Harvard student describes her ‘birthright’ trip: endless discussion of ‘the Arabs’ but god forbid you should talk to one

Israel/Palestine
on 58 Comments

Here’s an amazing piece from the Harvard Crimson: Sandra Y.L. Korn reflects on her birthright trip to Israel and Palestine, during which the group met only with Jews. Notice the moral clarity about refugees and racism and identity. There is also some good stuff in the full piece about the uses of the Holocaust at Yad Vashem. This woman is fearless and clear-eyed; she will help lead Jews out of this swamp.

However, I soon realized that a trip around Israel aimed at fostering Jewish identity cannot avoid politics. From its name—“Birthright” implies that all Jews have the right to the land of Israel, while ignoring the Palestinian refugees who have been prevented from returning home for decades—to its itinerary—which includes ventures into the disputed Golan Heights, where participants gleefully take pictures of the ruined shells of “abandoned” Syrian homes—Birthright advances the political agenda of the Israeli and American right. The fact that it does so in an insidious way makes its messaging all the more dangerous…

At the end of our trip, our tour guide brought us to Mount Herzl cemetery, Israel’s national cemetery. At the area of the cemetery reserved for civilian victims of acts of terror, our guide told us why it was important for us as Jews to support Israel: because “Arabs are different from us,” and teach their children to hate in school. As members of my group supplied other examples of “Arabs” killing innocents—“Syria.” “Iran.” “Al-Qaeda, 9/11.”—we reflected on the necessity of defending Israel from the Palestinians, who, after all, have plenty of Arab brothers and sisters to support them, right?

Throughout the rest of our tour, we spoke to young IDF soldiers who dismissed human rights abuses against Palestinians as a forgivable consequence of a Jewish state. We spoke to older Israelis who informed us that Israel was the only place in the world safe for Jews, invoking the racism that seems to run unquestioned through Jewish Israeli public discourse—one told us, “there could be another Holocaust in America any time. Jesse Jackson, or another one of those black people…” Our trip leader supplemented these interactions with a quip about Israel’s thriving biotechnology industry: “Israel doesn’t have many natural resources, but we do have the Jewish mind.” We posed for a picture atop an old tank, shouting, “Israeli power!” And meanwhile, throughout the entire tour, we were encouraged to return to Israel, to make aliyah…

Zionists look to Birthright Israel as a way to inspire Jewish pride among largely assimilated, ethnically Jewish college students. Even liberal Zionist Peter Beinart, when he came to speak at Harvard last semester, critiqued Birthright only for failing to expose participants to a Palestinian perspective (it’s true: we didn’t speak to a single non-Jew during a full ten days in the Middle East).

But Birthright’s idea of engaging with Israel means supporting an illegal and oppressive military occupation, claiming citizenship to a state that deports African immigrants, glorifying “the Jewish mind,” and decrying all Arabs collectively for their hateful terrorist tactics. Simply introducing a Palestinian voice could not begin to correct for the fact that Birthright is firmly entrenched in right-wing rhetoric, from racism to militarism.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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58 Responses

  1. Shmuel
    July 8, 2012, 11:59 am

    Thanks. Will forward Korn’s piece to an unsuspecting young cousin (“assimilated, ethnically Jewish”) who has signed up for the free trip and infusion of Jewish identity. Her mother said they were assured that the programme is strictly “apolitical”.

  2. tree
    July 8, 2012, 1:10 pm

    Great report. Kudos to Sandra Korn for publishing it, and seeing clearly what Israel has come to stand for.

    I noted this from her article:

    We spoke to older Israelis who informed us that Israel was the only place in the world safe for Jews…

    and

    At the area of the cemetery reserved for civilian victims of acts of terror, our guide told us why it was important for us as Jews to support Israel: because “Arabs are different from us,” and teach their children to hate in school. As members of my group supplied other examples of “Arabs” killing innocents—“Syria.” “Iran.” “Al-Qaeda, 9/11.”—we reflected on the necessity of defending Israel from the Palestinians, who, after all, have plenty of Arab brothers and sisters to support them, right?

    Yet another example of Zionists’ ability to hold two conflicting ideas at the same time. Israel is the only place a Jew is safe, but look at all the poor Israeli victims of terrorism. Jews outside of Israel must defend Israel from the threatening hordes of surrounding Arabs.

  3. Klaus Bloemker
    July 8, 2012, 1:26 pm

    – “The tour guide at the [Holocaust] museum asked us, “Why did God let the Holocaust happen?” One American on my trip dutifully responded, “If it weren’t for the Holocaust, there might never have been a state of Israel.” – The Crimson article

    I see, the Zionist God was siding with Hitler.

  4. Sin Nombre
    July 8, 2012, 1:45 pm

    Sandra Korn wrote:

    “Birthright advances the political agenda of the Israeli and American right.”

    You know, Ms. Korn, but for your obvious good intentions and your likely youth one could get really irritated at you calling everything you saw and disliked in Israel as being products of “the right” or of “the Rightwing,” and your apparent viewing of the Left as being the repository of all wisdom and virtue.

    It wasn’t all that long ago, Ms. Korn, that “the Left” that you so obviously believe is akin to some political Snow White was just absolutely wild about a few guys with names like Lenin and Trotsky and Mao and Ho Chi Minh and even to some degree Pol Pot. And until it no longer worked due to the facts becoming undeniable, your “Left” was up to its very snout in consciously lying its ass off about the fact that such guys were monsters, and this is something nobody even accuses the Right of having done with Hitler. And after such lying no longer worked it was your Sainted “Left” that, for a long long time, working night and day, tried to excusify such monsters. (Again something that “the Right” never really tried to do with Hitler even). Plus then we have your Sainted Left working for decades to disarm and indeed just ridicule the notion that its Lenins and Trotskys and Maos and etc. should be faulted for not recognizing any civil or democratic rights. Not least, your Sainted Left said then, was because such rights were passe, unnecessary and even evil “Rightwing” inventions. (Which, as to the last, was at least essentially true.)

    But of course given the *current* crop of people calling themselves “of the Right” there’s enough truth to what you say to sustain it, even if it’s only a very narrow, non-comprehensive and even (unconsciously) misleading truth.

    But one thing you still can’t do by labeling everything you are seeing and not liking vis a vis Israel as “Rightwing” is absolve your Sainted Left for enabling and supporting those *same* precise things, as if your Left has at least always stood like some virginal beacon on this Israeli/Palestinian issue at least.

    The fact is, Ms. Korn, that the very people who founded the State of Israel were Leftists non pareil, and indeed I believe the clear majority of Israelis today would still see themselves as far more of the Left than the Right.

    And insofar as the United States is concerned, it wasn’t a *Republican* who agreed to recognize the State of Israel 15 minutes after the announcement of its declaration over the fierce objections of our foreign affairs experts. Nor was it someone from “the Left”—however you define it—who,in 1956, told Israel to get its ass back to its borders and stop trying to steal the Suez Canal and made that stick. And it was most distinctly not anyone of “the Right” who as in power when, under JFK and LBJ, Israel so easily stole its nuclear weapon secrets.

    True, it was Nixon who saved Israel’s bacon in the ’73 war, but since then, Ms. Korn, and not to put too fine a point on it, the biggest paladins of sending American money to Israel have indeed been people on “the Left” in Congress like Alan Cranston and Chuck Schumer and on and on. And it was the distinctly non_Lefty Ronald Reagan who backed off from keeping American boys in Lebanon, and it was the distinctly non-Lefty George H.W. Bush who at least tried to get Israel to stop expanding its settlements. (Which resulted on so many of your Sainted Leftys in Congress running roughshod over him.)

    And even more to the point if still in general, if there is *any* discrete, identifiable, group that’s formed the very center and core of the American “Left” for so long as one can remember that would of course consist of American jews. Which in other words mean those coming from the very same group from whom, for so long now, those individuals sprung who have perhaps been the *most* important in helping the U.S. create and perpetuate the very wrongs and evils you now see in Israel.

    So face up to it, Ms. Korn: Your Sainted “Left” has been and still is right up to its eyeballs in producing and sustaining the Israel and the Israeli behavior you see today. Indeed, in any number of ways far *far* greater than “the Right” you so love to disparage. So maybe you ought to rethink your use of pronouns in writing further upon this subject.

    • CitizenC
      July 8, 2012, 6:52 pm

      (Like)

      Put it on the Crimson site…

    • homingpigeon
      July 9, 2012, 12:32 am

      It is useful for thoughtful people to move beyond categorizing political thought and behavior into “left” and “right.” But the vehemence with which you come down on this young lady for once using “right” as a pejorative implicitly accepts the notion of these as accurate or meaningful labels.

      As a libertarian I am regularly attacked for being “leftist” or being “rightist” depending on which issue is discussed. I reject the label and refuse to use them in discourse.

      However, it is unfortunately true (from a psycholinguistic point of view) that in Israel, the world “leftist” refers to to people who tend to be more respectful of Palestinians and more willing to work for accommodation. The word “rightist” refers to people who do not get along with Palestinians, tend to be hawkish in their positions on war and peace, and are more likely to be in favor of ethnic cleansing.

      It has nothing to do with their economic theories or what they feel about Pol Pot or Stalin or the constipated Democrats in the US. I wish they used a better word and her use of it and your reaction proves why it is an unfortunate choice.

      • CitizenC
        July 9, 2012, 9:26 am

        on the other hand it is necessary to dispel the durable mirage of “liberal Zionism” (recently sighted by Peter Beinart, but he will never drink water there)

      • MHughes976
        July 9, 2012, 12:26 pm

        An apt, poetic turn of phrase about Beinart and those like him. However, I agree with those who say that the question of the legitimacy of Zionism is not answered by first asking how society in general should be organised when it comes to private property, the constraint of individual choice by laws, the role of the public sector in the economy etc., that is by asking the questions that generally define the difference between ‘left’ and ‘right’. Zionism has had a remarkable power to appeal across the political spectrum and indeed across the religious spectrum from ultra-fundamentalist to ultra-sceptical, from Cyrus Schofield to George Eliot.

  5. piotr
    July 8, 2012, 2:55 pm

    “there could be another Holocaust in America any time. Jesse Jackson, or another one of those black people…”

    The schizophrenia of those people is staggering. The sum total of Israel’s foreign policy is to influence American politicians and use the obtained leverage elsewhere. With the policy of uninterrupted human right violations that enrage neighbors, what is the fate of Israel without American support? Nukes will not help to open trade embargo, and Israel is not a self-sufficient economy. All of it makes sense only in the perspective “Messiah will come soon, so the only worry is what He will approve.”

    Perhaps Mezuzas will help. Particularly puzzling is aliah of Messianic Jews and Reform Jews from a country where people really do not care about them one way or another to a country where they are reviled.

    • ColinWright
      July 8, 2012, 8:58 pm

      “there could be another Holocaust in America any time. Jesse Jackson, or another one of those black people…”

      Kind of ironic. I read that and my first thought was that indeed, there could be a Holocaust aimed at Black Americans. Between one thing and another, I could seriously see that happening.

      Then I realized they were talking about a holocaust aimed at Jews in America. Now that — again between one thing and another — strikes me as seriously improbable.

  6. radii
    July 8, 2012, 3:10 pm

    you cannot effectively demonize The Other if you get to know them

  7. Dutch
    July 8, 2012, 3:17 pm

    Wow, this is truly insane: ‘Birthright trips’ into someone else’s country. And people are participating in this? Oh veh! Ethnical cleansing going mainstream. I am hoping there is a strong lobby against this disgusting practise.

    • hophmi
      July 9, 2012, 11:59 am

      “Wow, this is truly insane: ‘Birthright trips’ into someone else’s country.”

      It’s the Jewish state. Deal with it. The Palestinians are free to organize similar trips for Palestinians in their Diaspora.

      • Light
        July 9, 2012, 6:02 pm

        Actually, Palestinians are not free to do this. Israel controls access to all of Palestine.

        And yes, for someone born in the US, Israel is not his or her homeland.

      • chinese box
        July 9, 2012, 7:06 pm

        “It’s the Jewish state. Deal with it. The Palestinians are free to organize similar trips for Palestinians in their Diaspora.”

        Really? And I’m sure the “Birthright Palestine” students won’t have any hassles at Ben Gurion, or if they decide to make “Aliyah” to East Jerusalem after their Birthright trip. Are you for real?

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 10, 2012, 10:21 am

        “Really? And I’m sure the “Birthright Palestine” students won’t have any hassles at Ben Gurion, or if they decide to make “Aliyah” to East Jerusalem after their Birthright trip. Are you for real?”

        That’s exactly right. Hoppy is simply delusional. It’s one of his defense mechanisms so he doesn’t have to face the fact that people who are in the ethnicity which he is bigoted against are being oppressed by people of the ethnicity he is bigoted in favor of. It’s a way for him to blame the victims.

      • hophmi
        July 10, 2012, 2:04 pm

        I haven’t blamed any victims here. I just these criticisms of Birthright are ridiculous. It’s a ten-day trip sponsored by the government. And people are complaining that they’re not getting to see Israel warts and all. I just don’t know what people expect exactly. The testimonials of malcontents who take the trip knowing – let’s be honest – full well what they signed up for, but take the money so they can write their hotshot critique, are so far outweighed by the testimonials of those who go, enjoy the experience, and come back with good memories that it’s just sort of silly to even talk about it; the hypocrisy is stunning. Again, there are plenty of opportunities out there for people to go to Israel, meet with Palestinians, Bedouins, Druze, Christians, Ba’hai, tour Bethlehem, East Jerusalem, and so on and so on. Many Birthright trips do include a Bedouin tent supper (albeit the Disneyland version) and a Druze meal as well; there were 64 different providers when I went (less now), ranging from trips that focused around archaeology, to trips focusing on environmental issues, to trips focused around study, to trips where students met with political leaders. For instance, URJ Kesher, the Reform Movement’s youth division, offers a trip that “offers a unique opportunity to experience Israel through a progressive lens. Learn about the challenges of pluralism in Israel, connect with the leaders who embody the spirit of contemporary Zionism, and give something back on a meaningful service project.” They’re not all the same.

        Mostly, kids come back and talk about how fun it was to go to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Tzfat, and if they’re lucky, Eilat. They don’t talk about politics. And the idea is to get them to come back, where they are free to meet with anyone in Israeli society they like.

      • hophmi
        July 10, 2012, 2:04 pm

        “Really? And I’m sure the “Birthright Palestine” students won’t have any hassles at Ben Gurion”

        If Yasir Arafat had accepted the deal in 2000, there’d be no need for them to fly into Israel to get to Palestine.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 10, 2012, 3:53 pm

        “If Yasir Arafat had accepted the deal in 2000, there’d be no need for them to fly into Israel to get to Palestine.”

        And if the goddamned Israelis got their criminal asses behind the green line where they belong, same deal. But you’d rather blame the victim.

      • Dutch
        July 10, 2012, 3:12 pm

        @ Hophmi: ‘It’s the Jewish state’. ‘Deal with it’.

        Are you kiddin’ me? Are you visiting ethnic cleansed territory on a ‘Birthright trip’? Meaning you can be there, even settle there, while the owners of the land were killed or kicked out, the blood stains still wet, prevented to return to their homes? Is that what you have been doing, man?

  8. justicewillprevail
    July 8, 2012, 4:55 pm

    The phrase ‘birthright’ is indicative of the arrogant presumptions of the cult – because they have born inside the cult, they automatically give themselves ‘rights’ over people who have not. ‘Rights’ to a country and land over which they have no claim other than the cult’s mythology. If the Scientologists said that the Thetans came from the volcanoes in Hawaii, would the US government give them grotesque amounts of financial and military assistance to expel all the native Hawaiians and ignore the rights of Hawaiians?
    Probably.

  9. YoungMassJew
    July 8, 2012, 5:19 pm

    Absolutely unbelievable, but not suprising coming out of the mouth of an Israeli Jew talking about African Americans. Too many believe that African Americans don’t have anything better to do than talk negatively about Jews. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. I have never experienced an anti-Jewish comment from an African American in any city, town, or state, country I’ve traveled in. This all pervasive lie in the Jewish commmunity that black people are particulary anti-Semitic is absolute bogus.

  10. hophmi
    July 8, 2012, 5:49 pm

    Again, not my experience. I met and spoke to Arabs when I went on my trip. But, no, that’s not the focus. The trip is ten days, and they focus on showing you the major sites and taking you on hikes. It’s not focused on the politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. No one is prevented from going back and speaking to as many Arabs as they like or finding them on the internet and speaking with them.

    I also met people across the political spectrum when I was on Birthright. Birthright is not set up to be a primer on Israeli-Palestinian politics, and it certainly does not advertise itself that way. Again, if you want to get a fuller, complex picture, you can take your own trip.

    • eGuard
      July 9, 2012, 3:25 am

      hophmi: It’s not focused on the politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      To start with, read the organisations name. Then know that it is about on Jews-to-Israel (there is a name for that political view: something with a Z. Spoken of which: are you talking about your trip on Ziocane?). Third: leaving out non-Jews is also focusing: what does not get in focus.

      hophmi: No one is prevented from going back and speaking to as many Arabs as they like. Ask people in the Gaza strip if they are allowed to go back to Jaffa (where earlier “birthrighters” pushed them into the sea for being “Arab”).

    • Eitan
      July 9, 2012, 3:27 am

      I agree with Hophmi as it was also not my Birthright experience that the guides were focusing on the conflict. We had plenty of opportunities to speak with Arabs as well. I advise anyone interested to go on Taglit / Birthright Israel and make their own decisions.

      • eGuard
        July 9, 2012, 8:29 am

        Actually, Eitan, hophmi is saying that is you want to speak to “Arabs” (where and when did he learn that word for Palestinians btw?), you should go back after your birthright/Ziocane trip.

        Interestingly, hophmi says it is only sites and hikes they do. Sandra Y.L. Korn in the Harvard Crimson is more specific:
        the disputed Golan Heights (with ““abandoned” Syrian homes”), Yad Vashem, Mount Herzl cemetery, with the area for civilian victims of acts of terror, a picture atop an old tank. But apart from that: no “focus” on I/P places.

    • chinese box
      July 9, 2012, 8:09 am

      Since the goal of Birthright is to encourage aliyah and change the demographics, it’s inherently political, regardless of what they discuss on the tours.

      • yonah fredman
        July 9, 2012, 5:15 pm

        The goal of Taglit/Birthright is not aliya, it is Jewish identity or to be specific Jews marrying Jews. Accomplishing this goal through identity with Israel makes it plain that the tour is designed to instill identity with Israel and thus politics is unavoidable.

        Btw, i think the Hebrew word Taglit means discovery, and this title for the program is far less controversial than birthright.

    • Light
      July 9, 2012, 6:08 pm

      Hophmi, its 10 days of propaganda. It’s factual and unbiased as a time share promotion.

      • hophmi
        July 10, 2012, 2:09 pm

        “Hophmi, its 10 days of propaganda. It’s factual and unbiased as a time share promotion.”

        You simply don’t know what you’re talking about. It is a trip run by a tour guide. That’s what it is. You get on a bus, you see the sights, you learn the history. The people who run it are registered tour guides. It is no different from going on a ten-day trip to Prague. They’re not going to discuss the ins and outs of the Roma discrimination issue with you and they’re not going to discuss Czech elections. It’s a tourist trip. Tourist trips are, by definition, not set up to teach you all about complex political issues in a country or show you the warts of a country. If you go to Beijing, they’re not taking you to the countryside to see the poverty. If you go to India, rest assured that a tour guide is not taking you to Dalit slums.

    • eGuard
      July 10, 2012, 4:04 am

      Actually, the word “focus” is used in her Harvard Crimson article once:
      [the Birthright trip] seemed to focus on describing Israel’s tourist attractions, ruggedly beautiful landscape, and Jewish culture.

      Is my impression right that Hasbara Hophmi is arguing from shallower waters these days? Or was it thus before?

  11. Daniel Rich
    July 8, 2012, 11:01 pm

    @ hopmi,

    Oh, c’mon, man. We both know what’s said and done. How about those Israeli minders accompanying the guilt trips to Auschwitz, are they neutral as well? Here, have a field day http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOUlJLrQ3sQ

    • eGuard
      July 9, 2012, 8:34 am

      Was thinking about this same video too. Minders who keep saying & suggesting that “they” are not to be trusted: implanting fear. And hophmi didn’t recognise it when they put it under his nose. He sniffed it all.

      Here is another aliyahist who did talk with “Arabs”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Isra%C3%ABl_de_Haan

      • hophmi
        July 10, 2012, 5:43 am

        Have you been on Birthright, eGuard, yes or no?

      • eGuard
        July 10, 2012, 5:26 pm

        Haha. All I know is we did not do the same trip on the Birthright to Ziocane, hophmi. You’d have regognised me by now.

    • hophmi
      July 9, 2012, 11:58 am

      Yes, thank you, I’ve seen Defamation. Regardless of what a minder says, Auschwitz is its own reminder.

      Again, if you can point to a government-funded exchange program for young people that shows off the most difficult aspects of that society, you let me know. I’m sure when foreigners come to the US on government-funded junkets, they are taken into housing projects and dilapidated rural areas.

      • Eva Smagacz
        July 9, 2012, 6:05 pm

        Auschwitz is its own reminder of what, exactly?
        Jewish suffering or human suffering in the hands of Nazi’s?
        Jews killed there, or people killed there?

      • hophmi
        July 10, 2012, 5:37 am

        What is it to you, Eva? For me it is both.

      • Eva Smagacz
        July 10, 2012, 9:52 am

        I am glad it is both, Hopmi. Sixteen members of my family perished there.

      • hophmi
        July 10, 2012, 2:17 pm

        “I am glad it is both, Hopmi. Sixteen members of my family perished there.”

        I don’t like your tone, Eva. No one community has done anywhere near the work on Holocaust remembrance that the Jewish community has, largely because we were disproportionately its victims, and neither I nor anyone else needs to apologize for it.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 10, 2012, 4:07 pm

        “I don’t like your tone, Eva.”

        And who the hell do you think you are you to comment on anyone’s tone?

        “No one community has done anywhere near the work on Holocaust remembrance that the Jewish community has, largely because we were disproportionately its victims, and neither I nor anyone else needs to apologize for it.”

        Who’s asking you to apologize for anything? No one. You, however, appear to be questioning someone else’s thinking about the losses in her own family. What kind of monster does that?

      • Light
        July 10, 2012, 4:26 pm

        Hophmi, it seems for you that no ones Holocaust experience counts unless the victim was Jewish. By denying Eva’s relatives suffering you are effectively a Holocaust denier.

      • hophmi
        July 10, 2012, 5:06 pm

        Except I didn’t say that, did I? Drop the nonsense, Light, and stop putting words in my mouth.

      • lysias
        July 10, 2012, 5:10 pm

        I don’t like your tone, Eva.

        What about your own tone?

      • Ellen
        July 10, 2012, 6:32 pm

        disproportionately its victims…

        Is suffering or “victimhood” ranked?

        Does a ranking bring some kind of quantification to give a degree to the suffering of one or a people? And with the measurement and ranking of suffering is there some kind of special treatment, or reward depending on the proportion?

        What kind of sick world view is that?

      • eGuard
        July 10, 2012, 4:08 am

        hophmi, since you started this commentthread about “focus”, strange you loose it in every sentence.

  12. DICKERSON3870
    July 9, 2012, 4:37 am

    RE: “. . .our [Birthright] guide told us why it was important for us as Jews to support Israel: because ‘Arabs are different from us,’ and teach their children to hate in school. . .” ~ Sandra Y.L. Korn

    SEE: “Academic claims Israeli school textbooks contain bias” ~ By Harriet Sherwood, guardian.co.uk, 8/07/11
    Nurit Peled-Elhanan of Hebrew University says textbooks depict Palestinians as ‘terrorists, refugees and primitive farmers’

    (excerpt) Nurit Peled-Elhanan, an Israeli academic, mother and political radical, summons up an image of rows of Jewish schoolchildren, bent over their books, learning about their neighbours, the Palestinians. But, she says, they are never referred to as Palestinians unless the context is terrorism.
    They are called Arabs. “The Arab with a camel, in an Ali Baba dress. They describe them as vile and deviant and criminal, people who don’t pay taxes, people who live off the state, people who don’t want to develop,” she says. “The only representation is as refugees, primitive farmers and terrorists. You never see a Palestinian child or doctor or teacher or engineer or modern farmer.”
    Peled-Elhanan, a professor of language and education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has studied the content of Israeli school books for the past five years, and her account, “Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education”, is to be published in the UK this month. She describes what she found as racism– but, more than that, a racism that prepares young Israelis for their compulsory military service. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/07/israeli-school-racism-claim

    VIDEO of interview with Peled-Elhanan (08:48) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t91McXHxiXY

    P.S. ALSO SEE: Is Change possible in Israel? (VIDEO, 07:49) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIj0l6C5VqE
    Prof. Haim Bresheeth tries to answer this question – why can some Israelis change, and support the Palestinian cause, but change seems elusive in Israel? Should we wait and hope for such change?

    • DICKERSON3870
      July 9, 2012, 5:39 am

      P.S. Israelis saying that “Arabs teach their children to hate in school” would seem to be an example of psychological projection on the part of the Israelis. Narcissists in particular are prone to psychological protection.

      FROM WIKIPEDIA:

      (excerpts) Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person unconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, such as to other people. . .
      . . . The theory was developed by Sigmund Freud – in his letters to Wilhelm Fliess, “‘Draft H’ deals with projection as a mechanism of defence” – and further refined by his daughter Anna Freud; for this reason, it is sometimes referred to as Freudian Projection.
      According to Sigmund Freud, projection is a psychological defense mechanism whereby one “projects” one’s own undesirable thoughts, motivations, desires, and feelings onto someone else. ‘Emotions or excitations which the ego tries to ward off are “split out” and then felt as being outside the ego…perceived in another person’.[4] It is a common process.[5] . . .
      . . . In one example of the process, a person might have thoughts of infidelity with respect to a spouse or other partner. Instead of dealing with these undesirable thoughts consciously, the subject unconsciously projects these feelings onto the other person, and begins to think that the other has thoughts of infidelity and that the other may be having an affair. In this way, the subject may obtain ‘acquittal by his conscience – if he projects his own impulses to faithlessness on to the partner to whom he owes faith’.[7] . . .
      . . . Projection can also be established as a means of obtaining or justifying certain actions that would normally be found atrocious or heinous. This often means projecting false accusations, information, etc., onto an individual for the sole purpose of maintaining a self-created illusion. . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

      ALSO SEE: “The Paranoid Style of Anti-Islamism”, By Jack Ross, Institute for Policy Studies, 8/02/11
      (excerpt)

      . . . Nearly fifty years ago Richard Hofstadter published his classic “The Paranoid Style in American Politics”, which provides a wealth of insights for understanding anti-Islamism today. One of Hofstadter’s brilliant insights was what we might term his “projection principle”:
      “It is hard to resist the conclusion that this enemy is on many counts the projection of the self, both the ideal and the unacceptable aspects of the self are attributed to him. . . ”

      ARTICLE – http://rightweb.irc-online.org/articles/display/the_paranoid_style_of_anti_islamism

      FROM WIKIPEDIA [Narcissism]:

      (excerpts) Narcissism is a term with a wide range of meanings, depending on whether it is used to describe a central concept of psychoanalytic theory, a mental illness, a social or cultural problem, or simply a personality trait. . .
      . . . Hotchkiss’ seven deadly sins of narcissism
      Hotchkiss identified what she called the seven deadly sins of narcissism:[6]
      • Shamelessness: Shame is the feeling that lurks beneath all unhealthy narcissism, and the inability to process shame in healthy ways.
      • Magical thinking: Narcissists see themselves as perfect, using distortion and illusion known as magical thinking. They also use projection to dump shame onto others.
      • Arrogance: A narcissist who is feeling deflated may reinflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.
      • Envy: A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person’s ability by using contempt to minimize the other person.
      • Entitlement: Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply is considered an attack on their superiority, and the perpetrator is considered an “awkward” or “difficult” person [or perhaps an “anti-Semite” ~ J.L.D.]. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage.
      • Exploitation: Can take many forms but always involves the exploitation of others without regard for their feelings or interests. Often the other is in a subservient position where resistance would be difficult or even impossible. Sometimes the subservience is not so much real as assumed.
      • Bad boundaries: Narcissists do not recognize that they have boundaries and that others are separate and are not extensions of themselves. Others either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist are treated as if they are part of the narcissist and are expected to live up to those expectations. In the mind of a narcissist there is no boundary between self and other. . .

      SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissism

  13. DICKERSON3870
    July 9, 2012, 6:44 am

    RE: “. . .our [Birthright] guide told us why it was important for us as Jews to support Israel: because ‘Arabs are different from us,’ and teach their children to hate in school. . .” ~ Sandra Y.L. Korn

    MY COMMENT: The Israelis use a nice little hasbara trick here. Notice that it is “Arabs” that “are different . . . and teach their children to hate in school. . .” Palestinians are not specifically mentioned.
    So exactly who are these “Arabs” who “are different . . . and teach their children to hate in school. . .” As far as I can tell, the Israelis never say, and are apparently satisfied for people to just assume that they are implicitly referring to the Palestinians.
    I have tried to find recent examples of Palestinians (particularly in Gaza or on the West Bank) who “teach their children to hate in school.” I have been unable to find any such examples.
    The only example of “Arabs” who “teach their children to hate in school involves the Saudis! And ironically, Saudi Arabia seems to now be one of Israel’s best allies in the Middle East. What are we to make of that?

    • HERE IS THE SAUDI EXAMPLE: “We do use books that call Jews ‘apes’ admits head of Islamic school”, thisislondon.co.uk, 07/02/07

    (excerpt) The principal of an Islamic school has admitted that it uses textbooks which describe Jews as “apes” and Christians as “pigs” and has refused to withdraw them.
    Dr Sumaya Alyusuf confirmed that the offending books exist after former teacher Colin Cook, 57, alleged that children as young as five are taught from racist materials at the King Fahd Academy in Acton [a district of west London, England]. . .
    . . . The school is owned, funded and run by the government of Saudi Arabia. . .

    SOURCE – http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23384657-we-do-use-books-that-call-jews-apes-admits-head-of-islamic-school.do

    • ALSO SEE ADAM HOROWITZ’S ARTICLE IN MONDOWEISS FROM 9/28/11 – http://mondoweiss.net/2011/09/perfect-match-bob-bernstein-uses-settler-sources-for-racist-anti-arab-wapo-op-ed.html

    • AND SEE: Arab winter: Israel has urged US to intervene to prop up Saudi monarchy, by Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, 05/01/11:

    Americans ought to know they are now also to be politically obligated to defend the House of Saud. From the ‘Wall Street Journal’, Ted Koppel carries the water from Jerusalem:

    The Israeli government is so concerned that America’s adversaries may miscalculate U.S. intentions that it is privately urging Washington to make it clear that the U.S. would intervene in Saudi Arabia should the survival of that government be threatened. . .”

    SOURCE – http://mondoweiss.net/2011/05/the-only-democracy-israel-has-urged-us-to-intervene-to-prop-up-saudi-monarchy.html

    • AND SEE: “With Egypt, Turkey Lost as Israeli Allies, Where to Turn?”, By Richard Silverstein, 9/12/11:

    (excerpt) To Saudi Arabia, perhaps? That’s right, the birthplace of most of the 9/11 hijackers and ancient birthplace of Islam. A religion that Bibi, his followers, and more importantly, his father detest. One of the most conservative monarchies in the world. That’s where Bibi sees Israel’s next alliance according to Aluf Benn in Haaretz:

    Netanyahu now hopes that Israel might be able to get close with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States, who also seek to block the possibility of an Arab Spring in the region…

    SOURCE – http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2011/09/12/with-egypt-turkey-lost-as-israeli-allies-where-to-turn/

    • hophmi
      July 9, 2012, 11:55 am

      Many studies have been done of the textbooks used in the territories. To assert that there aren’t problems with Palestinian textbooks is simply ignorant.

      The newer the books are, the less blatant antisemitism they contain, but it’s not clear how widely used the new books are. Generally, the books developed under the PA have been better. In Hamas-run schools, I doubt that’s the case.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textbooks_in_the_Palestinian_territories

      • Light
        July 9, 2012, 6:11 pm

        Hophmi, every text book used by the Palestinians has to be approved by the Israeli authorities.

      • Cliff
        July 10, 2012, 5:14 am

        I just got my copy of Nurit Peled-Elhanon(sp)’s book about racism in Israeli textbooks. I’ll email Phil about it. He should do a story on it since its finally out and available for purchase after several delays.

  14. eljay
    July 9, 2012, 11:19 am

    >> … we spoke to young IDF soldiers who dismissed human rights abuses against Palestinians as a forgivable consequence of a Jewish state.

    Supremacism justifies human rights abuses. Wow. Jewish State sure is an ugly place (as is the Zio-supremacist mind).

    >> We spoke to older Israelis who informed us that Israel was the only place in the world safe for Jews …

    …except when Israel faces endless existential threats and Iran builds nuclear weapons to destroy Israel and AhmaHitlerjad threatens to wipe Israel off the map and the Arabs threaten to push Jews into the sea and…

    >> … “there could be another Holocaust in America any time. Jesse Jackson, or another one of those black people…”

    That paragraph fragment makes no sense. How does the second sentence fragment tie into the first one..or is it even supposed to?

  15. Donald
    July 9, 2012, 11:26 am

    “there could be another Holocaust in America any time. Jesse Jackson, or another one of those black people”

    That’s probably a reference to Jackson’s “Hymietown” remark about NYC. Then some years later there were the Crown Heights riots link, which probably led to the defeat of David Dinkins in his re-election campaign. The unnamed speaker is apparently someone who elevates this kind of thing into a prelude to another Holocaust.

    • Donald
      July 9, 2012, 11:28 am

      That was supposed to be a reply to eljay’s question, but I apparently didn’t hit the reply button.

      • eljay
        July 9, 2012, 12:11 pm

        >> That was supposed to be a reply to eljay’s question …

        I thought it might be. Thanks. :-)

  16. LanceThruster
    July 10, 2012, 4:37 pm

    To Ms. Korn – Thank you for a far more balanced view on the Birthright trips. I expect you’ll be catching a bit of flak from here on in for your honesty.

  17. Nevada Ned
    July 10, 2012, 4:42 pm

    Thanks for the info from Ms. Korn about the “Birthright” propaganda trip.

    I know a young Jewish man, “Larry”, who took the Birthright tourist trip a few years ago. On the Birthright trip, he met an Israeli soldier who shot and killed a Palestinian at a checkpoint. As you might expect from a young man, “Larry” thought that the Israeli soldier was a really cool dude. Wow! Killed an Arab! What a bad-ass!

    When he got back to the US, “Larry” found that his friends (mostly non-Jewish) were shocked. They did not approve at all. They thought Palestinians were human beings.
    So Birthright, the Israeli propaganda effort, failed in the end.

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