The EU May Finally Be Forced to Face the Truth about Palestinian Education

Earlier this year, the European Union’s ministry of foreign affairs received a report it had commissioned about the textbooks employed in Palestinian Authority (PA) schools, which receive a great deal of funding both directly and indirectly from the EU. The report confirmed what has long been known: that Palestinian schools teach anti-Semitism, glorify terrorism, and vilify Israel. But the EU refrained from publicizing the report until it was leaked to the press. Donna Edmunds suggests that Europe may at last have to do something about a problem it has only reluctantly begun to acknowledge:

Last year, following a vote by [European] parliamentarians to withhold some funding if the curriculum weren’t changed to become more inclusive, the PA made noises that it would instigate some changes. But when the education minister addressed his colleagues, he made it clear that the narrative of Palestinian armed resistance to Israel would be amplified, not reduced. This means that education could well become the issue that breaks the Mephistophelian pact between the EU and the PA.

It is clear to any sensible person that teaching Palestinian children to fear and hate Israelis, and to engage in the violent destruction of Israel, is no basis on which to build a two-state solution, [which is what the EU claims to support]. Not only is it detrimental to Israel, but it is deeply wounding to the children themselves, who are given no hope of a bright future within their own state.

Meanwhile, the PA—whose senior members have grown fabulously wealthy from all the funding poured into their coffers—is trapped between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, if they give in to demands to deliver [an acceptable] curriculum, the drive behind their Palestinian nationalist narrative will quickly falter, leading eventually to normalization with Israel and to their rule being toppled in favor of true moderate rule. On the other, if they brazen it out and have funding pulled, they risk an impoverished Palestinian population turning on them.

Read more at JNS

More about: Anti-Semitism, European Union, Palestinian Authority

How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus