close to an updated version of the old ultimatum being addressed to Jews. Now the choice is “give up your state or die”.
Jews are being categorized (for example by the academic boycott campaigners) into bad Zionists and good anti-Zionists. When Palestinian militants claim the right to inflict indiscriminate violence on the bad Zionist Jews, many on the western Left look the other way or openly applaud. And fury greets Israeli attempts to defend themselves, notably by the security fence. Yes, I know it’s been built on Palestinian land, and of course that’s wrong, but the sheer vehemence of the criticism, and the total lack of interest in the possibility that the fence has actually been effective in saving lives, leads me to suspect that there is something more primal underlying this: Jews are supposed to be defenceless. How dare they acquire power? How dare they place such an inflated value on their lives?
Is all this really something the Anglican Communion wants to be part of?
AUSTRALIA'S four million Anglicans will have a new leader this weekend, with archbishops Peter Jensen from Sydney, Phillip Aspinall from Brisbane and the new archbishop of Perth Roger Herft the likely contenders.
Whoever takes over the position from Peter Carnley will have to wrestle immediately with the church's enduring disputes over women bishops and, even more controversially, the ordination of practising homosexuals.
Forty electors will meet in Sydney's St Andrew's Cathedral on Saturday to vote for the new primate, a position generally considered one of influence but holding little formal power. 'It has clout but it is not an Anglican papacy,' Dr Jensen said. "
.....Looming over the election will also be the spectre of a threat to the worldwide unity of the Anglican communion.
At a recent international summit, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church of the US were effectively sidelined because they have blessed same-sex unions and, in the US, consecrated a practising homosexual as bishop -- Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.
No Australian bishop has ever ventured that far but in the recent past Dr Jensen has suggested his Sydney diocese would find it hard to be in communion with a diocese that ordained or consecrated practising homosexuals. He has also lamented the possibility of "two Anglicanisms" developing and hinted he might be more comfortable as part of an informal network of Biblically orthodox dioceses in the developing world.
Dr Carnley, who announced his retirement last year, will head an international body established to resolve the dispute over the ordination of homosexual and female bishops. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams appointed Dr Carnley last month to chair a 13-member panel that includes clergy, lawyers and lay theologians. The panel will have no power to intervene in disputes but will mediate between liberals and conservatives to try to avert further division within the church.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
CANBERRA is expected to authorise extradition proceedings against accused war criminal Charles Zentai this week.
Mr Zentai, a former warrant officer in the Hungarian army, is wanted for the murder of Jewish teenager Peter Balazs in Budapest in November 1944.
... Zentai's lawyer Michael Bowden said he expected Senator Ellison to sign off on the request on Friday.
Australia has never extradited an alleged war criminal. Alleged Nazi Konrad Kalejs died aged 88 in a Melbourne nursing home in 2001 while fighting extradition to Latvia.
....Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre welcomed news of the impending decision.
"We are very hopeful that this time it will result in an extradition and a trial in Europe," Dr Zuroff said. "The most important thing now is that ... the defendant is not allowed to abuse the process. My feeling now is that Zentai will do his best to appear as ill, frail and unfortunate as possible. "This is a syndrome that we refer to as Wiesenthal-itis or Zuroff-itis. It happens in every case like this."
.....If the minister signs the receipt of request for Mr Zentai, Australian Federal Police officers will charge him and he will be required to appear before a magistrate and apply for bail.
The magistrate will also determine if Mr Zentai should be extradited to face trial in Budapest. However, Senator Ellison will have the final say on whether Mr Zentai is made to return to his homeland.