Middle East studies in the News
Professor Sounds the Alarm: Palestinian Propaganda is 'Infiltrating' American Education
by Jackson Richman
A Syracuse professor is sounding the alarm about how Palestinian propaganda, which promotes violence against Israel and the Jews, has "infiltrated" America's educational institutions.
Red Alert Politics discussed this creeping anti-Israel bias with Professor Elman at length.
"It's been well-documented that some of the leading supporters of BDS & virulently anti-Israel faculty are affiliated with the Federally-funded centers for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies," she said.
"[T]hese academics have long been skewing the curriculum taught on their campuses... But less well-known or researched has been their impact on the local community/public school system."
Originally published in Legal Insurrection and reposted in the pro-Israel outlet The Algemeiner on Monday, political science instructor Miriam Elman decried how content, such as the Arab World Studies Notebook that a Massachusetts high school praised as providing an "Arab point of view" and a "balanced perspective," is anything but unbiased.
According to the American Jewish Committee, the textbook consists of an "overt bias and unabashed propagandizing," such as demonizing Israel as the antagonist in every Arab-Israeli war, and praising Muslim fighters for their "gentle treatment of civilian populations."
Elman cited a recent monograph by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), which documents anti-Israel media bias, and details how such one-sided material becomes required reading from elementary to higher education.
As Elman elaborated:
"Piecing together local media coverage, transcripts of school committee meetings and multiple interviews, [CAMERA researcher Steven] Stotsky recounts the key events, including the run-around that Pagliuso and the ad-hoc group of concerned parents and residents got from school administrators.
Several chapters are also devoted to a thorough analysis of World History course materials, which the school district was ultimately forced to disclose in 2014 via a court order.
As Stotsky describes, the curriculum included materials rife with erroneous information, such as a radically doctored translation of the Hamas charter, and a handout identifying Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel — and Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.
Photocopies of PLO-produced propaganda maps downloaded from the Internet — and used by the school district — provided falsehoods about Israel's "theft" of "Palestinian land." Other textbook chapters and outdated Internet timelines omitted key historical and contextual information, like Israel's many far-reaching offers of peace, and the hate-filled rhetoric and incitement that saturates Palestinian discourse."
Moreover, according to Elman, despite parents voicing their concerns about the anti-Israel propaganda, relevant organizations like the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Anti-Defamation League "were also less than helpful to the parents than they might otherwise have been" alongside dismissive school administrators and an uncooperative elected school body.
"How many people are aware that pushing vehemently anti-Israel and pro-Islamist materials into K-12 educational programming is now the BDS movement's new frontier," Elman rhetorically asked. "It's hard to say, but most Jewish American organizations have yet to take up the issue as a matter of major concern."
The professor concluded, "A discerning classmate flagged a troubling reading assignment, and her stalwart dad was willing to raise hell. Will the rest of America's school kids be as fortunate?"
Elman also told Red Alert Politics about funding and strategy behind the movement.
"We also know that American Muslims for Palestine is becoming increasingly involved in K-12 education. They have a promo video on their 'new curricula' for high schools. Some AMP leaders formerly helped to finance Hamas, many continue to support Hamas via their social media. AMP is also the leading funder of Students for Justice in Palestine, the anti-Israel pro BDS campus student group."Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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