December 29, 2008.
Even when times are very bad, we take solace, irrespective of creed, in the
hope symbolized by the Christmas story of birth and renewal. We indulge
children and proclaim a season of peace and goodwill. Alas, this Christmas is
darkened by a Bethlehem story that is not about peace, but about killing; not
about how children may fulfill their promise, but about how they should glory in
their own extinction. There are no wise men on this horizon.
The Bethlehem that the New Testament tells us is the birthplace of Jesus is also
the center of Palestinian culture and the headquarters of the Governorate of the
Palestinian Authority. The Bush administration believed and hoped that the PA
chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, cared enough about his people to make a decent
peace with Israel, leading to a new, independent state of Palestine.
Abbas has shattered those hopes. Worse, he and his associates are
ensuring that the next generation of Palestinians will be incapable of making
peace. They will be paralyzed by the hate and fear that they have been taught
in their schoolrooms and by the national television controlled by the PA.
The extent of this corruption of children’s minds was vividly exposed last week
by the investigative journalist Gerald Posner, who produced a Web
documentary (hosted by thedailybeast.com) based on videos culled from
television by Palestinian Media Watch. It is deeply shocking to observe children
being programmed for terrorism through the exaltation of suicide bombers as
“Martyrdom is bliss,” a child hostess says, referring to a 14-year-old suicide
killer. The clips show incessant indoctrination that Islam wants the death of
adults and children for Allah and will reward those who achieve Shahada, which
Palestinian Media Watch equates with death for Allah. “I have let my land drink
my blood, and I have loved the way of Shahada,” intones a young boy.
Children being taught murder by rote is child abuse, a mental deformation more
damaging than physical injury. Equally disgusting is the demonization of Jews
based on a phony history of the Holocaust. Remember the Holocaust, in which
the Nazis killed 6 million Jews?
Well, take a look at the scene from a PA Fatah “educational video” in
which children acting and singing about history recite: “They [Israel] are the
ones who did the Holocaust, their knife cuts to the length and width of our
flesh. They opened the ovens for us to bake human beings. … When an oven
stops burning, they light 100 [more].”
A body called the National Committee for Defense of Children from the
Holocaust organized an exhibit, one feature of which, according to al-Ayyam,
one of the largest Palestinian newspapers, is “an oven and inside it small
[Palestinian] children are being burned. The picture speaks for itself.”
This endlessly fraudulent education has had devastating effects on the
prospects for peace. The world may have been appalled this year when
students studying in a Jerusalem library were shot to death by a Palestinian
terrorist, but the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research reports that
84 percent of Palestinians approved.
Wars routinely produce competitive ecstasies of hate. Is Israel any better? The
answer is yes. In the early days of the state, the historical narrative of a nation
under siege did prejudice the teaching. There were omissions, bias, and
distorted stereotypes of Arabs–but not outright incitements to murder. And all
that was cleaned up in three successive periods of revision, according to a
major study by Prof. Elie Podeh that tracked the evolution of enlightened
education in an Israel impelled by democratic values.
Israeli schoolbooks no longer seek to impose a single narrative. Podeh
concludes: “In historical and national terms, the Palestinians are currently in the
same position that Israel was in 50 years ago. If Palestinian textbooks must go
through the long, exhausting process undergone by Israeli textbooks, the
prospects of a genuine and lasting Israeli-Palestinian conciliation may lie far in
Incoming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is well aware of the PA’s insidious
lies. Last year, she called for them to stop: “These children deserve an
education that instills a respect for life and peace instead of glorifying death
and violence. It is disturbing to me as a mother, it is disturbing to me as a
United States senator, because it basically, profoundly poisons the minds of
Now, she is in a position to do more. She can tell Abbas that the U.S.
government will no longer give millions of dollars to a Palestinian Authority that
actively pollutes the minds of the innocents. And the Europeans should follow