View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Dueling Textbooks

One of the Palestinians' Oslo obligations, reiterated in the Road Map, is to fix their textbooks so that they recognize Israel, its Jewish character, its right to exist, and Jews' attachment to the land. Here are two quotes from textbooks. See if you can guess which is from an Israeli textbook, and which is from a recently-released Palestinian textbook.

A prominent feature of Jerusalem is its diverse population. Living side by side in the city are residents belonging to different religions, different streams and different nations. Jews and Arabs, secular and religious, Muslims and Christians and others… Jerusalem has been the religious, spiritual and national center of the Jewish people throughout the generations and through all of its dispersions and it is a holy city for Jews. It is also a holy city for Christians and one of the three holy Muslim cities.

"O brother, we have a sister in Jerusalem for whom the slaughterers have prepared the[ir] knives

O brother, get up to the focus of prayer of the East and West, let us defend the Church and the Mosque

O brother, get up to her; let us break through hazard in deep-red blood and a shaking blaze."

The astonishing thing here is that the Israeli Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace cites the Israeli book as an example of pro-Jewish bias. The Center itself isn't peacenik. It's honest, and it fully understands that the Israeli emphasis is one of degree, where the Arab textbooks are uniformly exclusive. Keep this in mind when Abbas is in Washington, asking President Bush for a timeline for Israeli commitments. This one's 10 years old.

The Center has also produced an extensive survey of Saudi textbooks, textbooks which, by the way, are used in American madrassas funded by the Saudis.

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