How About Not Teaching Hate and Bigotry to Children?
July 20, 2010 4 Comments
If there is a viable “peace process” in Israel, it begins with mutual respect. It begins by, indeed cannot happen without, foreswearing bigotry and vile stereotypes. If either side remains committed to educating its children that the other side is demonic and despicable, then there is no viable peace process.
That should be — but has not been — a starting point for President Obama’s and Secretary of State Clinton’s likely abortive initiative in the Middle East.
There is certainly hatred of Palestinians among some Israelis — abundantly countered in Israel’s robust democracy — but there is systematic teaching of vile contempt for Jews in Palestinian culture. As long as Palestinians teach their children such hate, there will be no generation of Palestinians equipped for peacemaking.
The Palestinian Authority has incredibly incorporated the ridiculous and discredited forgery, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, into its high school education curriculum. The textbook says that among the foundations of Zionism, agreed upon at the First Zionist Congress in 1897, “there is a group of confidential resolutions adopted by the Congress and known by the name ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ the goal of which was world domination.”
Recall that the Palestinian Authority is the “reasonable” voice of Palestinian aspiration, the entity with which Israel might manage to negotiate peace and Palestinian statehood. Hamas, which controls Gaza after a bloody Palestinian-bloodletting coup, is widely seen as “less reasonable.” Here is Article Thirty-Two of the Hamas Charter:
Hamas is calling upon the Arab and Islamic peoples to act seriously and tirelessly in order to frustrate that dreadful scheme … Today it is Palestine and tomorrow it may be another country or other countries. For Zionist scheming has no end, and after Palestine they will covet expansion from the Nile to the Euphrates… Their scheme has been laid out in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and their present [conduct] is the best proof of what is said there.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion — which purports to establish a Jewish conspiracy to control the world — is a document forged by the Czarist secret police at the turn of the 19th century, and intended to incite violence against Jews as scapegoats in Russia. It has been conclusively proven a fraud and forgery. It went out of favor in democracies many decades ago. Indeed, here is Henry Ford’s 1927 mea culpa, after losing a lawsuit brought because he spread the Protocols vileness in his newspaper:
“To my great regret I learn that in the Dearborn Independent and in reprint pamphlets entitled, ‘THE INTERNATIONAL JEW’, there have appeared articles which induce the Jews to regard me as their enemy, promoting anti-Semitism.
“As a result of this survey I am deeply mortified that this journal, which is intended to be constructive and not destructive, has been made the medium for resurrecting exploded fictions, for giving currency to the so-called Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion, which have been demonstrated, as I learn, to be gross forgeries, and for contending that the Jews have been engaged in a conspiracy to control the capital and the industries of the world, besides laying at their door many offences against decency, public order and good morals… I deem it to be my duty as an honourable man to make amends for the wrong done to the Jews as fellow men and brothers, by asking their forgiveness for the harm which I have unintentionally committed, by retracting, as far as lies within my power the offensive charges laid at their door by these publications, and by giving them the unqualified assurance that henceforth they may look to me for friendship and good will…
“Had I appreciated even the general nature to say nothing of the details of these utterances, I would have forbidden their circulation without a moment’s hesitation…This statement is made on my own initiative and wholly in the interest of right and justice, and is in accordance with what I regard as my solemn duty as a man and as a citizen.”
But the libel nevertheless proved resilient in cultures committed to the destruction of Jews, to wit, Adolf Hitler, who refers to the Protocols in Mein Kampf:
To what extent the whole existence of this people is based on a continuous lie is shown incomparably by the Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion, so infinitely hated by the Jews. They are based on a forgery, the Frankfurter Zeitung moans and screams once every week: the best proof that they are authentic. […] the important thing is that with positively terrifying certainty they reveal the nature and activity of the Jewish people and expose their inner contexts as well as their ultimate final aims.
The Protocols became required reading for German students and a staple of Nazi propaganda. In The Holocaust: The Destruction of European Jewry 1933–1945, Nora Levin says that “Hitler used the Protocols as a manual in his war to exterminate the Jews”:
Despite conclusive proof that the Protocols were a gross forgery, they had sensational popularity and large sales in the 1920s and 1930s. They were translated into every language of Europe and sold widely in Arab lands, the United States, and England. But it was in Germany after World War I that they had their greatest success. There they were used to explain all of the disasters that had befallen the country: the defeat in the war, the hunger, the destructive inflation.
Very few things unite virtually all Western sensibilities. One is the evil of the Nazis. How ironic then that Muslim cultures continue to make use of one of Hitler’s chief anti-Semitic propaganda tools, and get a pass. Here’s a suggestion: in the silly world of Middle Eastern concessions, all of which Israel is expected to make, how about asking the Palestinian Authority and Hamas at least to repudiate — and permanently remove from their curriculums — the Protocols of the Elders of Zion?
Repudiating a proven fraud and racist slander seems an easy step. It might be a significant gesture.