One of my themes is that Zionism is dumbing down the Jews. In order to believe the Zionist narrative about Israel, you basically have to block out a lot of history and wipe out another people’s humanity and experience, simply disavow it. Here’s further evidence. Deborah Nussbaum Cohen in the Forward has a fine report on a controversy over a question on an Advanced Placement test. "Some Jewish" high school students ("Some Jewish" is my ace in the hole, too) have objected to an essay question that uses a quote from the late Palestinian-American author Edward Said.
Note that this has nothing to do with Edward Said throwing a rock in Lebanon or whether you think Israel has a right to exist etc.
The Said quote on the AP test reads: “Exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience. It is the unhealable rift forced between a human being and its native place, between the self and its true home: its essential sadness can never be surmounted.”
“I’m in a public school and most students here have the impression that Israel is the one attacking [the Palestinians],” the 17-year-old [Ayelet] Pearl said. “To put a quote in like this subconsciously reinforces the idea that Israel’s the antagonist, the aggressor, the one in the wrong.”
Though she had just 40 minutes to write the required essay, Pearl froze when she encountered the Said text. “I didn’t know what to do because I wasn’t comfortable answering it,” she said. She decided to put a paragraph objecting to the quote’s inclusion at the top of her essay. “I find it really inappropriate to put a political question like that on a test,” she said she wrote.
Using this quote in the AP exam “is very reflective of the widespread use of education and testing as a platform for anti-Israel propaganda,” she told the Forward.
This is crazy. It is an effort to deny the experience of a prominent intellectual who witnessed the Nakba then sought to document it.
For the record. Edward Said grew up in privileged Jerusalem, the Talbiyah neighborhood, and left at 12 in 1947 for Cairo. As the Nakba enfolded his old neighborhood and country, he saw his aunt spending her days helping Palestinian refugees who were pouring desperately into Cairo. He learned that the neighborhood of his youth was now populated by European immigrants, cleansed of Arab life. He was instructed by his father never to bring politics into his work or his career would be finished. Said bit his tongue until 1967, but dissociation about lost Palestine afflicted him all his life. As he wrote in the memoir, Out of Place: "Even now the unreconciled duality I feel about the place, its intricate wrenching, tearing, sorrowful loss as exemplifed in so many distorted lives, including mine, and its status as an admirable country for them (but of course not for us), always gives me pain and a discouraging sense of being solitary, undefended, open to the assaults of trivial things that seem important and threatening, against which I have no weapons."
Huh. Seems like he really means that.
Ayelet Pearl does not want to believe that Israel was an antagonist, an aggressor. This is fantasy. Ennobling Israel at every turn means never having to come to terms with the unfairness of Said’s dispossession– which by the way, was in complete defiance of the 1947 Partition resolution that breathed legitimacy into the Jewish state. It means self-imposed stupidity.