This morning I spoke by phone to Jerusalem with Felice Friedson (The Media Line's - TML - co-founder and its current President and CEO) about a new U.S. State Department-funded study on Israeli and Palestinian textbooks that soon will be released.
The article “Text-Book Study Sparks Controversy,” co-written by Felice Friedson and Linda Gradstein of NPR News, covers a study conducted over the last three years of how Israeli and Palestinian school textbooks treat the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the images these textbooks create of the other population. Felice, who has read the entire study, reports that:
A U.S. State Department-funded study on Israeli and Palestinian textbooks released in Jerusalem has set-off a wave of insults, charges and counter-charges. Israel’s Ministry of Education called the detailed report “biased and unprofessional” while the International Society for Political Psychology called the Israeli government’s description “highly distressing.”
Education is a key element in a future two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is clear that there is a long way to go before the two enemy populations know and understand each other. Organizations such as Seeds for Peace have sought to defuse conflict through face to face encounters, camps and projects in which Israeli and Palestinian youth come to actually know one another, but not nearly enough people on each side have had such opportunities. This is why this text-book study is so revealing as a gauge for the state of understanding of each population towards the other. This story will have legs for some time. It is worth following:
See the Media Line Story here.
Note: The Media Line is a “non-profit news organization established to enhance and balance media coverage in the Middle East.” It delivers its in-house news and programming via multiple media – radio, television content, Internet news and features, and written stories for the print media. Media outlets using The Media Line as a source include the BBC World Service; National Public Radio; ABC, CBS affiliates; Al-Quds (Palestinian) newspaper; Y-Net (Israel); Ma’an (Palestinian) Television Network; Atlanta Journal-Constitution; India Today; IRN (UK Radio). Media Line may also soon be picked up by The Huffington Post .