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Hebrew University
[HUJ] German TV compared Palestinian incitement to kill Israelis to Israeli "propaganda," based on a Nurit Peled-Elhanan interview


Editorial Note

The German public service television broadcaster ZDF aired on July 5, 2016 on "heute plus" a programme on the propaganda tools that both Israelis and Palestinians use against each other. To prove their case, on the Palestinian side, ZDF showed a clip of a school graduation of young kids in Gaza where the children simulated a war against Israel. On the Israeli side, a ZDF reporter interviewed Nurit Peled-Elhanan, an academic at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, who presented Israeli school books as propaganda tool against the Palestinians. This is not the first time that Peled-Elhanan addresses this issue.  In 2012 she published a controversial book in which she found that Israeli textbooks teach children hatred of the Palestinians.  In her view, when these children grow up and are conscripted into the IDF, they become killers.  

Stefan Frank in Mena-Watch, an independent Arab-Israeli Think Tank in Vienna, who's goal is "to improve the quality of reporting on the Middle East in general and Israel in particular", offers a scathing review of the ZDF program.  Frank cited Israeli journalist Eldad Beck of YNET, who is based in Germany, as stating that "Several research institutes have studied the broadcast content by ZDF and came to the conclusion that they are consistently anti-Israel."
It is highly regrettable that ZDF and other outlets can find unscrupulous Israeli academics like Peled-Elhanan to support their distorted view of Israel. 

Translated by Google

ZDF "heute plus" and Nurit Peled-Elhanan: Anti-Israel experts together
By Stefan Frank

A maliciously-polemical ZDF contribution against Israel causes in Germany and Israel a stir. The newscast Heute Plus brought on 5 July a doc'umentary entitled "Trained to hate. As Israeli and Palestinian children should be made to mutually despise -. And to kill "only after it had hailed massive criticism from viewers on heute plus editorial on Facebook, the last three words were put a question mark" Trained to Hate "- without to modify or withdraw anything.

Heute plus contribution is first to show how Palestinian Arab children are educated with knives and replicas of military weapons in their hands to murder Jews. Incidentally, this is not just propaganda and brainwashing, but - and conceals the ZDF - real military drill because Hamas sees in the children the jihadists of tomorrow.

Then the heute plus film shows suddenly a road junction in Tel Aviv. "Israeli side", is displayed on a yellow background. Shops, a crosswalk, a bus, Bauhaus architecture and a skateboarder: So it looks like the "Israeli side". 

No doc'uments, but a camel

What evidence has the ZDF team found for saying in Israel children were also educated to hatred (not to mention "killing")? None. But it is probably not to be transmitted to Mainz (ZDF’s headquarter). So it interviewed a founder of the "Russell Tribunal on Palestine", Nurit Peled-Elhanan, who is also linguistics professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. To a recording of the sitting together with ZDF correspondent Nicola Albrecht in her living room Nurit Peled, the following was told:

"In Israel, anti-Palestinian propaganda is shown to the children, mainly through the school system, explains Nurit Peled-Elhanan, who has researched long on the subject. The Palestinians are not shown in textbooks, but described as a problem. And if they are shown, then only as stereotypes. As threat and problem. For example, as terrorists, refugees or primitive farmers. Or in racist cartoons, so as an Ali Baba on a camel. "Whether at school, in the news or talking on the street", she continues, "Israeli children learn that Palestinians are not people with whom one lives in peace or may be even friends".

Where the "racist cartoons" is mentioned, the ZDF shows a book with a drawing of a man on a camel. Thus every viewer understands what that means, it appears at this point the words "anti-Palestinian propaganda" - this is ZDF itself, by the end of December had a program called "ships of the desert: from camels and people". Where "camels rightly bear the name, ships of the desert'', it said:" For about 5,000 years, man crosses with his gift of Allah the most barren and arid parts of the world." If camels by the ZDF's own account are so valuable and venerable - and they certainly are - then how can the drawing of a camel or a camel rider be racist?

viewers outraged

The clumsy attempt of the ZDF, to insinuate Israeli schoolbooks as hate propaganda, quickly set off a wave of criticism that even now, more than a week later, still grows. The first to protest were readers of the Facebook page. "Dear team from ZDF heute plus, my children, Israeli children are not brought to despise or to kill someone! What kind of an outrageous insinuation?" Wrote Dov Eilon in a comment that was shared more than 300 times.

In an interview with Mena Watch says Dov Eilon, a German-Israeli: "As much as I was already angered by this film, I found the headline even worse. Educated to hatred? As Israeli and Palestinian children should be made to despise mutually - and kill". He says that he has been living for 28 years in Israel and is father of three children. "I do not understand where the ZDF has the information that our children are brought to despise." Faced with his criticism, ZDF had replied that the report was "balanced" and it is also consulted an "Israeli expert". Furthermore, he had been accused by ZDF, for quoting incorrectly: "I have been accused of having a question mark. But there was no question mark! Only later was made: Educated to hatred. As Israeli and Palestinian children to be persuaded to despise each other - and to kill. They changed the headline: Educated to hatred? As Israeli and Palestinian children be persuaded to despise each other. Now was actually a question mark there, and that, and kill 'had disappeared."

Instead of apologizing to Eilon for the false accusation, ZDF had merely informed him that it had „forgotten“ the question mark and now it is set. "That's it, nothing more. I was surprised and shocked by this whole thing. How can one speak of a balanced, well-researched report, which contains such false statements? I got no answer. "

Reports in Israeli newspapers

There were then bloggers who made a wider public aware of the scandal (see here, here and here). Then again addressed inter alia by „Bild“ newspaper and the evangelical news agency with this theme. „Bild“ pointed out that the ZDF is not a first-time offender: "For those heute editors it is not the first time that they are confronted with the accusation of one-sided reporting. 2014 had Heute-Journal presenter Klaus Kleber with his view on the Gaza Conflict (The Israeli war machine gets going ') providing for discussions "Here one should also note a previous moral nadir of Israel reporting by the ZDF: When two Arab men armed on 18 November 2014 with the chopping knives and guns invaded during the morning prayer in the Jerusalem Kehilat-Bnei Torah synagogue and literally inflicting a bloodbath while praying thereZDF correspondent Nicole Diekmann asked: "who are the perpetrators, who the victims?"- to give room to the proud family of killers to praise the massacre.

Meanwhile also report Israeli media about the agitation in the ZDF. "Several research institutes have studied the broadcast by ZDF content and came to the conclusion that they are consistently anti-Israel," writes Eldad Beck, the Germany correspondent for the daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, on YNet News, the English version of the paper. 

Who is the ZDF "expert"
Nurit Peled-Elhanan of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine

The editors of heuteplus defend themselves, however, against the allegations with the simple argument that it did "give a voice to an expert". This raises the question: What kind of an expert that is actually holding the ZDF for as trustworthy, that there are so presented their opinion as if it were the truth? Nurit Peled-Elhanan, who is described according to an article by the Los Angeles Times as "left to far-left", is the founder of the "Russell Tribunal Palestine" that spreads apartheid lie about Israel and for a total boycott of Israel and its Jewish inhabitants. Peled's hatred of Israel is connected with her traumatic event and a prime example of the Stockholm syndrome: Two days after a suicide bomber Hamas had murdered on September 7, 1997 in Jerusalem Ben Yehuda Street Peled's 13-year-old daughter, Smadar, Peled expressed sympathy for him: He was just like her dead daughter a victim of Israel. "This is the fruit of Israel's misdeeds, it serves its purpose. It will kill the peace process and put the Arabs to blame." Was charged at Smadar's funeral on a representative of the PLO, who also gave a speech.

"A disguised as academic activist"

When Israeli NGO Israel Academia Monitor, which deals with lecturers at Israeli universities who use their position to demonize Israel and to make its right to exist into question, Nurit Peled-Elhanan is an old acquaintance. "We follow Peled-Elhanan long time," answers the editor Dr. Dana Barnett to a request from Mena Watch. "She's not an innocent observer, but rather a political activist who disguises herself as an academic." So Peled argues about, "empirical evidence" to show that Israel is like Nazi Germany and the South African apartheid regime was similar. "Such a thing is then printed by radical presses in Europe and presented as scientific work of Professor of the Hebrew University," it says in one of several essays, the Israel Academia Monitor has published over Peled-Elhanan. The social sciences in Israel were "deeply politicized and are almost exclusively dominated by left academics who are keen to protect their radical colleagues". That explains a lot.
"Selective sources"

Arnon Groiss, scientific director of the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education

Someone who has studied for years the representation of Palestinians in Israeli textbooks (and vice versa), is Dr. Arnon Groiss. Groiss has worked for 42 years for Israel's Arab Radio, between 1973-2015. In the 1990s and 2000s he was at the Hebrew University (where Peled also teaches), a lecturer in the history of the Muslim countries and for Arabic language and literature. He is scientific director of the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE, formerly Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace - CMIP). The Institute is according to self-representation is a "non-political NGO, which is dedicated to the study of the attitude to the 'others' and to peace in the curricula of Israel and other Middle Eastern states." During his tenure there, Dr. Groiss studied hundreds of textbooks and more than a dozen studies on Palestinian, Egyptian, Syrian, Saudi, Iranian and Tunisian textbooks. His professional opinion on the quality of Nurit Peled's research falls from devastating:

"In the past 15 years Dr. Nurit Peled-Elhanan has produced a book and a series of articles in which they seek to express the attitude of Israeli textbooks towards the Palestinians as racist and even as one that massacre of Palestinians approve. Since 2003 I first heard of it, I have been following their work and - as probably the only person in the world - took the trouble to examine the books to which its allegations relate. It occurred to me that they very selectively chooses its source material and all records omits that their already contradict a priori fixed assertion. "
So they take as a map of a particular book, to support it, a damning description, but ignore other maps in the same book or in other books, which would prove the contrary.

They also make use of the fact that their foreign audience of Hebrew is not powerful by presenting "picture evidence", although the accompanying text their interpretation completely contradicts. "For example, a map of Israel's borders, about the image of two Israeli soldiers. She has used this map to substantiate their assertion that Israeli students were taught, Israel should never retreat behind solid human limits. But the Hebrew text alongside the map is just how Israel in 1979 signed a border agreement with Egypt and has as it negotiated after the 1993 Oslo Accords with the PLO, the distribution of territories in the West Bank and Gaza. "

The "most bizarre" method, which Nurit Peled is using, was based on the "linguistic branch of discourse analysis": "Dr. Peled-Elhanan is able to take a clear condemnation of the massacre of Palestinians at Deir Yassin in 1948 or in Kafr Qassem in 1956, which are discussed in Israeli schoolbooks, and derive from them a license to kill." Sarcastically says Groiss:" If I had the great theoretical knowledge in this field, which she has, I could probably prove Nazi undertones in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights." His conclusion, "In my opinion, Dr. Nurit Peled-Elhanan's products on this subject (I have not checked her other works) is sheer propaganda rather than a scholarly work."

"Only seven books examined"

In a study of Nurit Peled-Elhanan's research "The representation of Palestinians in Israeli textbooks on subjects of history and geography 1998-2003", as presented to Mena Watch, Groiss has 15 allegations against the investigation done by Peled-Elhanan and with her submitted examples as evidence. What had first struck him was how small amount of textbooks Peled-Elhanan has ever used:

"It is amazing that their specific, generalized statements actually refer to a study of seven textbooks. As in Israel's schools, a wealth of different textbooks are used and new ones appear each year, one wonders how such a small number can be regarded as a solid basis for the kind of allegations that Dr. Peled-Elhanan makes. The CMIP has examined 450 books for two reports on the attitude of Israeli textbooks towards the Palestinians."

Groiss goes on his treatise on the allegations, which the 'heuteplus' has shown by Peled-Elhanan: the alleged failure of showing Palestinians in Israeli textbooks and the camel drawing as alleged evidence of "racism" or for "anti-Palestinian propaganda", as ZDF calls it.

Under the title "Racist Cartoons" said Groiss, Nurit Peled makes the following statement: "Israeli textbooks never show Palestinian faces, but their stereotypes" - That's just what she told ZDF and has been shown. Groiss found in the seven of Peled-Elhanan examined books numerous examples of pictures of Palestinian Arabs - politicians, refugees, large numbers of people in everyday life, at work, at prayer or talking to Jews. It shows that Peled-Elhanan has not been telling the truth to the ZDF viewers. And what about the "racist cartoons" - about the camel rider - on which ZDF bases its assertion that in Israel children were educated to hate?

Groiss: "In proper and in less incendiary language can describe it as stereotypical illustrations. It is a picture book, full of cartoons and illustrations of various kinds. Cartoons can be use as ridiculous illustration, but it is used primarily presenting Jews. There are, for example, two graphics, in which Arab men and women are represented by stereotyped figures, but so are Jewish men and women through the cartoons. There is also a cartoon figure of a Jew who argues with a stereotyped Arabs over a map of the country. On the other hand there is a stereotypical drawing, representing the Jews by a figure of a rabbi who reads from the Torah - which is not representative of the Jewish population in general, as the Arabs represented as riding the camel are Arabs in general. In one case both an Arab and a Jew are represented by identically drawn characters, both pulling a map, and you can not tell who the Arabs and who is to be a Jew."
And so on …

Nurit Peled is not only a political activist, which is closer to the PLO and her life is focused on the fight against Israel - this leads to demonization in show-trials such as the "Russell Tribunal on Palestine" and with the support of her campaign for a boycott of Jewish Israelis; she is also someone who places science in the service of her propaganda and works with unfair means. So Groiss refutes her other assertions about Israeli textbooks (even for those not familiar with the ZDF): The reader is invited to read his investigation and make up his own opinion.

It is interesting to see how the operation of heuteplus editorial resembling Nurit Peled-Elhanan: Both have an extremely negative opinion about the Israeli society; both looking solely for evidence of their fixed ideas and leave aside everything that does not fit into the picture. Since the right experts were apparently found for it.

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