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What Palestinian Textbooks Say about Israel

Feb. 16 2018

Having completed a study of 200 current and out-of-date textbooks used in Palestinian schools, Arnon Gross has come to the conclusion that these books “demonize the Jews and Israel and encourage the violent struggle to liberate Palestine from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea.” Gross is convinced that, in light of his study, “there is no chance for peace and reconciliation between the state of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.” Yaakov Ahimeir writes:

Take, for example, a ninth-grade textbook’s description of Safed, a city in the north of Israel with over a millennium of Jewish history: “Safed is one of the most beautiful Palestinian cities in the Galilee. Its magnificence hails back to its Canaanite origin, despite the fog of occupation that will one day lift.” . . .

[Gross’s] research brings truly hair-raising, dehumanizing examples to demonstrate how Palestinian education incites [violence and even genocide against] Jews. One of the textbooks calls the 1978 Coastal Road massacre—in which Fatah terrorists crossed from Lebanon into Israel, hijacked a bus, and murdered 38 Israeli passengers—a “barbecue.” Why? Because the terrorist cell leader, Dalal Mughrabi, gave a command to firebomb the bus and burn the Jews alive.

Gross stresses that from year to year, Palestinian textbooks have not become more moderate—quite the opposite, in fact.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Education, Fatah, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian public opinion, Terrorism

The Future of a Free Iran May Lie with a Restoration of the Shah

June 25 2018

Examining the recent waves of protest and political unrest in the Islamic Republic—from women shunning the hijab to truckers going out on strike—Sohrab Ahmari considers what would happen in the event of an actual collapse of the regime. Through an analysis of Iranian history, he concludes that the country would best be served by placing Reza Pahlavi, the son and heir of its last shah, at the head of a constitutional monarchy:

The end of Islamist rule in Iran would be a world-historical event and an unalloyed good for the country and its neighbors, marking a return to normalcy four decades after the Ayatollah Khomeini founded his regime. . . . But what exactly is that normalcy? . . .

First, Iranian political culture demands a living source of authority to embody the will of the nation and stand above a fractious and ethnically heterogenous society. Put another way, Iranians need a “shah” of some sort. They have never lived collectively without one, and their political imagination has always been directed toward a throne. The constitutionalist experiment of the early 20th century coexisted (badly) with monarchic authority, and the current Islamic Republic has a supreme leader—which is to say, a shah by another name. It is the height of utopianism to imagine that a 2,500-year-old tradition can be wiped away. The presence of a shah, [however], needn’t mean the absence of rule of law, deliberative politics, or any of the other elements of ordered liberty that the West cherishes in its own systems. . . .

Second, Iranian political culture demands a source of continuity with Persian history. The anxieties associated with modernity and centuries of historical discontinuity drove Iranians into the arms of Khomeini and his bearded minions, who promised a connection to Shiite tradition. Khomeinism turned out to be a bloody failure, but there is scant reason to imagine the thirst for continuity has been quenched. . . . Iranian nationalism . . . could be the answer, and, to judge by the nationalist tone of the current upheaval, it is the one the people have already hit upon.

When protestors chant “We Will Die to Get Iran Back,” “Not Gaza, Not Lebanon, My Life Only for Iran,” and “Let Syria Be, Do Something for Me,” they are expressing a positive vision of Iranian nationhood: no longer do they wish to pay the price for the regime’s Shiite hegemonic ambitions. Iranian blood should be spilled for Iran, not Gaza, which for most Iranians is little more than a geographical abstraction. It is precisely its nationalist dimension that makes the current revolt the most potent the mullahs have yet faced. Nationalism, after all, is a much stronger force and in Iran the longing for historical continuity runs much deeper than liberal-democratic aspiration. Westerners who wish to see a replay of Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 in today’s Iran will find the lessons of Iranian history hard and distasteful, but Iranians and their friends who wish to see past the Islamic Republic must pay heed.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Iran, Nationalism, Politics & Current Affairs, Shah