All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Thursday, 23 July 2009

When "Censorship" Is A Misused Concept

I can see that quite a big deal is being made of the fact that Israel's Education Minister has decided to finally act in a responsible manner!

OK, that's a little unfair.

As you might have heard, Gidon Sa'ar has decided that Israeli Arab school kids should not be using textbooks that refer to the birth of Israel as a Nakba or "catastrophe". My question is why this term was ever used in the first place, granted that we are talking about the Israeli school system, not the shameful excuse for education as practiced by our lovely cousins in Gaza and its environs.

Sa'ar says that the majority of Israeli Arabs do not consider the events to be "catastrophic" in nature. That might be a moot point, although not as far from reality as one would imagine, granted that they have lived a better life in Israel than they could ever hope to under Arab sovereignty.

Is Israel finally starting to wake up to the fact that we have to push the Jewish angle here? If Arab schoolkids want to learn about the other side, why should we be the ones teaching it?

As you know, I am teacher. I value education above almost anything else and I know that the best way to change mindsets is through engaging kids responsibly. The only way we can counter the poisoning of minds, as practised so skillfully by the Palestinians is by teaching the kids that Israel was founded as pluralistic and democratic state, with the intention of promoting Jewish values to all who chose to live within it's borders. It therefore behoves us to banish the kind of rhetoric that undermines the core values of that very same State.

Calling the miraculous War of Independence a "Naqba" is nothing short of a gross insult to every single person who died in the conflict. If doing so is branded "censorship" by our people (and frankly, I couldn't give a damn what CNN, the BBC et al call it), then I don't think we deserve to have the country in the first place.

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