- Since its 1948 establishment, IDF military censor authority
banned or sanitized material potentially damaging to Israel's security.
Thereafter, voluntary media/government agreements prevailed, all domestic
and foreign news organizations abiding by censorship rulings.
- Some are sensible like banning reports beneficial to
adversaries. Others aren't by suppressing information the public has a
right to know. For example, whatever affects their welfare and when officials
commit crimes. In addition, various Supreme Court decisions limit content
suppression to "tangible (or) near certain" instances of public
endangerment. Of course, interpretations are crucial, authorities increasingly
hardline to get their way.
- It shows up in prohibited protests, free expression erosion
against government policies, a booklet about the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights because freedom of religion and asylum-seeker protection
is included, suppressing nonviolent resistance, promoting patriotism over
truth, attacking academic freedom, and sanitizing history among other ways,
the latter issue addressed in an August 31 Haaretz editorial headlined,
"Educating toward indoctrination," saying:
- Frequent Education Ministry school curricula changes
"share one common denominator....the same kind of crass, shallow patriotism
that glosses over any complicated issue, forcing students to swallow the
same rote, sanitized version of the multifaceted, paradoxical Israeli story
(while) silenc(ing) all critical thought."
- History books have been rewritten. Nakba teaching is
banned, Netanyahu once calling its use tantamount to spreading propaganda
against Israel. Yet for Palestinians, it's their defining issue, the catastrophic
mass slaughter and theft of their homeland. Not taught in Jewish schools,
it was introduced in Arab Israeli ones in 2007 for children aged eight
- In July 2009, Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar's spokesman,
Yisrael Twito, said:
- "After studying the matter with education experts
it was decided that the term nakba should be removed. It is inconceivable
that in Israel we would talk about the establishment of the state as a
- Henceforth, only praise for the Jewish state is allowed.
Yet a passage in the "offending" textbook said the following:
- "The Arabs call (the 1948) war the nakba - a war
of catastrophe, loss and humiliation - and the Jews call it the Independence
- Distorting and suppressing truth by "nakba"
denial doesn't change it. It's the Palestinian "Holocaust," six
months of horrific slaughter, mass atrocities, land theft, and displacement,
turning historic Palestine into Israel, the crime and its importance never
erased from the collective consciousness of new generations who teach it
to their children.
- In today's Israel, even the Oslo Accords have been erased,
while "Holocaust" studies are expanded "to strengthen Jewish
identity. According to Haaretz, "Now the school system's main civics
textbook will be modified because it states that 'since its establishment,
the State of Israel has engaged in a policy of discrimination against its
Arab citizens.' "
- In other words, truth and critical thought are anathema
in Israeli schools, by order of the Netanyahu government's Zvi Zameret,
the Education Ministry Pedagogic Secretariat head. As minister of censorship,
he intends indoctrination and a "patronizing version of the past,"
insulting students by denying them real education, the kind Haaretz journalists
and editorial writers still offer, but for how long given disturbing trends,
covered in earlier articles accessed through the following links:
- Most recently on August 21, an article covered academic
freedom, under attack and threatened because hardline Israeli extremists
favor McCathyist censorship against free expression. As a result, anger
in academia was aroused, the latest example reported on August 29 by International
Middle East Media Center writer Saed Bannoura headlining, "Israeli
universities condemn 'witch hunt' by right-wing groups," saying:
- "In a joint statement by Israel's largest and most
prominent universities, the academic leadership challenged a foreign-funded
campaign to undermine academic freedom in the name of Zionism, led by radical
Israeli rightists and Christian fundamentalists," a threatening sinister
- University officials condemned "this dangerous attempt
to create a thought police," targeting professors considered too left-leaning.
The Institute for Zionist Strategies demands review of their assigned readings
and class content as well as "balancing" them with hardliners,
saying otherwise pressure will be put on major donors to cease support.
To their credit, university authorities refused to accede to extortion
or threats backed by scholars, intellectuals and Haaretz editorial writers,
another August 20 effort headlined, "Protecting academia," saying:
- "a pluralistic, democratic society is incompatible
with external interference in course curricula of lecturers' political
views." Censorship has no place in academia, the media or anywhere
in a free society if it's to stay that way. As in America, in Israel, it's
- Historical Revisionism in Textbooks
- Nurit Peled-Elhannan is an Israeli peace activist, Hebrew
University Professor, and one of the founders of the Russell Tribunal on
Palestine. She's also a recipient of the Sakharov Prize for Human Rights
and Freedom of Speech, awarded annually by the European Parliament to honor
individuals or organizations active in the defense of human rights and
- Earlier in 2010, her article titled "Legitimation
of massacres in Israeli school history books....examine(d) reports about
massacres in eight Israeli secondary school history books, published between
1998 and 2009."
- It explained how they're legitimized verbally and visually,
rewriting history to justify the "killing of Palestinians as an effective
tool to preserve a secure Jewish state with a Jewish majority," as
well as prepare Israeli youths to be good soldiers, and to justify a repressive
- Some textbooks, especially more recent ones, explain
massacres as "routine battles or successful military operations."
Others present them as "transgression(s)" or diversions "from
official plans" but nonetheless legitimated by their positive outcome,
benefitting Jews over Arabs.
- Yet massacres are defined as barbarous wanton murder
of "usually helpless or unresisting human beings under circumstances
of atrocity or cruelty," Israeli history strewn with examples, worst
of all its so-called "war of independence," but many others also,
involving cold-blooded murder of innocent civilians.
- An earlier article covered some of the most egregious,
accessed through the following link:
- Today, they're sanitized and forgotten. Earlier they
were wrongly justified as they are today, including decades of extreme
repression, ethnic cleansing, imperial wars, and repeated attacks against
noncombatants, ideologically committed for an ethnically pure Greater Israel,
the end justifying the means no matter how barbaric or criminal.
- For example, the October 1953 Kibya massacre, ordered
by Ariel Sharon, when Israeli forces attacked the Jordanian village, northwest
of Jerusalem. Using mortars, machine guns, rifles and explosives, they
blew up 42 houses, local schools and the mosque, killing every man, woman
and child found - in total, 75 noncombatant villagers, slaughtered in cold
blood, an atrocity by any standard portrayed as a "success (that)
restored the morale and dignity of the army and helped it become a deterring
vigorous (force) whose long arm can reach the enemy deep in its own territory."
- The moral - killing is good, slaughter is better, and
in great enough numbers combined with atrocities best of all, a lesson
taught Israeli youths preparing them to be soldiers.
- Like all imperial states, Israel specializes in historical
revisionism, legitimizing massacres in school texts, transforming the outrageous
into liberating heroism, "align(ed) with the goals of Zionism and
with Jewish creed." They become acceptable acts in times of conflicts.
Utility is all that matters, justifying the unjustifiable for a greater
good, manipulating young minds to believe it and Jewish exceptionalism,
including the mythology about Israel's "war of independence."
- Portrayed as outgunned and outnumbered by Arab armies,
the truth is mirror opposite. Zionist forces neutralized the Jordanians,
the strongest regional army, bribing them not to fight with 20% of historic
Palestine, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
- In 1948, on the eve of battle, Jewish forces numbered
around 50,000 against a hopelessly outmanned, outgunned irregular Palestinian
force of about 7,000. Until May 15, 1948, when Israel was established,
other Arab nations deferred, acting belatedly with token forces proving
no match for the superior Israelis.
- It was a walkover, 78% of Palestine seized; the Jewish
state created; 800,000 Palestinians massacred or displaced; 531 villages
and 11 urban neighborhoods destroyed; no quarter given in committing mass
murder; ethnic cleaning; vast destruction of villages, communities and
crops; rapes and other atrocities.
- Yet Israeli historiography portrays the war as liberating,
including the myth that Palestinians left voluntarily, fearing harm from
invading Arab armies - the same token ones never showing up until it was
too late to matter, ill-equiped, fighting with no commitment. Proving no
match for superior Israelis, they exited and went home. The war's outcome
was never in doubt, the fate of Palestinians sealed, atrocities against
them to this day sanitized, including memoricide of the Nakba, fortress
Israel and revisionist history enforcing it.
- Another myth as well about the region's only democracy,
affording rights solely to Jews, and increasingly less of them, Israel
solidifying the same elitist society as in America, assuring most rights
to the privileged, eroding ones to ordinary Israelis, becoming more like
Arabs on their own and out of luck under hardline governance no longer
- Israeli thought control enforces it, including crackdowns
on dissent - an open, just, free society eroding to conceal growing harshness
against anyone challenging injustice, including journalists and academics
unwilling to support wrong over right and saying so. As in America, it's
now a crime.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
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