Teachable Moment on Israel

, Malcolm A. Kline, 6 Comments

A pair of activists in the state of Washington are promoting an anti-Israel curriculum that high school social studies teachers are considering adopting.

palestine teaching trunk

Ed Mast and Linda Bevis, of the Palestine Solidarity Committee, have developed “The Palestine Teaching Trunk.” Bevis gave a presentation on it in October at the Washington State Council for the Social Studies annual meeting, Edward Alexander reported in The Weekly Standard on November 10, 2014.

“In 1967, Israel seized control of the West Bank and Gaza from Egypt and Jordan,” the “Teaching Trunk” curriculum reads. “Israel instituted a military occupation in Gaza and the West Bank—which are now called The Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

“Over the decades, the Israeli military occupation has become increasingly brutal, in contravention of international law. Palestinians have engaged in violent and nonviolent resistance in pursuit of self-determination. The violent attacks by an occupied population on military targets are protected under the Geneva Conventions, while attacks on civilian populations (by Palestinians or by Israelis) are in violation of international law. While the Palestinian Authority and the majority of the Palestinian people recognize Israel as constituting 78% of historic Palestine, and have agreed to re-form their country only in the West Bank and Gaza, they have not been able to do so due to the occupation in place there. Peace talks between the two entities continue to fail for this reason.”

“Tell students that this unit will focus on the more recent history of the conflict, but that some of the older history will be examined in an effort to understand how things got to where they are today.”

“Yes, Palestinian Arabs are among the world’s most ruined people,” Alexander writes. “But why?”

“Where, in the Mast and Bevis trunk, in the unwholesome stew of Edward Said, Rashid Khalidi, Noam Chomsky, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, Robert Fisk, and Alexander Cockburn that this curriculum will force-feed students, is the following crucial question ever posed: What might have been the fate of Palestinian Arabs if their assorted leaders—Arafat, Abbas, Hamas—had been working to improve education, health care, governance, commerce, and public works in their own society instead of constantly trying to destroy someone else’s society? What does the Bevis and Mast curriculum have to say about the fact that, throughout this past summer’s war, Israel continued to provide Gaza with its electricity because Hamas’s leaders spend their Satanic energy and vast millions to acquire rockets and build underground tunnels for no other purpose than the raw murder of Jews, as called for in the Hamas Charter quoting the Koran?”

“Another half-truth in the trunk is that Palestinian Arabs suffer grievously from ‘occupation’ (even in Gaza, from which Israel departed many years ago) and hate Israel because of it. But which came first—the so-called occupation or the hatred? For 19 years, from 1948 to 1967, the disputed territories were entirely in Arab hands, theirs to do with whatever they pleased. Yet somehow it never occurred to them to establish a Palestinian state there, but only to use every meter of land as a launching pad for attacks on Israel. Since those territories became Israel’s as a result of Arab aggression in June 1967, they could not retroactively have become its cause.”